Review: Illuminate by Aimee Agresti

Illuminate by Aimee Agresti

  • Pub. Date: March 6, 2012
  • Publisher:Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Pages: 534
  • Series: Gilded Wings #1

Haven Terra is a brainy, shy high school outcast. But everything begins to change when she turns sixteen. Along with her best friend Dante and their quiet and brilliant classmate Lance, she is awarded a prestigious internship in the big city— Chicago—and is sent to live and work at a swanky and stylish hotel under the watchful eyes of a group of gorgeous and shockingly young-looking strangers: powerful and alluring hotel owner Aurelia Brown; her second-in-command, the dashing Lucian Grove; and their stunning but aloof staff of glamazons called The Outfit.

As Haven begins falling for Lucian, she discovers that these beautiful people are not quite what they seem. With the help of a mysterious book, she uncovers a network of secret passageways from the hotel’s jazz-age past that leads her to the heart of the evil agenda of Aurelia and company: they’re in the business of buying souls. Will they succeed in wooing Haven to join them in their recruitment efforts, or will she be able to thwart this devilish set’s plans to take the souls of her classmates on prom night at the hotel?


Haven Terra has scars on her chest and her back, she has no idea where they came from or when. The only thing she knows is that she was left abandoned as a baby, luckily for her a nurse at the hospital adopted her and since then she has had a normal life. Now being one of the top students in her class she along with her friend Dante and a boy named Lance have received the opportunity to internship at a brand new luxurious hotel in Chicago. Only thing is when they arrive things are not what they seem and everything is far from what they expected.

I wanted to give this a higher rating then three stars but the fact that this book is so slow in the first half I had to bring it down. I love to know about the world I'm reading about but when every single detail feels so drawn out it takes away from the book. There were a few times I was ready to give up on Illuminate but I wanted to give it a chance and I'm glad I stuck with it because it does get better in the second half.

There are a few characters who really surprised me the big one actually being Lance. At first he is this quiet boy who doesn't have much to say but as the story progresses his character really grows, it's like he sneaks up on you out of no where and the next thing you know your rooting for his character. I like Haven and seeing her discover all the secret passageways thanks to that book, the one which mysteriously gives her orders that she must follow if she wants to survive the hotel and the "Outfits." Then there was Lucien, Havens love interest he was from the description swoon worthy as far as looks go but he wasn't around a lot and did nothing to grab my attention.

Overall this turned out to be a good book but it was very long and the pacing was not done well. The book wrapped up with just enough questions still left up in the air to bring a reader back for the sequel. I am curious to see what happens next, hopefully the second book wont be as drawn out as this one.

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