Review: Illuminate by Aimee Agresti

Illuminate by: Aimee Agresti

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?

Illuminate is an exciting saga of a teen’s first taste of independence, her experience in the lap of luxury, and her discovery she may possess strength greater than she ever knew.

I was absolutely blown away by the perfectly developed characters, intriguing plot, and to-die-for writing. I keep hitting myself for not picking this one up earlier.

Haven is a very smart but definitely shy girl. She doesn’t know her past, as her guardian found her at an early age. Haven, along with her best friend Dante and quiet classmate Lance, are invited for a very impressive internship at a hotel. They are under the orders of the beautiful Aurelia Brown and the dark and sexy Lucian Grove. Haven, being a very bright girl, discovers early on that everything is not right at the hotel. What are Aurelia and Lucian hiding, and what do they want Haven to accomplish? She finds help and advice through a book, but she doesn’t know if she is strong enough to take on the greatest enemy of all by herself.

Haven was a wonderful heroine for so many reasons. She is beyond smart, which she most definitely needs to be in her situation. She’s a loyal and kind friend, and she would do anything for those she loves. I admired her strength and her willingness to go up against an almost impossible foe to save even people she does not know.

Lucian is the epitome of mystery, darkness, and sexiness. He clearly was a bit shady, but he certainly did much to redeem himself. He was charming but definitely such a bad boy, and I am obviously a bad boy lover. He has a soft spot for Haven and is willing to defy his ‘boss’ to help her.

Contrasting to Lucian, we have Lance. Again, as with the case of the Juliette/Warner/Adam love triangle in Unravel Me, I’m siding with the bad boy. Lance is just not as exciting as Lucian. He’s a nice and sweet boy and was a great help to Haven when she needed him. But I just can’t relate to him as much as Lucian. Sigh. This is always a problem.

Dante, the best friend, was funny, cute, and a very helpful fashion expert. Haven’s guardian, Joan, was exactly like a perfect mother. She was always concerned about Haven’s well being, and she was just plain hilarious and embarrassing like all moms are. Aurelia is gorgeous, but she has much more going on behind that creepy smile of hers. I pretty much knew she was not was she seemed, but boy was she sinister!

The writing was just plain beautiful. ‘Nuff said. The way she described the lovely hotel they were staying in just drew me in even more. The premise behind this novel, the angels and the devils, was so unlike anything I’ve ever read before. The romance was definitely interesting. I loved each and every meeting with Lucian, and I was always looking forward to their encounters. I felt that he was genuine, despite his crooked ways. Lance was such a doll baby though. It was hard for me to like only one guy! Aimee certainly knows how to write ‘em.

While this didn’t end on a unexpected cliffhanger, I was still craving book two, Infatuate. Thank goodness it just came out this week! If you’re looking for a really unique take on angels that’s never been done before, I would definitely consider this series!

Favorite Swoon-worthy Quote: Suddenly, his lips were on mine – urgent, warm, hitting me so fast, so firm, that I lost my breath. He tasted like peppermint. The camera, in its case, dropped from my hand to the ground and I didn’t care. One of his arms wound around my waist, squeezing me so tightly to him I gasped. His other hand shot up my neck gripping my hair. Everything went liquid. I melted into the wall behind me and into him.
Illuminate (Gilded Wings, #1)
Rating: 5/5 Tar Heels!


  1. Oh , good! Another book to add to my TBR list :)

    Also, Cheer extra lout tomorrow for me, okay? I freeking miss the Dean Dome like nothing else. And jump over an extra fire on Franklin for me too!

  2. I am definitely going to have to find this one. The characters sounds wonderful. Lovely review. I'm off to see if my library has it.

    Jenea @ Books Live Forever