Illuminate by Aimee Agresti
Published by: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Published on: March 6th 2012
Illuminate is about a girl named Haven Terra who has been given the opportunity to intern at The Lexington Hotel. There she will shadow the young owner Aurelia Brown as preparations begin for the hotel’s grand opening.
Haven meets and ends up falling for Lucian, who is second in command to Aurelia, she is shocked when Lucian reciprocates the same feelings for her. Slowly, Haven learns that Lucian might have ulterior motives and things are not as they seem at the hotel. Can Haven discover the truth of what’s really going on at The Lexington Hotel before it’s too late?
I thought that Illuminate was just going to be an OK read for me but it ended up surprising me and I quite enjoyed it. It was an eerie and entertaining read, however, it wasn’t a perfect read. There were some issues I had with the book and I will start off with things I didn’t like and then leave off on the good.
Illuminate is over 500 pages and I think it could have been cut down to around 300 pages and the story would have been better for it. There were scenes in the story that didn’t move the plot forward, which in turn made the book lag. Also, some scenes are similar to each other that some could have been cut. That being said it only took me a few days to finish this book but I would have just been that more enjoyable if it were shorter.
I also didn’t care for Haven’s best friend, Dante, I just felt his character wasn’t well-developed and didn’t provide much to the overall story. I honestly think his character could have been cut from the story all together and again the story would have been better for it. I did appreciate Aimee Agresti’s choice to introduce a diverse character as Dante, who is openly gay but I just don’t think it was done well. He ended up being a bad stereotype, as he was flamboyant, effeminate and fashion obsessed. He was hardly in the book and when he did make an appearance his purpose was to play dress up with Haven and talk boys.
Parts of the book are unbelievable like what parent would really let their kids go off to a hotel for an internship during the middle of the school year. I do get that the author has to come up with some way to put the parents into the background to let their characters be free to do what they want. It would have been more believable if it were a summer program they were participating in. Another, thing that didn’t seem believable is Haven would like to go to med school and not to sure how interning at a hotel would be of any interest to her.
I liked that this book was original and I haven’t read anything quite like it before. It was interesting how the author took the premise of The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde and made it into her own. I have not read the classic book before but am familiar with the story and have seen the movie.
I found this book to be atmospheric, which was what I liked about Illuminate. Aimee does a great job of creating an eerie and mysterious atmosphere. The book is set in this glamorous upscale hotel and in a way the hotel is like another character.
Aimee has a descriptive writing style that I enjoyed reading. She would describe things in such rich detail that I felt like I was staying at the Lexington Hotel with Haven.
Other than Dante, I liked all the characters in the book. I felt liked they were well-developed. My favourite character would have to be Haven, I found that I related to her most. She is this shy, genuine person who wants to do good in the world.
I would like to continue on with the Gilded Wings Series. I am interested in to see how Haven’s story will continue. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes Urban Fantasy or books about Angels. I gave this book 3.5 starts out of 5.