Haven Terra, along with her equally smart best friend Dante and another classmate Lance, landed an internship with the prestigious Lexington Hotel in Chicago. This is evidently an opportunity fit for the privileged and though all three teens excel in their studies, neither had applied for such nor could they fathom the reason as to why they were specifically chosen.
Haunted by her own issues of not knowing who she really was, where she came from or what caused the unsightly scars on her body, Haven is appreciative of the given chance to intern at such a luxurious location in hopes of getting highly recommended to a college of her dreams. However, she has no idea of the ulterior motives their new mentors and the ‘Outfits’ have in store for them, nor the part she’ll have to play in altering their plans for humanity.
“Illuminate” is a story about mystery, manipulation, romance, power, desire, and of course the on-going battle of good and evil.
Downside: The book started out extremely slow. I understand that the author is trying to establish a connection right off with the main character and the little facts of her life leading up to some kind of a turning point, but I felt that the exposition was a bit drawn out and there’s a long waiting period before developing a rising action towards any kind of climax. It almost feels like there was too much time spent on every little description that I wanted to scream ‘MOVE ON PLEASE!’ even though they can’t hear me, of course.
The details were given in such an elegant manner and that’s great an all, in fact it’s quite admirable and well expected from a journalist, but if you divulge too much it all becomes overwhelming. However, with those minor setbacks aside, the story did plunge into utter greatness as it progressed, when it finally did. I must say, however, that I was impressed with how superbly this debut author has written her first book. The technique is far from amateur, instead it breathes like the work of someone writing for years.
Goodside: There was so much mystical wonders that started to unravel as I read further. I became excited when Haven started getting strange facts about who she really was and what she was capable of doing. I unknowingly begun to connect with her emotions; whether it was her reaction to the creepy stuff that was taking place, or to the obvious fact that she was developing feelings for a certain character, not the one she crushed on at start, and was finding a side of her that was once hidden.
Dante was like the tension releaser throughout the story. His jovial personality makes you laugh and let go of the seriousness that previously filled the atmosphere. It was challenging for him, I think, to be in a situation where people were neither amused or particularly moved by his cheerful attitude. Lance, on the other hand, surprised me a bit. I wasn’t expecting the end result that included him, but as the story continued to develop I could sense that this was certainly going to happen. He appeared to me as a sweet, caring, and intuitive, similar to Haven and also has a very interesting secret of his own. I feel that both these guys helped in setting the mood and assisted in revealing the truth.
Another thing is Haven’s mentor, that woman in my opinion is quite the character. As described by Agresti, I get the sense that she’s someone of great etiquette and confidence far beyond the current century, she was rather alluring and bewitching. It was somewhat enjoyable whenever she spoke to Haven about playing with the dark side and emphasizing a bit on how desirable it can be. Her words were a bit teasing and cordial at the same time. Also, maybe it was just me but I found it quite amusing how the ‘Outfit’ was so proper and unfriendly whenever the main characters tried starting a conversation with them. I cracked up a bit when they would reply in very few words that basically meant ‘don’t bother me.’ But like I said, the story did get entertaining when it finally picked up the pace.
The exciting events leading up to a wonderful ending was spectacular. When I finally realized the true plan behind these glamorous beings I wasn’t too surprised, as some members hinted at their kind of lifestyle during the club sessions.
Overall, it was an interesting book and not a bad debut to what seems like a fun series involving angels, demons, and the wonders of a dark underworld so to speak. Despite the over-dramatization in details, it was quite a read and I did enjoy the rest of the book.
Title: ‘Illuminate’ (Gilded Wings Book One)
Author: Aimee Agresti
Release date: March 6, 2012
Purchase now on Amazon