Book: Illuminate by Aimee Agresti
Book Info: Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 544 pages; purchased for my Nook
Genre: YA: Paranormal/Angels
Goodreads.com Summary: 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.
Illuminate has an interesting plot, and there were a lot of things I liked. Her angel/demon mythology was interesting, and I liked the tension between the “good” angels and the “bad” angels, even though that mostly happened towards the end. I also liked Haven’s power to capture someone’s soul simply by photographing them. It’s hinted that Dante and Lance have powers as well, so I’m curious as to what their powers are and if/how their powers will play out.
I also liked the setting, which takes place in a very posh hotel. The details were definitely amazing, and I’d love to stay in a hotel like that.
That being said, there are some weird things with the plot. The school just lets 3 kids go off to a hotel with very few details? We never see them do any sort of homework, or get tutored in anyway. While that would bog down the book, it’s strange that there’s no mention of how they’re keeping up with their classes. The characters live in Chicago, and yet they’re required to stay in a hotel for several months in the same city they live in? Why can’t they attend after school or on weekends? There’s minimal contact with their families too. I get there would be no plot otherwise, but it got irritating by the end of the book.
As far as the characters go, I thought Haven’s backstory was interesting, but the characters were boring and a bit cliche. Agresti managed to stay away from the love triangle, but if it appeared in one of the other books, I wouldn’t be surprised.
Overall, it gets 4 stars of 5. It was enjoyable, and even though I have a few issues with the book, I still can’t wait to read the next one.