Illuminate (Gilded Wings #1) by Aimee Agresti
Rating: 3 stars
This book creeped me out!! It was rather freaky/creepy... haha
Well, I don't really know what to say about this book actually. It was quite interesting at the start, but the time and place of the events confused me a little. Then, it got a bit boring and I contemplated the idea of putting it down and not continuing it. But I'm a naturally curious person and hardly ever not finish a book (I at least skim through it) even if just to see what happens in the end. So I managed to finish it, and to my suprise, I got more and more into the book as it moved from the middle onwards. That was when unexpected messages and creepiness set in, as well as the devlopment/maturity of the main character Haven. She became stronger which was something the main heroine of the book should be like. However, it was still quite hard to get over how mushy and easily-led she seemed at the beginning.
The whole 'pack with the devil' thing gave me the creeps! If that was what the author intended to accomplish then congrats! You definitely succeeded in that! XD
I can absolutely see the reference and similarity to the book The Picture of Dorian Grey. The main themes which occured in The Picture of Dorian Grey also occured inIlluminate. The clash of good and evil, the inner desires of humans and what they would be willing to do to achieve such desires were also explored in this story. This is really what kept me reading: the way it described human desires and good vs evil. I kept having Déjà vu of what I read in that particular piece of Oscar Wilde's work. The Picture of Dorian Grey was in fact a piece of work which equally fascinated me and scared me (creeped me out...). I couldn't sleep properly on the night which i finished it XP Illuminate almost had the same unsettling effect.
Interestingly, I didn't really like the character of Lance. I think I just couldn't really connect with this character somehow, I didn't really understand him and didn't think he had much of a personality. For me, it felt like he was there because the author needed a good character. He followed pretty much everything Haven did, and really didn't have much of his own opinions. My favourite character was Lucian throughout the whole book. I really pitied him and felt sorry for him. Especially at the end. He was the only character that really touched me and sparked my interest in the book.
Even though it had a constant theme which the author tried to convey throughout the whole book, it was somehow lacking in its writing to draw the reader's attention and to connect us with the characters as they progress in the book. So unfortunately, it couldn't acquire a higher rating from me.
Synopsis from Goodreads
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.