Sunday, July 29, 2012

Review: 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.
Hardcover511 pages
Published March 6th 2012 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt provided me a finished copy for my honest review. THANK YOU GUYS SO VERY MUCH!


At first, I didn't really like Haven because she just seemed like the perfect student. Ugh. But as she became an intern, she was mature, sophisticated and professional. I really admired her. She was able to collect herself and conquer obstacles. It definitely in a way reminded me of The Devil Wears Prada.

Dante was a bit feminine which I love! He was sweet, FUN, and caring. EEEE! Best friend material! *arms flail*

Dante was your typical hyperactive kid. Wally (Wally West from DC Comics), and Naruto (Naruto from the Naruto manga) like.

Lance seemed sweet and cool. I mean he wore glasses! Hello! You know I kind of have a thing for "nerdy chic".  I mean my love for the guy below can be prove to that. Granted he is not real.

I really enjoyed the slow build up between Lance and Haven. Some of you might know I hate instalove with the "Every-touch-sends-a-spark- and-I-want-to-be-with-you-forever" thing. Their friendship was very sweet, and very subtle. 

Lucian, wow, he was such a flirt. He was smoooooth. The tiny gestures that goes on between Lucian and Haven. Woowoo mister!
I really couldn't pick whether I am Team Lance or Team Lucian.
And what can I say about Aurelia?
When she talked, it contained mystery and depth to it. At times she really reminded me of your "old-wise-one-mentor-with-the-philosophical-sayings-without-being-all-wrinkly". 

At time, I get the feelings like I'm reading the Mortal Instrument Series and the Iron Fey Series. The hotel totally reminded me of the Lotus Casino in The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan. The hotel was just breathtaking! (Oh yeah so was Alcatraz as well!) One thing that I completely fell for was that the hotel set the week with the theme of the seven deadly sins. What came to my mind immediately was FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST! Yeah, that was off topic. I really enjoyed the historical reference to Chicago, the prohibition, Al Capone etc.

The only thing "bad" about this book was that it was too long. I think there was too many dialogues and a lot of blah blah. That's why it is 511 pages long. There was basically a 100 page intro to the basic setting and few main characters. Overall this book was beautifully written. Aimee created a complete magical world.


  1. Great review! :D

    New follower here!

  2. good you enjoyed it. no matter how i tried i couldn't finish this book. there was just too much details

    1. I have to agree that is one flaw for this book. :) Thank you so much for visiting. :D

  3. I've been eying this for awhile and it sounds like an admirable mc and a nice love triangle.
    Thanks for review,
    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog


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