DAC III ~ March: Gilded Wings: Book 1 ~ Illuminate

Author: Aimee Agresti 

Summary: Haven Terra is a brainy, shy high school outcast. But everything changes when she is awarded a prestigious internship at a posh Chicago hotel under the watchful eyes of a group of gorgeous strangers: the 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 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?
My Review: With Illuminate’s premises, I thought that perhaps this book might have more to do with a fantasy element. I thought that fay might be involved. While I guess you could classify this as a fantasy, it didn’t have all the elements involved that I thought it might have had to begin with. Over all, and without spoiling how it truly unfolds, I really did enjoy this book. The writing style had just enough descriptive detail to make the characters and plot all flow nicely together. While I may have had a few minor issues with this book (like, the beginning felt a bit slow), I found them quite easy to overlook. 
Characters: The characters themselves were built rather well, or at least the important ones. While I did feel like some may have disappeared for too long or who’s personalities were not described well enough, I think that over-all they were portrayed nicely and effectively.
Plot: The whole idea of living in such a glamourous hotel made me think this would be a rather typical glitzy high school-out-into-society novel. Surprisingly, I found that I did enjoy it. Perhaps at times it felt a little slow or things felt off, I was able to enjoy it for the most part. The times where Haven spent exploring the hidden sides of the hotel felt a bit rushed and not thought out well to me, as if the author couldn’t spend enough time explaining why it was all really necessary. Haven’s blind faith in the notebook’s words was a little stereotypical to me as well.
Disclaimers: I do not recall much profanity, but if there was any, it was minor. Not to say that it was the out-of-place type. If there was some, it was placed appropriately and only on occasion. Violence wise, I wouldn’t label this book as gory, but the way in which the good defeats the bad almost felt alittle revengeful to me, alittle too ghastly. But only alittle. I was pleased that Agresti kept it tame otherwise, perhaps some of the affections were a bit over the top, but nothing to make the reader feel uncomfortable. There is one homosexual character, but his personality is playful and his interaction with Haven keeps the topic itself at a more subtle level, making his character more humorous and fun loving than guy-obsessed.
Favorite Character: Lucian
Favorite Quote:
“I guess we often want what we can’t have. Isn’t that a most basic trait of human nature? Isn’t that why, for instance, you girls always go for the bad-boy archetype?” 
“Kindly refrain from saddling me with your generalizations, thank you…..Maybe we should discuss why it is you guys always jump at the icy, glamourous girls, the ones who descend from lines of giraffes and hourglasses who usually manage to show a lot of skin.”
~ Lance & Haven
Recommended: Older teens
Over-all Rating: ★★★★☆
~ Darkitty

*Next: Expedition to the Mountains of the Moon & Ripper*

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