Illuminate (Gilded Wings # 1) is one of those novels where the mystery and glamour will instantly pull you in, as the characters uncover the seemingly perfect facade of The Lexington Hotel, owner Aurelia Brown and the perfect employees known as the Outfit.
Haven Terra is dropped into a world of glitz, elite, and elegance when she is offered a whirlwind internship at the hotel with a group of glamazons; led by the beautiful and classy Aurelia Brown and her partner in crime Lucian. Haven soon learns that there is something sinister beneath the Lexington Hotel.
This is one of those plots in which the heroine has to find out and piece together the paranormal element. Personally, not one of my favorite plot set-ups especially when you have some idea as to what might be going on (the cover basically spoils this).
illuminate however piqued my interest for most of the novel, it slowed a little in the middle but the ending really pulled it all together. Agresti has rich descriptions and enigmatic characters that I wanted to learn more about. The good versus evil plotline mixed with the usual teenage angst/tension was reminiscent of former WB paranormal shows (Charmed, Buffy, Angel, Smallville etc.)
Dante, Lance, and Haven are a solid trio of characters and their personalities played off each other very well. Speaking of our characters I think Agresti does something rather “stealthy” with the names that give the reader something to think about. The novel delves into an obsession with
perfection and what artificial beauty is covering up.
Illuminate is a great debut novel that could really grow and come into its own and is a stand out to novels I’ve read in this particular paranormal genre. Bonus points because the main character actually wears a dress similar to the one of the cover.
Thanks to Rachel Wasdyke and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Book Group for the e-galley