Illuminate: A Gilded Wings Novel, Book One

Illuminate: A Gilded Wings Novel, Book One

by Aimee Agresti
4.2 31

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Illuminate: A Gilded Wings Novel, Book One by Aimee Agresti

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

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780547822501
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 03/06/2012
Series: Gilded Wings Series , #1
Sold by: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 544
Sales rank: 361,708
File size: 3 MB
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Aimee Agresti is an entertainment journalist and author. As a staff writer for Us Weekly magazine, she interviewed many celebrities and penned the magazine’s coffee table book Inside Hollywood. In addition to Us, her work has appeared in People, the Washington Post, Mademoiselle, and the New York Observer. Illuminate is her first novel for teens. She lives in Washington, D.C. Visit her website at

Aimee Agresti is the author of the Gilded Wings Novels, Illuminate and Infatuate. She is also an entertainment journalist whose work has appeared in People, the Washington Post, Mademoiselle, and the New York Observer. As a staff writer for Us Weekly magazine, she interviewed many celebrities and penned the magazine’s coffee table book Inside Hollywood. She lives in Washington, D.C. Visit her website at

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Illuminate: A Gilded Wings Novel, Book One 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 31 reviews.
ClaireFrith More than 1 year ago
Wow! This book was fantastic! I have been waiting to read this book for awhile now, and finally decided I couldn't wait any longer! I am glad I didn't! Haven Terra was so cute. She just really wanted to do well. She swooned at the PERFECT HOT GUY. It was so typical, and it not once annoyed me! I loved Lance from the start - the nerdy, shy kid. Dante was also a fantastic character - the gay smart kid who just doesn't give a damn and grabs life every chance - he is the gay best friend I really wish I had! Haven, Dante and Lance get accepted to this internship at a hotel, but not everything is as it seems. I found this novel was constantly surprising me! I thought I had it figured out, but alas, I was mostly wrong! The only complaint I have with this book was it was quite long, roughly 530 pages, and I felt it dragged on in some places. But otherwise it was amazing! Buy it, devour it, LOVE IT!
The_Busy_Bibliophile More than 1 year ago
Haven and her two friends are chosen (out of the blue) to work in a prestigious up-and-coming new hotel. I’m not sure what kind of public school system they’re a part of, but they get to leave school and live at the hotel for an entire semester. It’s almost too good to be true. All of the hotel staff are young and impossibly gorgeous and Haven feels pretty special just being a part of it. Soon enough, odd things start happening (a plant spontaneously catches fire, photographs do weird things, people disappear) and Haven becomes suspicious. Throw in a diary in which passages suddenly appear and seem to give Haven directions, and she really gets freaked out. I have to admit, I would have become a little nervous much sooner than Haven and her friends did. Haven was an okay protagonist, though I had some issues with the way she handled some things. She had some scars on her body and didn’t know where they came from (she was an orphan, found on the side of the road), and when in danger, her scars started to hurt. Um, hello? Big fat warning sign. Does Haven pay that any mind? No. When the aforementioned plant catches on fire, she just tosses the thing and forgets about it. Besides the previous nitpicks, I did like how real she was. She was shy and nerdy, but also kind and friendly. I love the way she and her best friend Dante talked to each other, like they’d been friends forever. Lance was a nice addition to their duo and I especially liked how he and Haven grew as friends. Haven’s love interest Lucian and her boss Aurelia (anyone else think of areola when they see that name? No? Just me then?) were supposed to be just regular people, but I never fell for it. They were too perfect and beautiful and cunning and powerful. I never believed they were just normal, so it made it hard for me to be shocked and upset when Haven found out the truth and felt that way. The dialogue was standard stuff, nothing too artsy fartsy or simple. The mystery part of the story was interesting, although I think anybody else would have come to the obvious conclusion sooner than Haven did. But I’m probably just nitpicking. The length of the novel was way too long. The entire middle part dragged on and on. The beginning was interesting, as we learned about the characters and their environment and the ending was fast and held my interest, but the middle was unnecessarily long, without a lot of action or new information to move the story along. The cover is beautiful and appropriate. The wings are subtle (I didn’t even notice them at first) and she actually wears a similar dress in an important scene in the story, so props for that. The sum up: I wasn’t as excited about this book overall as I was in the beginning. It had a lot of promise and started off well, but didn’t finish as strongly as it could have.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I could not put this book down! It's fantastic!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting story, quick reading, suspenseful, good versus evil theme.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book! It was well written and very exciting to read. At one point I almost started crying because I felt so much for the characters. Its worth the buy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is ridiculous! Why is the paperback cheaper than the nook book! Amzons' version is only $7.43, just something to think about. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was throughly enjoyable. I loved the length of it-- it felt not too short, but not too long, and kept me reading. I learned a great bit about myself interwoven in these pages, and I believe the novel showed a lot on the true American Dream. Haven kept her faith in the truth that hard work for goals brings true happiness, and that instant gratification is fruitless, and that is what saved her in the end. I love the Seven Deadly Sins theme in the Vault, and Lance was my favorite character. Not to spoil or anything but at THAT MOMENT there in the end (you know what I'm talking about if you read it already), I shouted, "I KNEW IT!!" And grinned widely. Spectacular story of not knowing your own strength and is very reccommended :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you have not already read this book, READ IT. It is such a great book.
lahls More than 1 year ago
These are the kind of books that I love to read. Ones that I can not put down. It just seems that with the series books They can't publish them fast enough for me
FireStarBooks More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book and believe that the length did nothing to skew the brilliant story line, and funny, captivating characters. 5 stars for sure.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I coukdnt put it down cant wait to read more!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
... an amazing book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book
TiffanyReads More than 1 year ago
Illuminate is a fantastic start to what I'm sure will be an amazing series. Our protagonist Haven is a character that I really liked. She starts off quiet and not very confident in herself but by the end she's this strong confident girl that you want to root for. Haven is a very smart girl and isn't very easily swayed. I loved that she didn't just accept things that she searched and found out the truth, even when it wasn't what she wanted to hear. Haven is tested a lot throughout the book and I think she handled everything very well. Dante, Haven's best friend was probably my favorite character. Though he had his fair share of struggles throughout the book he fought his way through them and became a stronger character as well. Dante and Haven had some bumps in their friendship throughout the book but they always managed to find their way back to each other. You could really see how much Dante and Haven truly cared about each other. Lance, the other boy who was awarded the internship along with Haven and Dante was another character I really liked. At first I wasn't sure what to make of Lance because he came off kind of quiet and awkward but as the book went on and he and Haven became closer I began to really like him. Lance and Haven are just adorable together and I can't wait to see what happens between the two of them in the future. Then there is also Lucian, a boy who works at the hotel where Haven, Dante, and Lance are doing their internship. My feelings on Lucian are pretty mixed and to be honest I'm still not sure what to make of him. Lucian is a very shady and mysterious character and even though we learned some of his secrets in this book I'm sure there is a lot more to learn and I'm interested to see what we learn about him in the future. The plot of this book kept me hooked the entire time, I think the idea of these three kids getting an internship to work at a hotel was a very cool and different twist for a paranormal book. I also had a really fun time throughout the whole book trying to fit the pieces together and figure out what was really going on. Little hints are dropped here and there and some things I definitely saw coming but there were also quite a few things that surprised me as well. Another great aspect of this book is the writing, all the descriptions of the hotel were really detailed and helped pull me into the setting. While this book doesn't end on a cliffhanger there are many threads left to pick up on in future books and I can't wait to see what happens next. Final Verdict: I can't say enough good things about Illuminate, it is an amazing book and I can't wait until the next book in the series comes out as I am dying to know what happens next. *This review is also posted on my blog and my other social media profiles.
rachelnaddeo More than 1 year ago
To describe Illuminate I could only use two words: freaking amazing! And to be completely sincere, I wasn't expecting for it to be this good. Angel-themed books have been so popular these last few months that I though Illuminate would be rather repetitive but it was just the opposite! Agresti's novel was a pleasant surprise. And I can't forget to mention that Illuminate has a beautiful cover which will love great on your bookshelf, just saying. Haven, an ordinary yet very hard-working girl, is chosen to work at a hotel for six months. Her best friend, Dante, and another high school colleague, Lance, are invited too. This job seems like the perfect opportunity to get her life somewhere. But she doesn't know that in this hotel nothing is as it seems. A book left for her in the library tells her that her life is in great danger but will she believe it? The plot was utterly amazing and surprisingly captivating. It was actually really surprising to find out more about the hotel's beautiful employees and the scaring boss, Aurelia. I had no idea when I started this novel that it would not only involve angels, but also selling souls to demons (if you watch Supernatural, you know what this means!). It was refreshing; for as I said many times before, angels are a popular theme nowadays in YA books. But what I loved most was the mystery in Illuminate. Agresti succeeds in keeping us at bay the whole time, leaving us guessing and never finding out much, though I guess this could be a bit annoying to many of you but I enjoyed it. The characters in Illuminate were a bit hard to judge and relate to, since they were for the most part mysterious. For example you never knew if Lucian (the gorgeous employee, with whom Haven has a few dates) was nice or if he was just playing Haven for his and Aurelia's evil plans (mua-ha-ha! You will have to read it to find out more!). But Haven was a wonderful main character. She grows up a lot throughout the book, becoming a strong and independent girl. She is really down-to-earth and prefers to work hard now and slack later. Lance was sweet, quiet and likable but I would have loved to learn more about him. I wanted to read more about Dante too, even though he was a pretty predictable character. Overall the story was amazing, the writing beautiful so that I can't wait to read the next one (my hands are already itching for more)! The beginning started a bit slow and sometimes I wondered about taking a break from reading it, but I refused to give up and it totally paid off! I'm so happy that I continued reading because after the action started to pick up pace I wasn't able to put this one down. Totally recommended!
My_Life_is_a_Notebook More than 1 year ago
Okay, I just want to call this book out RIGHT HERE. Note the words in the last line of the blurb “suspenseful” and “exciting.” This book is 534 pages that it doesn’t need to be because it is NOT suspenseful or exciting in a lot of places. The problem is, this book is WAY TOO BIG. The pacing in this book is really wacked out, and the editing also strange. If Illuminate had been half the size (or smaller!) it could have been a really awesome read for me, a higher starred one to boot. But this book GOES. SO. SLOW. The fact that I finished this book is actually a fluke. I’ll admit that there was something compulsively keeping me reading. The prose was rather purple-y and overdone–further slowing down the already slow plot–but in some places it really did click. Flashes of action would crop up, but that’s all they were, flashes. Flashes of action is not actual action, people. WARNING! MILD SPOILERS BELOW! Our main character is supposed to be a protagonist. But the problem is, she isn’t. The entirety of the plot–when it does move forward–seems to be happening around her. The reason she starts doing ANYTHING is because she finds this notebook that tells her everything to do. It’s aggravating, especially when Aurelia and everybody start freaking out because Haven’s powers are growing and she’s effecting the photos but HAVEN ISN’T DOING ANYTHING. She isn’t any different, she isn’t even trying to be magical. It just happens. What in the world is going on in this book? I’m not kidding! The blurb tells you that Aurelia and crew are stealing souls, but what is Haven’s role? What’s her job? What kind of lore are we dealing with? I was asking these IMPORTANT questions all the way up until about halfway through the book! You don’t even find out what the deal is with Haven until later than that. I understand that since this is the first person and Haven is clueless she can’t exactly TELL us, but geez. And then when things actually happen… It doesn’t seem to FIT. For instance, when Haven finally figures out Lucian, I wanted to shout NO, REALLY? And then when things start rolling and some plot points are explained I went, WAIT WHAT? Because they happened too fast for me to get a handle on them. However, however, I do admit, I adored a few things… The character of Dante was awesome. I was upset we got to see him so little in the middle of the book. The Lance/Haven thing was also cute, because they took time to get to know each other, trust each other and THEN fall in love with each other. Major plus in my book. I spent so long on criticism I feel bad I don’t want to prattle on too much here, but yeah. Those were two major points for me! Now … the ending. THERE WILL BE NO SPOILERS HERE, even if it kills me. However, I must say, things REALLY got rolling here. It was like, after 500 pages of blah blah blah all of a sudden it went EVERYTHING is GOING TO HAPPEN, THE END. I truly did enjoy the ending, though it ended pretty abruptly after what I was used to. In a nutshell, this book was something. It was really slow for ages, then really fast for about 20 pages and then you were at the end. If you are the kind of person who reads books were something NEEDS TO HAPPEN then I would avoid this one. However, if you don’t mind slower reading and a slower reveal of plot points then you might find this one enjoyable. Though I did finish this, it really wasn’t quite the right fit for me–a fast reader with a short attention spam.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Illuminate is an amazing book. A great start to an amazing series. All girls looking for an adventure and mystery should eead this. SPOILER: Think of Dante's Inferno.
PhotographerReader_Julie More than 1 year ago
This one took a while to pick up any main plot or idea of where the story was going. Not a very original story line, just a jumble of angels vs. demons, some Dorian Grey picture stuff and a whole bunch of plotting. I think I'd read the next one to get an idea if it gets any better. But I just wish there was more doing than just planning involved in the story line.
AcesMommy More than 1 year ago
3 - 4 STARS Illuminate by Aimee Agresti is a romantically captivating Angel story! Filled with enjoyable characters that will have you wanting to befriend, and some not so much (they're evil I tell you!); an intriguing plot and a whole-lotta angst you wouldn't know what to do with! To begin, the cover is more than gorgeous! I really like the shadowy effect of wings as if she really has them (you'll understand my hinting if you've read the book). It's the major reason I really wanted to read Illuminate, the second being the synopsis. I have to admit this took me WAY longer than it should have to read/finish. The story really wasn't that bad, and the only way you will know that is if you've read to the end without skipping/skimming any pages. It was really long [534 pgs] when it could have been spruced up shorter, and it's the reason why it felt like it dragged on. The first few pages were filled with unnecessary descriptions and were a bit excessive. Two thirds of the way it just started to feel lengthy where it could have been edited a bit or condensed in some parts. I can't remember where it started to catch my interest, but it does get interesting once you pass that hurdle. I love the three main characters! Dante is adorable and I SO want one for myself! The love drama is cute and not over done. I still don't know which guy I like the most. Haven is very likable and you just want her to succeeded in what she does and tries to accomplish. Lance is such a nerd, but a nerd to be reckoned with! My only disappointment aside from the length is the lacking of Haven's past along with the confusing cryptic mystery of the book and postcards which I'm hoping will be cleared and explained more in the second book. I LOVED the ending! There is really not that much to say about it because it was a great and perfect way to finish the story. Even though I cried at one point the result was still SWEET! LOVED IT! If you don't mind novels that are long-drawn-out (which are great for rainy days mind you) then this is the book for you!! It is also a great Angel story to add to your list! Get Illuminate'd' =)
pagese More than 1 year ago
I haven't been looking forward to this review. I knew it was going to be a hard one for me to write because I never felt I had a firm opinion on the book. I'm hoping that writing this out will help me get a better grasp on my thoughts. First off, Haven. She's seems like a smart girl, but she completely bought into this scholarship thing. What person would honestly believe they won a scholarship they never applied for. They just don't work like that. I didn't buy it, and neither should she. Besides that, I really liked her. I thought her background was interesting. I loved how she interacted with her friends. And even though I knew the opportunity was fake, I loved how she embraced it a made it the best she could. I also liked how she fell hard and fast for the wrong guy (we know teenager girls can do it), got hurt, but discovered something better. I actually didn't mind the storyline either. I think it really could have worked. But, I don't think it was explained very well. While I understood what Haven was, it just seem that I fully understood what she could (or maybe it was I could never figure out why it mattered). She's suppose to be the really powerful being that hasn't unlocked her full potential yet. To me she just seemed like a smart, normal girl who just happened to see people as they really were. I just didn't get it. I did like the hotel. It seemed creepy. I think that could have been explored more. I feel like we're barely skimming the surface of those who are working the hotel. What's they are doing to ensnare people, etc. I think Haven figures out way to quickly that something is wrong and is constantly on guard. Therefore, we see things through her eyes (obviously sense it's told from her point of view). The biggest problem for's long. And not in a good way. There are times this story seriously dragged on and on. It's a lot of information and very little action. I was bored for most of it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I highly recommend this book!