Author: Aimee Agresti
Date of Publication: March 6, 2012
Formats Available: Hardcover, E-Book
Buy This Book: Amazon
Synopsis: When Haven is given a too good to be true internship at the prestigious Lexington Hotel she is thrilled. Shy, invisible Haven is soon swept up in the luxurious world of the hotel, here she has the opportunity to work with gorgeous Aurelia Brown and her equally beautiful underlings; planning events, running errands for Aurelia, and having her photography displayed. Haven has even captured the attention of Lucian Grove, Aurelia's right hand man. Haven begins to see the potential of what she can accomplish, and Aurelia offers her an extraordinary deal. However, as Haven learns more about Aurelia and the hotel she finds the deal may not be what it seems.
At a staggering 510 pages Illuminate is a big commitment, a commitment that I was sure I was going to regret. Surprisingly, finishing Illuminate wasn't as much as a struggle as I thought it would be, despite numerous rumors of this novel dragging on at an unbearably slow pace, I found that the book moves quickly and the plot is intricately structured so that every event has a purpose, even if it is not immediately obvious.
Illuminate is a retelling of The Picture of Dorian Gray, something I found intriguing because I've never read a retelling of that story. Because I only know the basic story of Dorian Gray I'm not sure how close Illuminate is to the original but I thought there were a lot of loose ends as far as the portraits go. Instead of paintings, the pictures Haven takes of Aurelia and her underlings begin to show their true selves, but it is never explained why only pictures Haven takes show their true, deteriorated, selves.
Agresti did a wonderful job with pacing and plot development. Illuminate provided the perfect mix of action, suspense, and Haven's discoveries of the hotel's secrets. Despite the cliche ideas of secret tunnels and holes in the walls to spy through, the plot comes together nicely. The ending is a little too easy for the 400 pages it took to get there, but its satisfying none the less.
If you're willing to brave the 510 pages that is Illuminate I would recommend it, though it does get boring at times. Agresti has the potential to be a good writer, I will be interested to see how the next book in this series plays out. I'm excited to find out more about Haven and her abilities and what will happen to her now.