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 the tale of Haven, just your average high school girl who’s awarded an amazing chance at a glamourous internship in Chicago with young, hot wunderkind, Aurelia Brown. And what’s more exciting is that she gets to go with her very best friend, Dante. But early on things don’t add up and Haven finds herself surrounded by evil. She must grow into the promise of herself and save those she cares about in the face of ultimate evil.
What I liked…
I liked the premise of this story. I liked the idea of a girl going for a prized internship only to find out she’s working for something evil. I also liked that Haven was a strong character, who faced the challenges put to her and remained focus throughout this book on achieving her goal. Finally, I enjoyed the sideline about prom. It was fun and ironic, especially the choice of prom theme given that the hotel where the event would be held is, well…evil central.
What didn’t work for me…
I felt like this book was needlessly long. I got well past the 100-page mark and still found myself waiting for the momentum of the book to really begin. I also never connected with the characters. I liked them all and they all had individual personalities but something about them just fell flat for me. Finally, I found the entity that gives Haven advice throughout the book grating. I didn’t like the format or the content of the advice she received. It really just didn’t work for me.
So, you know I hate to not giving a glowing review without citing a few other folks who did like a book, and there are two bloggers I adore who simply LOVED Illuminate: Mimi Valentine and Wendy from A Cupcake and A Latte. So if you’re a fan of paranormal, check out what they thought and see if you think Illuminate might be for you.