Saturday, February 2, 2013
Warning, there may be slight spoilers for the first book below!
Title: Infatuate (Gilded Wings #2)
Author: Aimee Agresti
Rating: 4.4 stars
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
Source: review copy from the author for honest review
Summary: Haven Terra is still recovering from an internship that brought her literally to the brink of hell when a trip to New Orleans leads to more trouble. Graduating early from high school leaves the spring semester free, so Haven and her friends Dante and Lance head to the Big Easy to volunteer with community service projects. But their true mission becomes clear when they run across an enclave of devils known as the Krewe. New Orleans is a free-for-all for these shape-shifting devils, who are more reckless and vicious than any Haven, Lance, and Dante have encountered. And they soon discover their French Quarter housemates are also angels-in-training, and together they must face off with the Krewe in their quest for wings. But Haven’s resolve is tested when Lucian, the repentant devil with whom she was infatuated, resurfaces and asks her for help escaping the underworld. Can he be trusted? Or will aiding him cost Haven her angel wings—and her life? Thrilling, romantic, and full of surprises, this gripping sequel to Illuminate takes the battle of good and evil to the next level.
At first I was annoyed Illuminate wasn't a standalone, because it'd make a great one. They say it's a mix of The Picture of Dorian Gray and Devil Wears Prada, which do I find to be the most accurate description. So I wasn't sure what to expect for two more books. Either way, I think Illuminate can be read as a standalone if you don't mind a slightly open ending, but you might very well find yourself wanting more...
Infatuate took me a while to get into. The beginning is slow; there seemed to be a lot of unnecessary details and weird unexplained actions. I'd started to worry it would fall into the Second Book Slump category...but then around page 100 (a fourth through) a pretty great twist emerged from the doldrums, and my worries dissipated. And so did a lot of my confusion.
For the most part, the romance in here didn't appear that great. Lance is off suddenly falling for Haven's stupid roommate, Sabine. There wasn't even any supernaturalness to blame it on; it was just him being a guy! Kind of made me sad (I know, I know, realistic). And Haven is off next door hanging with Lucian every midnight, who suddenly relies on her niceness to get him out of the underworld. Eventually, matters were kind of talked out between Lace and Haven, but the whole time I'm in the frustrating place of mind where I want everybody to just communicate. Characters never listen to me though, unfortunately. It always takes them longer to sort their problems out.
Speaking of the stupid roommate. Sabine is a well developed character don't get me wrong, but she annoys the hell out of me. At first coming off as that gushy girlie insta-bestie...she rang all sorts of warning bells in my head. Perpetually happy people do that to me. And hey, I was right, because she turns to something different. I don't want to spoil anything. But as far as supporting characters go, she's a main one, and very important. As much as I don't like her personally, Sabine makes the plot work.
So Haven's infatuation with Lucian, aka Mr Evil from book one, didn't feel right. Nothing really added up, maybe some inconsistencies as far as what actually happened between them before, and now all the times they meet in secret...yeah. Haven, remember he's like The Bad Guy, right? As the reader, I think you're supposed to feel bad for him most of the way through the book, but it took until pretty much the last few pages for me to start trusting him. I don't get how Haven can still try to help him after all he did, call me harsh. She's nicer than I'd be. I still don't consider it a love-triangle though. It's not quite there..but it could be. People seem to be on a Team Lucian, which I never thought of before. Huh.
Setting Infatuate in New Orleans worked perfectly. Haven's group had the cover of being volunteers to help out Katrina recovering and general tutoring to students when really, much more is going on. The constant parties became just the right cover for bad-devil-people-murders and weird supernaturalness to go undetected and lost in the constant confusion. So. Many. People. And you learn a tiny bit of history too; New Orleans is such a fascinating place. It did take me some time to get over the Chicago setting of Illuminate, but both are very unique places, and I'm excited to see where the last book will take place.
Warning, there is a terrible cliffhanger. I turned the page expecting to have one of those I-can-let-out-my-breath-now moments...but nope! Instead I got to read the acknowledgments page. I seriously didn't expect it. So your welcome for warning you in advance. And I'm sorry, because you may be desperately needing the last book like I am right now.
Some cover observations: The cover to Illuminate is extremely pretty and fits perfectly. The non-final cover for Infatuate was not good at all, so when they adjusted to this current one I was so glad! (Even though it isn't awesome-worthy, it's not too bad.) At this point, I'm pretty sure it's not changing too much.