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Infatuate by Aimee Agresti

Infatuate by Aimee Agresti

Infatuate (Gilded Wings 2)

By: Aimee Agresti

Release Date: March 5, 2013

Rating: 4 Stars

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.



Review:

Tldr: Team Lucian let’s roll.

Looking back, I really don’t think my review of Illuminate did it justice. What I meant to say is that the first Gilded Wings is one of the rare angel books I actually like because it’s a devilish mix of The Devil Wears Prada and The Picture of Dorian Gray. While it definitely shows its angel book roots, particularly in its molasses paced first half and somewhat forgettable heroine Haven Terra, nonetheless it impressively captures the mood, tone, and atmosphere of its gothic inspirations, features one of the most deliciously complex villains I’ve ever read, and, yeah, Aimee Agresti’s particular brand of angel mythos isn’t too shabby either.

Infatuate is, in no particular order, better, worse, and more of the same. It’s better because the pacing is much improved from the first book and didn’t bored me to tears before it impressed me, it’s worse because the absence of master(fully done) villain Aurelia Brown left a gaping hole in the story, and it’s more of the same because the plot really reminded me of the first book and at times feels like a scene for scene replay (a graveyard ritual scene in particular just screams recycled). Normally, I’m not a fan of rehashes, and I actually am kind of disappointed in Infatuate’s storyline, this time being a supposed twist of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (which anyone familiar with my reviews will know I’m a huge fan of) that really didn’t work as well as Illuminate’s take on Dorian Gray before it, but in the end I guess I’m cutting this sequel some slack because it does all the things a sequel is supposed to do – it moves the story forward, adds new plot twists, new directions, and expands on the mythology – basically, I just went with it, even if the last chapter ends on one of the most infuriating cliffhangers ever.

I guess I should also apologize for saying the cover sucked because it doesn’t really ‘go’ with the first book. Now that I’ve actually read this, the cover design is really quite wicked and the two covers follow a pretty good theme, Illuminate with a sort of a turn of the century elegance like the Lexington Hotel where the story’s based, and Infatuate with the jazzy New Orleans theme that totally fits with the plot that, no surprise, happens in the Big Easy (Haven joins other angels in training who’s survived ordeals similar to her own in a sort of volunteer slash boot camp – actually, the book’s pretty good with capturing the spirit of New Orleans too). The same theme as the books in fact – as Agresti points out somewhere in here, Illuminate is the more intellectual and thoughtful of the two, with a slow buildup as Haven unmasks the evil lurking behind the glitz of the Lexington Hotel and her glamorous boss Aurelia, while Infatuate is far more carnal, with good and evil already laid out and Haven having to stop new villain Clio from a murderous rampage and corrupting her fellow angels just in time for Mardi Gras.

Of course I’m not happy that Clio’s far too obvious and doesn’t come close to the characterization Aurelia had – I’d love to learn more about her past and the past of the Krewe just like how much was revealed about Aurelia and the other members of the Outfit, even if the story doesn’t really allow that, and it’s strange how easily some of the angels in training, who presumably survived trials just as tough as Haven and her friends, fall to the dark side, but I do see how it’s part of the Jekyll and Hyde theme – everyone has a evil half that’s easily let out and becoming an angel means learning to deal with that part of a person – even if it’s really not as well done as how Haven’s pictures showing the corruption of the souls of her subjects harkened to Dorian Gray. As for Haven herself, yeah she’s kind of forgettable as far as uniqueness goes, but her character does have that kind of silent strength that works well given the story is about trials of angels and temptations of demons. For everyone who liked Lance, I’m sorry, but he turns into a jackass here, I guess because most people are rooting for Lucian who (no surprise) is back and I don’t just mean that first creepy fake out (which was just mean).

I like gothic and gothic themed novels, so Gilded Wings is pretty much straight up my alley. Yeah, it’s an angel book too, but in this case, I don’t really mind. Go Haven!


Go to Mitch’s review on Goodreads.

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