Tuesday, March 12, 2013

You Have Drawn Me In

Published:  March 5th, 2013
Infatuate (Gilded Wings # 2)
By: Aimee Agresti
Harcourt Children's Books
ISBN-13:  9780547626154

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.


     Haven Terra and her friends want nothing more than a stress free trip to New Orleans, where they will spend their time volunteering on community service projects and enjoying the local history and attractions.  In other words, voluntourism.  Haven leaves thinking that after everything at the Hotel she and Lance will be closer than ever in their relationship.  She and Dante will be rock solid.  The second assertion yes, the first one not so much.  Lance and Haven are drifting further away from each other than they ever expected and with the demons actively campaigning for their souls, now is not the time to be divided.  Also, their pretty and emotionally wounded housemate Sabine's attention focused on Lance, Haven just might lose him for good.  But when all of the housemates learn they are participating in a secret bootcamp to train as angels, the threat becomes all too real.  As the Krewe, a group of seductive demons, rampages on a murder spree through New Orleans can Haven and her friends come together long enough to defeat them once and for all?  Will all of them still be alive when the dust settles?
     I really enjoyed the first book and it's retelling of The Picture of Dorian Gray in a completely new and interesting way I had never encountered before.  This book doesn't manage quite the same feat for Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, but it is still well crafted and easy to immerse yourself in while reading.  Haven was still too good for me in this one - even when she's jealous of Sabine and Lance she never once lashes out.  She basically just gives up and doesn't fight for what she wants.  Plus her continued communication with Lucian, who is reaching out from the Underworld just strikes me a s stupid after the experience that she Lance and Dante has at the Hotel during their internships.  I thought that the undercover voluntourism was a nice touch, but I didn't necessarily buy the sudden surge of Haven's powers and the ease with which all the teens learned what they could do.  The idea of Dante as the sage adviser was fun and well written.  He's still Haven's BFF, but has an extra dimension with his very happy romance and place at the head of the class.  I loved his interactions with Voodoo Queen he's apprenticing for as well.  
      The Krewe as the villain seemed very obvious, but at the same time extremely disjointed and I had a difficult time keeping track of who knew what and whether or not someone was really evil.  All of the human sacrifice and murders became repetitive to me as a reader and therefore less effective as plot devices the more they were used.  The final battle seemed kind of played out, but maybe that was because of the way the plot began to drag near the end.  I kept waiting for something to happen and when it did, it was somewhat anticlimactic.  There was some awesome character development and the reconstructing of the relationship between Lance and Haven after it crumbles was very nicely done.  I am interested to read the next book in the series.  I want to know how it will end for the gang, especially after they've suffered so much.  The world building had just enough detail mixed in with mystery to keep me hooked.  Also, Agresti's prose is fairly gorgeous.  Overall, if you're not such a fan of the angel trend (as I am not) I would recommend this book to you as it happens to be mostly character driven, with a pretty well constructed plot.  Not too much religion or flying around talking about Heaven and/or Hell to be interesting.

VERDICT:  4/5  Stars

*received an Advanced Reading E-book Copy from the publisher, via NetGalley. No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book was published February 5th, 2013.*

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