Author: Aimee Agresti
Genre: YA contemporary, PNR
Publication Date: March 5, 2013 (HMH – North America)
Source: Publisher-provided ARC/NetGalley review copy
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.
☆: 4/5 stars – a great follow-up to “Illuminate”!
Review: Okay, so first, let me just say that this video? Totally sums up this entire book:
Confused? Don’t be. This book is one huge crazy orgy of angels, demons, love rombuses (yes, rhombuses!), trials of faith, and Mardi Gras. While we see Haven and the bunch pushed to their furthest limits yet – physically, emotionally, and mentally – we also see a lot of the human condition – what one will do in order to relieve loneliness, stress, and how to feel accepted and safe. While not quite as startlingly awesome as book one, “Infatuate” is still an excellently bold book with lots of stuff that’s going to make you never want to say YOLO ever again.
Yes, there is a chapter (chapter 26, to be exact) called “You Only Live Once”. I swear guys, it’s pretty accurate. As the worldbuilding, character building, and sensory language were more or less flawless, this review will be focusing more on plot points. I’ll try not to be spoilery, but in some areas, it can’t be avoided.
That aside, here’s what kind of brought down my enjoyment of the book as a whole (and thus only four out of five stars): One, we have Haven in the spotlight on the angel front, becoming this crazy powerful force. What I would have liked was for Haven to have more competition on the angel training front instead of just the romance front. Though, I do have to say, her being tempted by the Krewe? One of my favorite parts of the book. It was wild, crazy, and so refreshing that I actually wanted more of that for Haven. She’s so steadfast, and while that can be a great character trait, it can also be a double-edged sword – as in, too steadfast, too rigid, and too assertive in one direction.
The other double-edged sword here: the love rhombus with Lance, Sabine, Lucian, and Haven. While it served its purpose in really driving the emotional tension of things throughout the book, I’m still not entirely sure if it was needed. I do think Sabine is a great foil for Haven here, and their dynamic worked really, really well in this book. I’m just not sure that she was needed in the love rhombus. I loved the return of Lucian, and the paranoia that came with him – whose side is he really on? Can we really trust him? There’s a lot of paranoia within this book as it is, and Lucian’s return just kind of made things crazier. In a good way.
I also liked how confident Dante was in this book, as well as the assertion that because he’s not heteronormative, he’s gone through more, and thus, is a little higher on the angel ranking of things. I thought that was an interesting idea, and a bit refreshing when it came to discussing sexual identity in YA – that for once, the non-heteronormatives are on top (literally) instead of the usual couching of bullying and suicide, etc. I also liked that he got a little love action, and I actually wanted to see more of that. If anything, I think Dante was kind of left out of things for the most part, and that he needed more facetime, compared to how much Haven and Lance got. I do understand that balancing a main cast of three is difficult, but I wouldn’t have minded a longer book if it meant more awesome time with Dante.
What I loved the most: the insane gore and rampaging by the Krewe. While I think Clio could have used more character development (since, aside from the Prince, she’s kind of the main antagonist here). I loved all of the chapters where we really get to see them cut loose, and the shapeshifting idea was interesting in that Agresti didn’t go in the direction that many authors might have gone – having the Krewe changing into beasts instead of into humans. It just makes the demons all the more quietly dangerous, and I thought that was a pretty great choice on her part.
What I did love is that all of our main cast (and new characters) really get put through the mill this time – Agresti doesn’t hold much back here, and I thought that was wonderful. I can only hope there’s more of the same planned for book three. Big emotional payoff comes from killing your darlings, and she really did that here. My hat goes off to her for having the bravery to do so.
Finally, the ending. I’m feeling a bit lukewarm about it. It seemed far too easy – both in the cliffhanger department, and how the Prince appeared (and acted). I would have preferred more of a struggle instead of a “okay, going to do this now, doing this now, done, bye!” sort of vibe that actually happened. It felt a bit rushed, and could have been drawn out a little more. However, it does help solve the love rhombus, so that’s a plus. I guess.
Final verdict? While it’s not the breathtaking book that “Illuminate” was, “Infatuate” is still an awesome follow-up with lots of surprises in store. Definitely one of the best of 2013 so far, I can’t wait for book three. “Infatuate” is out now from HMH in North America, so be sure to check it out when you get the chance!