Previous Installment: Illuminate
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.
Despite being overly long and detailed, I am one of the ones who did enjoy reading Illuminate, the first book in this series. I liked the different sort of angel and devil lore being used, and really found myself drawn to some of the characters. I was therefore quite excited to read Infatuate; I was hoping that Ms. Agresti learned from some of the issues in the first book (like the slowly-developing plot), and that I’d come away enjoying this one even more. I’m happy to report that, for me at least, that was definitely the case. While some aspects of the book were repetitive (like the Krewe’s continuous nights of chaos), I still found myself moving through this one a bit more quickly, and becoming much more engrossed in the story and characters.
One thing I do want to mention is that this book should not be read if you haven’t read Illuminate. The second installment makes continuous references to the events of the first book, and while some of it is explained, you will be much better able to understand the dynamic between Haven and Lucian, which is a very big driving force in this book. I don’t want to go too in depth about this, because I’d like this review to be as spoiler free as possible, but Lucian’s current situation is definitely the cause of some of Haven’s decision making, and I think knowing their previous history makes it more poignant and really helps the reader understand why she’s so determined to help him. Considering that her doing so is what helps bring about the climax of this book, it’s rather important that the reader be invested in their relationship, and I’m just not sure you can be as emotionally connected if you don’t read the first book.
Speaking of Lucian, I am a reader who is not normally “team” anything when it comes to character relationships. I’m pretty happy to just go along with what the author decides is the way to go most of the time, but with this series in particular, I am very firmly rooting for Lucian and Haven. I simply find Lucian to be the more compelling, interesting character. Haven is very “good”; she’s a tad too all-powerful, a tad too intelligent. Because Lance is very similar to her, their relationship is … kind of boring. It also didn’t help that Lance and Haven get caught up in a very strange love square. Lance’s actions during this time don’t exactly endear him to the reader, and even when it’s “explained” I still found him to be a bit of a jerk. Lucian is at least honest with her and doesn’t keep playing with her emotions. He is what he is, you know? Lucian just helps to bring a spark to the pages, and gives Haven a different sort of vibe and light, if you will. I simply find myself much more invested in their interactions and actively rooting for them to get together. I’m sure that, in the end, I’m going to be disappointed with the outcome, but I’m still hoping for many more Lucian/Haven moments in the third book.
I also adored Dante in this book. Talk about someone who has undergone some serious character growth! I love that he’s a major player now, and the fact that he gets his moments to shine. I just love the fact that he’s an openly gay character, and not only has his own unique abilities and powers, but also a very cute relationship that gets developed in this book. You don’t always see gay angels, so, for me, that’s an added perk to this series. I’m looking forward to more Max/Dante moments, and can’t wait to see how his abilities might change and grow in the next book.
Infatuate is a very solid second book. There’s enough development not only in the characters but the plot to keep readers engaged and looking forward to the end of the series. It does have a semi-cliffhanger at the end, but it felt like a natural progression to me, particularly since the word “sacrifice” kept getting thrown around throughout the book. My one complaint is that the Krewe in this book was fairly one-dimensional; you didn’t get to see what made them want to become what they are like you did with the “bad” guys in the first book, and some of their antics became repetitive by the end. But there was still a good tension in this book which was sometimes missing from the first installment, and kept me eagerly turning pages. I’m definitely looking forward to what comes next!
An e-galley was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.