Thursday, 8 October 2015

Angel by L. A. Weatherly **Review**


Angel
Series: Angel #1
Pages: 512
Publisher: Usborne
Release date: 1st October 2010
Buy: Book Depository | Amazon UK | Amazon US | Waterstones

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Goodreads synopsis:
Angels are all around us: beautiful, awe-inspiring, irresistible.

Ordinary mortals yearn to catch a glimpse of one of these stunning beings and thousands flock to The Church of Angels to feel their healing touch.
But what if their potent magnetism isn't what it seems?
Willow knows she's different from other girls. And not just because she loves tinkering around with cars.
Willow has a gift. She can look into people's futures, know their dreams, their hopes and their regrets, just by touching them. But she has no idea where she gets this power from.

Until she meets Alex…
Alex is one of the few who know the truth about angels. He knows Willow's secret and is on a mission to stop her.
The dark forces within Willow make her dangerous – and irresistible.
In spite of himself, Alex finds he is falling in love with his sworn enemy.


Angel is a pretty hefty book, weighing in at an impressive 512 pages, but the first thing I noticed was that it didn’t feel like a 500 page book. It felt more modestly-sized. I sped through it. I suppose what probably helped with the illusion was the face that I read it as an eBook, where the size of the novel can be judged only by the small percentage at the bottom of the screen. But I didn’t pay too much attention to this for most of the book.

I think my favourite thing about this book is the idea that angels are not divine, holy beings, but rather the villains in the story. This is something that I don’t think has been considered in YA before (it’s certainly nothing I have come across, though feel free to point me in the direction of others if there are any), and I found it really interesting to learn about these angels and how their world works.

L. A. Weatherly said in an interview with me the other week that Raziel is one of her favourite characters because he was so much fun to write, and I can totally see that, having now finished the book. The chapters switch between several different points of view, and Raziel’s is one of them. He is one of the angels leading the ‘invasion’ – the angels’ move from their own dying world to that of the humans, who they now feed from like aura vampires.
I have a feeling that his character has an even greater role going into the second book in the trilogy.

The main characters, Alex and Willow, were mostly good. Alex has a past totally unlike anything we could really imagine, having been trained as an Angel Killer from a very young age, and having seen things that most people won’t witness in an entire lifetime. He’s independent and strong, and despite everything, kind. He did have moments where he really irritated me though, because he often acted in a way that was so totally out of sync with his thoughts, and that didn’t really strike true with me. I mean, there’s being proud and stubborn, and then there’s that. I’m just not sure if he really would have acted in the ways he did sometimes.

It was Willow that was the most interesting character, though. I really loved her at the beginning of the novel, fixing up her friend’s car in the school parking lot. I love a good character who defies gender stereotypes, and a girl who is into her cars, and specifically fixing them, is just that!
She also comes across as very empathetic and gentle – in fact, much more typically angelic than the angels themselves. I enjoyed watching her adapt to her ‘new self’ as the novel progressed.

Saying all of this though, there were bits of the book that disappointed, or even bored me. It feels like a shame to say this, though. I found myself getting bored at around the 70% mark. I don’t know whether the story had just dragged on a little too long before the climax, but there were a few sections that felt a little pointless. I won’t give any specifics because I don’t want to give too much away for those who haven’t read the books, but there is a definite lull here, and lack of pace.
I also got quite irritated by how Alex and Willow were acting around each other.

WARNING: THIS GETS A LITTLE SPOILERY!!

I can’t really mention this without mini spoilers. I guess it’s no surprise that Alex and Willow fall for each other … the signs are there from the very beginning. I usually love a good romance in my books, especially when the romance is not the main focus, but Alex and Willow irritated me simply because of the clich├ęs that surrounded their entire relationship. And the amount they said ‘I love you’ or some variation of … maybe I’m sceptical, but no one says it THAT much. They also seemed to fall in love with each other far too quickly … it’s not quite instalove, but let’s face it, it’s quite close. Even before they ‘get together’ they are thinking about their love for the other. And then there is the constant description of kisses and not wanting to look away from each other. It was a little eye-rolley. Maybe I need to search for my inner romantic a little harder … but it just seemed excessive to me, and the story would have moved forward a lot quicker and better if these parts had been cut.

OKAY. YOU’RE SPOILER SAFE ONCE MORE.

So I guess Angel was a bit of a mixed bag for me; on one hand I really enjoyed the different take on angels, and I (mostly) liked the characters, but on the other, I felt that a fair bit could have been cut from the book without doing it any harm. The pace could have been picked up again much sooner.
However, the climax was exciting, my heart was pounding, and on the whole, I enjoyed the book.

I struggled on whether to give Angel 3 or 4 stars, but I think, based on how much I felt I had to skim at around the 70% mark, I’m going to have to go with a 3. I’m hoping that the second book will be a little more story focussed, rather than being full of gooey-eyed descriptions of other characters.

Angel was a fun, quick read that has some pretty unique ideas. This is a good start to the trilogy, and I’m hopeful that the story continues to develop well in the next book.

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