Well, my first galley and my first review of one – both done with! I am pleased to say that I really enjoyed Angel Burn by LA Weatherly. For those who don’t want to be spoiled by the details on the page, my review is below. I suggest when it gets published, if you like Fallen or Hush, Hush, you grab a copy of this one!
I love it when an author takes something that is considered normal, conventional, and turns it all around on the reader. Here, we are given a world where angels are real, but they aren’t good for us. In fact, they cause disease, mental illness, and death. The angels feed off of people by draining their energy while at the same time the angel deceives the human into believing that it’s a wonderful experience. People who have been touched by an angel think it’s a miracle and they are blessed. But, we learn early on from Alex that any time an angel comes into humans life and feeds on them from there to humans life will never be the same.
The story follows, Alex, an angel killer, and Willow, a half-human/half-angel, as they travel across the country to try figure out what to do. The CIA, who Alex worked for, has been infiltrated and he doesn’t know who he can turn to. The pair, who start off hating each other, spend time together and get to know each other, and of course, fall in love. Just in time for Willow to have to decide to sacrifice her to stop more angels from coming to our world.
There were a number of really wonderful things about this book. Finally! We have a young adult book where we get the development of the relationship between the young girl and young man. It is typical in this genre to get a very brief picture of the two and then all of a sudden they are in love. And so often, it’s superficially based on “he’s so gorgeous” or “she’s so beautiful” but there is no real depth to the relationship, despite the undying love for each other. That was not the case here. And it was so refreshing.
Aiding in that, I believe, is the fact that we get multiple narrators, but only one of them is in the first person. It is also much easier to keep track of what was going on and who is telling what at any particular moment because of the way the narration alternates between Willow’s first person perspective and an omnipotent third-person narrator.
The story was engaging. We knew that Alex was after Willow from the start and we knew there was more to Willow then first meets the eye. There was action throughout – car chases, gun fights, angles chasing them across the desert and more. The presence of the crazy Church of the Angels people was a way to point out how fanatical people can be, especially when they are mistaken, but firmly believe in something, no matter how wrong that belief it.
It was also both interesting and a relief to see at that a story which was very much about angels had very little in the way of religious undertones. It was about faith, but didn’t matter or address, whether or not the reader believes in God. The true religion was left out of the story. It made for a much more enjoyable read.
One of my pet peeves is when an author doesn’t spend much time on character development. I personally, prefer character driven books (versus plot drive books) and here we saw some wonderful character development. It was as if the author really wanted to make sure we could feel for the characters, and route for Alex and Willow. The author made sure that the reader learned about each of the characters as as they told each other their stories about themselves and they got to know one another. You could almost see the relationship being built. It left me feeling very attached to the two characters I feel invested in knowing what happens next. The author paints nice robust characters and wonderful settings.
I also appreciate the we learned part of why the angels are invading without having to wait for the next book before learning anything. I’m sure there are details that’ll come out in the next book but I was very glad to feel like I had a full story in front of me between the two covers – without being left guessing while waiting for one of the next installments.
The authors ability to provide me with the detail I need to create the movie scene in my head is so important. Here. we had just as many details as I needed to do this, without being overwhelmed by extraneous and unimportant descriptions just for the sake of descriptions (newer authors tend to have this problem in spades). Sometimes it was what the characters were wearing, sometimes it was how they felt, and sometimes it was the setting they were in – but they were all in perfect balance so that I could se the mini-movie in my mind (which to me is the mark of a wonderful book!). It also helped build the relationship between the characters and left me feeling connected to them, as well as feeling the connection between them. Too often in this genre that connection is missing.
The only thing a little disappointing was the fairly obvious and not-so-shocking relationship to Raziel (from Willow’s perspective). It was fairly obvious from the beginning that there was going to be some connection. It also felt like it was fairly easy to see Cully’s betrayal a mile away too. However, I was surprised to look at a page count and see that I still had about 90 pages left when we get to the church to try and prevent the second wave. As a result, I knew that things were not going to go according to plan with Willow and her stopping the second wave. I knew things were not going to get tied up in a nice little neat little bow since there are two more books to come.
I think this is definitely a four-star book. I am excited for the next installment. Twilight fans, fans of the Lauren Kate Fallen series and others of that ilk will definitely enjoy this wonderful story.