Dark Rising, by Monica McGurk is the second installment in the Archangel Prophecies trilogy.
I finished it over two weeks ago and this is the first moment I am “putting pen to paper” to write the review. There is significance in that. Typically, I have strong feelings one way or another and I just have to get it out. I have to get the review done so I can move on to the next book. Here, I couldn’t even start another book I am so conflicted. I didn’t want another story to muddy the waters that are my thoughts on this book – or at least not muddy them any more than they already are.
Even as I write this, I find myself (already) pausing at my keyboard trying to decide what to say next. Or at this very moment, really, what to say first. The angel story – has potential a-plenty. The characters are developing nicely, for the most part. There’s still too much of the YA bull *$%@ that for some reasons authors think creates great tension or relationship building when all it really does is annoy the reader. There were some great plot twists. But there were some great big grand canyon size plot holes too. There was some really great story telling and yet there was still a fair bit of trouble within the narration when it comes to switching the verb tense used to tell the story. There was much less focus on the human trafficking element and it pains me to say (because I know the author is super passionate about that) that I found that a positive with this installment. There was a slight imbalance in the amount of description given to things – some of the more well done scene building, in terms of imagery, seems to be throw-away (or red herring or maybe set up for the final installment, but too soon to tell that. And because the first book suffered from this a little too, and I didn’t see any pay off, I have to assume that it is just not well enough balanced story telling) while others could have used more of what was well done. Because if that imagery found the right balance, then this would go from a solid 3 stars (note: I am using the descriptors for the goodreads star convention for this statement; if I were using the amazon I would say solid 4 with a potential solid 5) to at least a solid 4 in my opinion. The overall story arc, which seemed to conclude in this installment was interesting and I loved that it was dragged out. The action was paced well and a few of the twists I didn’t see coming – now, part of that is because there were what seemed to be humongous plot holes associated with, or rather that facilitated, the twists. But, none of these issues were insurmountable as I still found the book enjoyable.
The main story here is that Hope and Michael are on their way to prevent the fallen angels from getting the key and opening the gates of heaven. They are traveling around Europe and Asia to find it. And, in the end, the prophecy is dealt with.
One of the elements that was particularly well done is hard for me to talk about in just the review – as it would create a huge spoiler. While spoilers are totally ok in my book on the page for a book I try not to let too big a spoiler out in the review. So… how to say this… often authors create super complicated and contrived sections of the plot so as to avoid a tragedy which impacts to permanently a main protagonist. Here, it seems that the author embraced letting some things happen to each of Hope and Michael and I question the ability to have the happily-ever-after that most YA books see as the absolute requirement for this type of story. At least as it stands at the end of this book. I know there is still a third installment to follow, but the preview that I got at the end of the second leaves me wondering and very curious. So, that’s super good because it means that I am very motivated to read the third – so I can see how it all ends!
I just hope that a couple of books written means that the author is learning a little of the balancing so that the potential for this series can be fully realized. The first two books are good but I really hope the third time we seem Hope will be great!