Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Angel Burn review

Angel Burn
May 2011

In this paranormal YA romance, angels are an evil invading force. Their most devastating power is their ability to suck the life force from humans, mesmerizing them all the while, and making them feel enraptured. Disastrously for the human race, this means that those with the most up-close and personal experience of angels are actually the least likely to sound the alarm bells. Despite the cancer and debilitating illnesses that most humans seem to contract from contact with the angels, they remain obsessively devoted, building huge cathedrals dedicated to the new "Church of the Angels"

16 year-old Willow, who struggles with unwanted psychic powers, does a reading for her friend Beth who is thinking of joining the cult and Willow immediately guesses the angels' evil intent. In the meantime, 17 year-old Alex has been living a life on the run, working with an elite group of Angel Killers since he was a young boy. When he's told to assassinate Willow, he's very suspicious, as she has an angel aura, yet clearly is a human girl. With his orders from headquarters growing more erratic all the time, he essentially kidnaps her for a cross-country road trip back to his original base camp to see if he can straighten things out. Along the way, naturally, they begin to develop feelings for each other, despite the fact that Willow is half-angel.

I really enjoyed this book. It's action-packed and the angel mythology is well-thought out. The leader of the angels' invading force, Raziel, is deliciously evil and it's fun to read the scenes where his human secretary, Jonah, slowly starts to put the pieces together from the clues his boss carelessly reveals. The romance between Alex and Willow develops slowly and is very sweet.

The one thing that bothered me about the book was the jarring switches between first-person narration (from Willow's point of view) and third-person narration. On the one hand, I loved the immediacy of hearing Willow's thoughts, especially as she tried to work out her feelings for Alex. If the whole book had been in first-person we would have missed the portions where Alex likes her, but she doesn't know it yet, and of course, I loved all the parts with hapless Jonah. Alex's gruff old mentor, Cully, was also a lot of fun, especially when some shocking twists towards the end of the book are revealed. Overall, switching tenses back and forth gave the writing a very uneven, choppy feel though. I wish the book had been revised so that all of Willow's parts were in third-person. I was concerned at first by the title change and cover change from the British original, but Angel Burn is a more distinctive title than simply, Angel and the new cover design really grew on me.

This is the first in a trilogy, and hopefully the rest of the series will be as thrilling as the first one was.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.


  1. I love this book - it's definitely one of my favourite Angel books. I think most people now prefer the US cover, but I'm still rather fond of the original UK cover. :)

  2. There are so many angel books that I haven't cared for. But this one really brings something unique to the field. I did like the UK cover a lot, including the tagline, "The only good angel is a dead angel" but I can see why they changed it. We have a whole shameful cultural history here in the U.S. of "The only good Indian is a dead Indian" and that absolutely would rub so many people the wrong way.

    Angel Burn is a better title, too, I think, because it's more unique, and it plays into the titles of the subsequent novels, Angel Fire, Angel Fever, and so on.

  3. Nice! I love action-packed books. The narration switches sound irritating. Hopefully that'll be smoothed out in the sequels. I much prefer the US cover and title.

  4. Yeah, at first I thought it might be kind of neat if the book had alternated chapters between Alex and Willow, since initially it switches from Willow-first and Alex-third, but later, there's all those great scenes with Raziel, so that wouldn't quite work either.
    I was surprised that her editor didn't make her go back and rewrite the Willow scenes, but I wondered if the author was kind of playing with the idea that Willow has this angelic force that's part of her/but not part of her.

    The book definitely felt promising though. I'm willing to read more in the series to see how I'll like them.

  5. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and commenting! I'm a new follower :). This is a great review, this one's on my TBR list but now I'm a little hesitant because writing in the 3rd person (and switching styles) drives me crazy! ~ Jen @ A Book and a Latte

  6. Once I got used to it, it was okay, but it sure was head-turning at first.



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