L A Weatherly’s first novel for young adults burst onto my radar many months before it’s release. In fact it was a little difficult to miss if you spend anytime at all amongst the YA bookish people on twitter. With excitement building on a daily basis and some hugely confident claims in the blurb, it ran the risk of suffering at the hands of it’s own hype. In this case though the hype was more than justified. Angel is a stunner!
Willow has never felt she fitted in. Classed as weirdo by her schoolmates due to her psychic abilities and a love of tinkering with engines, she’s a loner. Life has been tough so far; she’s lived with her resentful aunt from a young age along with her mentally ill and catatonic mother. When she’s asked by popular and beautiful Beth to give her a reading, she can’t believe what she’s sees. Angels are real. But Willow can sense that despite what everyone thinks, there’s nothing good about them, instead they are feeding from the very souls of humans. Willow has to know more, and her investigations take her into the very heart of the Angels earthly lair and it’s there she discovers the horrific truth about herself. She’s a half angel.
At the same time, Angel hunter Alex knows something big is about to happen, something that threatens the whole of humanity. As one of the only people who know about the Angels, it’s down to him to stop it. But he wasn’t banking on finding Willow and her terrible secret. The two are forced to flee together and embark on a long and dangerous journey across America. Alex should hate everything about Willow, so why’s he strangely drawn to her? Can the hunter and the hunted come together and defeat the Angels?
So I could sum this book up in one word. Wow! But then that wouldn’t be much of a review would it? But really Wow! If I ever had any doubts about how good this book was going to be they were completely banished by the end of page one. Right from the start I was completely and utterly hooked.
L A Weatherly offers something incredibly new and different to the Young adult market. Evil angels passing themselves off as divine celestial beings bringing kindness and hope to humans when in fact they’re feeding off humans, inflicting mental illness and disease on thousands. I thought the way that the angels appeared as heavenly and divine to the people they were slowly killing was fantastic. I’m always amazed at how easily people will believe what they want to believe instead of seeing what’s actually there with such blind faith, even when it’s at their detriment. However bizarre and unlikely it is that angels do actually walk among us draining our life forces, I thought this was a very convincing plot.
I loved Willow straight away. Not your typical sappy love struck girl found in a lot of YA paranormal romance, she’s cool and tough. She dresses how she wants, she refuses to hide her psychic abilities and she loves fixing cars, even if these things give her a reputation for being weird, even when her best friend tells her she’ll be accepted more if she quit and acted more ‘normal’. A girl who knows her own mind is a girl after my own heart. But Willow is more than just a very cool girl; she’s incredibly compassionate too. She cares tirelessly for her mother, who is diagnosed with catatonic schizophrenia and is locked in her own dream world. She’s worried and frightened for Beth when she realises the danger she’s in and knows she has to do something to help. Willow’s turmoil with herself once she realises what she actually is, is convincingly heart wrenching and touching.
Alex is fantastic too. Dark, brooding and brave with an air of danger – oh how he made my heart flutter. But again, L A Weatherly doesn’t make him a cardboard cut out or typical hero/love interest. He has a fascinating back-story, which is trickled in slowly and gives him a great deal of depth. He’s everything you want in a hero and if you fail to fall for him, then to be quite honest there must be something wrong with you! The chemistry between both characters is electric and tense, starting with distrust and dislike and developing slowly but tantalisingly surely until I was jumping up and down screaming at them to just admit how they feel. I loved this, as all too often we see characters falling into each other’s arms without any really intensity or build up, leaving the reader less than satisfied. But hell, was I satisfied by this romance and when they finally get their act together it’s tear-inducingly beautiful.
Most of the book takes place as a road trip across America. The imagery L A Weatherly conjures is so perfectly vivid I felt as though I was sweeping along with them on their amazing journey. With a mixed first person narrative from Willow and a third person narrative allowing us to see the whole big picture, the pace was fast, action packed, and utterly compelling. At 500 pages long it’s a book of truly epic proportions with Weatherly’s skilled writing carrying you on at a breathless speed. There is nothing at all predictable about Angel, I had no idea where it would take us and as I raced towards the ending I found myself right at the edge of my seat unable to turn the pages quick enough. The finale is staggering, shocking and vivid and leaves the door open beautifully for the next book in the series. Angel is a phenomenally successful start to a new and exciting series and leaves you desperately wanting more. Completely divine!
Published by Usborne October 2010.
Many Thanks to the publishers for sending me a copy for review.