Book review: Angel’s Fury by Bryony Pearce

I’ve started to have dreams while I’m awake. I remember music I’ve never heard … I’ve got all this extra stuff in my head, but I’m forgetting things from my own life. I feel like I’m being taken over.

Cassie Farrier has always suffered from terrifying nightmares. On a trip to Germany she recognises scenes from her dreams and finds evidence of a sixty year-old massacre. Fearing for her sanity, her family sends Cassie to a retreat where she meets others with symptoms like her own and finds out that she has lived a number of past lives.

However, the Doctor at the retreat is not what she seems. Cassie and the boy she comes to love must escape the Doctor’s influence but can they also escape the misery of their shared past?

I hadn’t heard a lot about Bryony Pearce’s debut novel, Angel’s Fury, when it landed on my doorstep but after reading the synopsis and press release my first impression was ‘wow! This sounds so good!’ It seemed to offer so much packed into one book, I couldn’t wait to get started. And it does have very many elements, blending paranormal, historical and psychological thriller so that even after reading I can’t put it any one category.

Angel’s Fury is certainly unique and combines a plot and topics I’ve never come across before. I’m fascinated by reincarnation and really enjoyed Bryony Pearce’s spin on the subject. Cassie’s dreams are interwoven into the plot, also with a first person perspective, distinguishable by italic text. These were my favourite aspects of the book, containing vivid imagery which at times is upsetting but always beautifully written and emotional. The book has quite a few surprise twists and I particularly liked the biblical references and angel mytholgy.

However, despite the brilliant premise and the very well written historical accounts, Angel’s Fury just didn’t quite hit the mark for me. I think the book lacked a tenseness, which in turn affected the plausibility of the story. I didn’t find the villain sinister enough, and struggled to really believe in parts of the plot. I expected to be gripped with this book, but sadly I just wasn’t. While I liked the character of Cassie herself (she’s a free thinker from the off, brave and a little bit kick ass to boot) I thought several of the other characters also fell a little bit flat and their fascinating backgrounds should have been expanded on more. I also had a huge problem with Cassie’s feckless parents, who might just be the silliest pair I’ve come across for a long time. I really didn’t understand some of their actions.

Angel’s Fury isn’t a terrible book. I enjoyed parts of it very much indeed and loved the overall idea behind it. I thought the historical sections were especially well crafted, the biblical angel story clever and interesting and the way Cassie’s present and past life dreams blended in and out of the story was seamless. It just didn’t blow me away as much as I hoped and it all boils down to that lack of tension that moves a book from a good read to unputdownable.

Published by Egmont UK July 2011
Thanks to the publishers for providing a copy for review.