Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a total angel girl. If there’s a book involving any sort of angel, I have to read it. And with the influx of angel books coming out recently, I never thought I would say this but I was becoming a little fatigued with the subject matter which is why I approached ANGEL by Lee Weatherly with some trepidation. However, as I discovered this is no ordinary angel book and the story blew me away with its fierce originality, compelling plot line and strong characterisation.
ANGEL tells the story of Willow, a teenage girl who has an extraordinary ability as a psychic. She’s able to see the future and gets mixed up in trying to help a school friend who doesn’t see that she is in trouble. Angel sightings are on the increase and those who have experienced an encounter first hand become mesmerised by their presence. Most join the Church of Angels to relive their experiences and spend as much time as possible in the presence of angels. Unbeknownst to her, Willow is half-angel, half-human and as such represents a threat to the Church of Angels and their future plans. Alex, an A.K. or Angel Killer is hired to kill her but ends up being inexplicably drawn to her instead and has a feeling she is important enough to protect. So against all his beliefs, he stays by her side and vows to protect her. Cue a massive road trip as they’re on the run from the real threat – the angels and those who follow them. Is Willow the one to stop their evil plans?
When I first started reading ANGEL, I remember thinking that what I was reading was angel blasphemy. That I couldn’t possibly continue reading a book that portrayed angels as nothing more than parasites that feed off unsuspecting prey. But, I soon got past this as I gave myself a pep talk and told myself to approach the story with an open mind. It’s only fiction after all. And I’m glad I did as ANGEL is one of the most original paranormal stories I’ve read and I love the fact that the mythology surrounding angels is flipped on its head.
What I loved about ANGEL is that it seemed to be both plot and character driven and I need both for a story to truly satisfy me. The characters were complex and most of them were waging their own private wars with themselves, never mind with each other. I have to say that Alex makes for a very convincing hero and boy did I fall head over heels for him. He’s smart, tough and a survivor hell bent on protecting Willow at all costs *swoon*. I particularly like the suggestion Lee has for the look of Alex and I must say that actor Sean Faris is PERFECT for the role. It wasn’t difficult to constantly picture Sean in my mind as Alex as I was reading.
It hurts my eyes to look at that picture, seriously! And I had NO IDEA that he had been in a couple of Vampire Diaries episodes! Alas, I digress, Alex is of course an A.K. or Angel Killer. He’s been killing angels his entire life and isn’t about to stop now. In fact, it’s more important than ever that more of his kind exist. He may sound like a one dimensional character but he does come with a back story involving the untimely death of his brother. Add to the fact that he is now falling for the very thing he detests most – an angel. Even if Willow is only half-angel.
I think Willow has to be the most interesting character in this story. She’s just a seemingly ordinary teenage girl who just so happens to have an extraordinary ability. And pretty early on in the book we learn that against the odds, she is in fact half-angel, half-human. What a cool predicament from the outset! Until of course you realise the devastating consequences of what that actually means in the world of ANGEL.
What I loved the most about the relationship between Alex and Willow is that it is a slow burner. None of this falling in love in the first few pages. It took time to build their relationship into something meaningful and it’s realistic as they only had each other to rely on. In the end I was WILLING them to get together, just to end the agony.
I think the only criticism I have with ANGEL is with the dialogue. There were a lot of um’s and er’s which you could argue is realistic to every day speak however it does get a tad annoying when you’re reading it. Also, the chapters constantly switched between 1st person and 3rd person which I found a little weird to begin with. Thankfully, these are only minor nuances though and didn’t detract from the overall enjoyment of the book.
ANGEL read like a movie playing in my head. It could so easily be made into a film and I sincerely hope that someone buys the movie rights. I would *LOVE* to see it on the silver screen. ANGEL was published in the UK in October, 2010. The US rights have been sold and it will be published there next year. You'll be pleased to know that ANGEL is part of a series and the sequel ANGELFIRE will be released in June, 2011. In case you haven’t seen the gorgeous cover for it yet, here it is in all its glory.
I understand that not only will the US copy be a hardback but it will have a new cover treatment too so I’m excited to see what they come up with. I’ll be buying it anyway (hello?! It’s a hardback!!)
I can’t recommend ANGEL highly enough as something fresh and original in a arguably saturated genre. In case you’re wondering how much I enjoyed the book, how is this for an endorsement? I have to date bought five copies of the book to give away to friends. FIVE! And you know I ended up giving a copy to Maggie Stiefvater, when I met her right? She just happened to ask me what I was reading so I started talking about the book and before I knew it, I was handing it over to her. I then spent about a week (OK it may have been a few days but it FELT like a week) desperately searching for another copy as I was halfway through the story and NEEDED to know what happened!
You can find out more about Lee and her books by visiting her website here. ANGEL also has its own facebook page and website which you can access by clicking here. Lee is active on Twitter.