“Eden didn't expect Az.
Not his saunter down the beach toward her. Not his unbelievable pick up line. Not the instant, undeniable connection. And not his wings.
So long happily-ever-after.
Now trapped between life and death, cursed to spread chaos with her every touch, Eden could be the key in the eternal struggle between heaven and hell. All because she gave her heart to one of the Fallen, an angel cast out of heaven.
She may lose everything she ever had. She may be betrayed by those she loves most. But Eden will not be a pawn in anyone else's game. Her heart is her own.
And that's only the beginning of the end.”
I remember devouring A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford when HarperTeen posted multiple preview chapters online many eons ago now. Based on what I read, I bought the book as I was desperate to know what happened next but the publication date was so far away that when the book did eventually arrive on my doorstep, it ended up getting lost in the TBR pile. And dude, when I say pile, what I really mean is a couple of huge bookcases. Anyway, I’ve been craving an angel book recently and so I picked up A Touch Mortal and read from the beginning. Thankfully, it did not disappoint. A Touch Mortal smacks you over the head with its originality and edgy subject matter which I took pleasure in devouring all over again.
I have to say at this point that A Touch Mortal is aimed at older readers as it deals with mature themes and there are touches of hardcore swearing scattered throughout the book. Personally, I don’t like the idea of YA books being virginal/Snow White like when characters don’t swear or have sex or drink alcohol as to me it doesn’t necessarily feel real. I’m not saying that all teenagers do this but some do and so I really enjoyed the harsh language (does that sound weird?) because it made it more realistic. I’m sure I’d drop a few F-bombs too if I found out the guy I’d been seeing was an angel, know what I mean? On that note, I have to say that Eden’s reaction to that was SPOT ON. It was so natural and believable. In fact, the dialogue was REALLY strong in this book and that has to be commended as it makes all the difference.
A Touch Mortal was so different from all the other angel books I’ve read (and I’ve read A LOT). I really enjoyed the fact that it was darker, edgier and deals with suicide which is often perceived as a taboo subject. A story involving suicide is never going to be an easy ride but Leah Clifford makes it all sound quite plausible and interesting in her book as the “Siders” don’t really die as such. With that in mind, let’s talk about the characters. Eden is a troubled soul from the start and carries a lot of pain and loneliness inside her. Then she meets Az who seems to bring her back from the brink, if only for a little while before the inevitability train comes hurtling towards her and she commits suicide. Only, she’s not really dead. Now she’s a “Sider” and whilst their purpose is not really clear, it’s the only reality she’s gonna get so she might as well get with the program. Eden is forced to learn how to use her newfound ability as a Sider called “the touch” and embrace her new reality which includes an eccentric, off the wall woman called Kristen who lives in the creepy house of horrors. She’s got a harsh yet witty tongue, obviously an intelligent lady and I think decadent is the right word to describe her. She has a history with Az, the rough and ready angel that falls in love with Eden and I loved Az for his sheer will not to give up on Eden, to protect her always and fight against “the fall”.
However, my favourite character in this book was somewhat surprisingly Az’s best friend Gabe. I say “surprisingly” because I’m not sure I’ve ever read a book where my favourite character isn’t one of the main characters caught up in a romance although he was sort of caught up in a BROmance with Az ;) Gabe reminded me so much of Elijah from The Vampire Diaries and although he might be a little older than the intended character, that’s who I pictured at the time of reading. Gabe carries the weight of the world on his shoulders, figuratively speaking. He’s sensible, responsible, protective, and fiercely loyal. Throw in the fact that Gabe is part of “the bound” and cannot tell a lie, you know this is going to get interesting.
A Touch Mortal is quite mysterious at times and you often find yourself wondering what the hell is going on but that drives you forward and ultimately makes the book unputdownable. Leah Clifford is a hugely imaginative and talented writer that I will be keeping my eye on in the future and I can’t wait to read the sequel A Touch Morbid which is out now. No waiting for me then, YAY.
A Touch Mortal was published in the US on 22nd February, 2011. There is no UK publisher but you can buy the book from all good online sellers. To find out more about Leah and her books, please click here.