Author: L.A. Weatherly
Release date: UK 1st October 2010
Genre: Paranormal Romance / Angel Fiction
Target audience: 12+
UK Publisher: Usborne
Summary from Amazon:
Willow knows she s different from other girls. And not just because she loves tinkering around with cars. Willow has a gift. She can look into peoples futures, know their dreams, their hopes and their regrets, just by touching them. She has no idea where she gets this power from... But Alex does. Gorgeous, mysterious Alex knows Willows secret and is on a mission to stop her. The dark forces within Willow make her dangerous and irresistible. In spite of himself, Alex finds he is falling in love with his sworn enemy.
Angel is an epic novel which takes the concept of angels and subverts our view of them. The angelic beings of L.A. Weatherly's novel take an almost sci-fi representation as they come to Earth from an alternate universe.
Angel is the story of Willow. A girl who has a psychic connection with the world around her. She can read people just by touching them and see the many possible paths that their lives might take. Willow lives in the town of Pawntucket. Her life hasn't been an easy one. Her mother has a mental illness and Willow often feels alone in the world. I loved that Willow embraced her identity as "different" and "eccentric". She doesn't try to fit in to the teenage trends of high school but is just herself however embarrassing that may be to her friend Nina.
The other main character in this story is Alex. A seventeen year old boy who has lived a man's life, who has never been to school or had a childhood. He is an angel assassin and upholds his duty to rid the world of the mysterious and sinister beings who have come to Earth. Alex has a raw anger and prejudice towards the angels. They ripped the people he loved from him. He also carried a burden of guilt about his brother's death which marks him out as a tortured character.
The plot of Angel was immensely complex in terms of paranormal romances. I could see how reading this novel the complexity of the plot will easily sustain the three books in the series. The sci-fi representation of the angels as alien beings feeding off the souls of humans was intriguing. At the beginning of the novel I felt that they were more vampire than angel really, laregly because of their constant hunger and desire to feed. As the novel continued, I began to see nuances in the angels' characterisation. The choice of prey, the fact that the humans are so grateful to be visited by an angel, it all makes for compelling reading.
Another aspect which I thought was really powerful in this novel was the idea of the Church of Angels. L.A. Weatherly creates a cult based upon the humans' fanatism about the angels and their visitations. This seemed to me to be topical and had me fascinated.
The dialogue and connection between Willow and Alex was believable and entertaining. This is a relationship that develops over the whole course of the novel rather than a love at first sight scenario. As the reader, you care about them and hope that they can get past their prejudices.
Overall, I have to say this book struck me as very "Hollywood" and I mean as a huge compliment. It had a sweeping romance, car chase scenes, a good versus evil battle and a helicopter entrance. In my mind it was more Star Wars than Twilight and that can only be a good thing. Angel is genre subversion at its best!
Thank you to Usborne Books for sending me the review copy.