Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Evermore Meets The Mortal Instruments - and Not in a Good Way - In New Angel Novel

(Image from Indiebound)

Q. What speeds across the Earth at inhuman speeds, hears the thoughts of others and craves the taste of blood?

A. Not what you're thinking of.

Sixteen-year-old Ellie Faneuil has always been different from her classmates. Spending her summers working in impoverished countries with her Save-the-Earth obsessed parents has given her a wider world view, one that makes all the petty dramas of high school seem ridiculous. If she could just skip the whole scene and step right into college, she would. Unfortunately, she's stuck in Tillinghast, Maine, with uber-popular Piper Faires and the rest of her snotty crowd. To make matters worse, Ellie has the uncanny ability to see what people are thinking, just by touching them. She doesn't want to read her best friend's mind, let alone wander inside the heads of girls like Piper. The best she can do is stay clear of the Queen Bees and never, ever touch anyone.

When Ellie catches the eye of Michael Chase, the hot new guy at school, she feels an instant connection. Not only does he seek her out, ignoring gorgeous Piper and her friends, but he actually seems to care what she thinks. No doubt about it: Michael's different than the other boys. When Ellie finds out just how different he is, though, she's terrified. No human can do the things Michael can, so what is he, exactly? For that matter, what is she? Michael seems to have at least some of the answers, but his careless disregard for his "gifts" makes her wonder if she can trust him with her darkest secret.

As Ellie questions everything she's ever known to be true, she learns startling facts about herself, her family, and the boy that's suddenly consuming her every thought. Although the details are foggy, Ellie knows both she and Michael have important roles to play in the ultimate battle of good v. evil. The question is, what side are they on? Who's right in this ancient war of wills? Can Ellie figure out her place in the whole mess before it's too late? Or will the Angel of Destruction obliterate everything she knows and loves?

Fallen Angel by Heather Terrell (available December 28, 2010) is another one of those YA paranormals that offers an interesting premise, but fails to deliver. Big time. The problem here isn't the idea - which, although similar to Evermore by Alyson Noel with echoes of Cassandra Clare's The Mortal Instruments series, is unique enough to be compelling - it's the writing. All of the characters are flat as pancakes, starved of personality, individuality and charm. Since neither Ellie nor Michael are rounded enough to feel real, it's no surprise that the passion they supposedly feel for each other falls totally flat. Their dialogue is stilted, the love scenes cheesy, and the romance never gets the chance to build, it just suddenly is. Plotwise, the story meanders all over the place. It's so contrived in spots that Ellie's ability to fly becomes one of the only plot elements that feels real.

On the upside, the book is pretty clean. Well, it's clean in the way Twilight is clean, which is to say there are a number of make out scenes, but they're not graphic. There's also no profanity, no real sexual innuendo (besides the making out, of course), and only vague references to things like underrage drinking. This, coupled with some serious editing, probably would have equaled a decent book. If only.

(Readalikes: Reminded me a lot of Alyson Noel's Evermore, a little of The Hourglass Door by Lisa Mangum and a teensy bit of Cassandra Clare's The Mortal Instruments series.)

Grade: D

If this were a movie, it would be rated: PG-13 because of makeout scenes, although they aren't graphic

To the FTC, with love: I received an ARC of Fallen Angel from the generous folks at HarperTeen. Thank you!

2 comments:

  1. Too bad the characters fell flat in this book...characterisation is the most important aspect of a book for me! Isn't this going to be a series?

    btw Love your post titles! It's really unique ;D

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  2. I definitely prefer interesting, well-developed characters over plot or anything else, which is probably why this book drove me nuts :)

    Yes, it is going to be a series. Hopefully, Terrell will use the next books to develop the characters and the idea behind it. 'Course, I'm not going to be wasting my time with any more of her books, but I hope Terrell finds ways to develop and improve the series.

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