Angel by L A Weatherly

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Angel by L A Weatherly

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Category: Teens
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Linda Lawlor
Reviewed by Linda Lawlor
Summary: A breathtaking helter-skelter of a story. Two young people learn to trust and love each other as they battle predatory angels.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 512 Date: October 2010
Publisher: Usborne Publishing Ltd
ISBN: 978-1409521969

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If you loved the Twilight series, you will also love Angel, the first book in a new paranormal trilogy. However, even if you are among those who didn't see the attraction of Ms Meyer's books, there's a very good chance you will enjoy this: L A Weatherly is a gifted writer, and her take on paranormal romance is expertly crafted, full of exciting plot twists and well-rounded characters.

Their world is dying, but angels have discovered that they can survive by consuming human energy. A group is sent ahead to prepare the way for a massive invasion of angels, all hungry to feed. These angels may appear as beautiful creatures, bringing light and joy to their followers, but the reality is quite different: as they feed they literally exhaust humans, who are then prone to serious disease and death.

A small group of assassins, controlled by the CIA, has been working to rid the world of these invaders, and as the book opens one young man, Alex, is instructed to kill a particular angel who is apparently masquerading as a schoolgirl. But he quickly discovers Willow is something different: quite unknown to herself, she is part-angel, part-human. This is unheard of, and at first Alex is repulsed by her: he has lost all his family and many of his friends to the angels, and his instinct is to destroy her as he has been told. He soon suspects, however, that she is not a threat to humanity, but the means to vanquish the angels once and for all, and there follows a terrifying epic chase across America as both human and angelic members of the Church of Angels try to kill the two teenagers.

L A Weatherly uses an intriguing device to present her story: Alex's point of view is told in the third person, but Willow gives her account in her own words. In this way we are able to experience at first hand the girl's fear and bewilderment, her grief at having to abandon her sick mother and her shame as she learns that there is another being within her. At first she believes her angel half is evil, like all the other angels, but slowly, painfully, she and Alex come to accept who and what she is, and her role in the struggle to save humanity.

Angel is a romance: right from the start the attraction between lonely, isolated Alex and misfit Willow is clear, but their flight from the Church of Angels is fraught with misunderstanding and mistrust. Both young people are strongly individual, confused by their growing feelings, and stunned when their initial hatred turns to love. The journey from one haven to another is a symbol of the journey each one of them travels in their hearts until they are able to share an idyllic few days of peace and simple, innocent love high up in the mountains before the drama and heartbreak of the final battle. Indeed, the gentle, almost Eden-like quality of this part of the book only serves to make the high-octane, breathless action which follows all the more dramatic.

Alex is not some brooding, dark and troubled soul: he may have led an unusual life, training in the desert from early childhood to be a killer, but he is kind and fun-loving when the opportunity presents itself, and he enjoyed the usual rough and tumble of family life when his brother was alive. Still, being an angel killer means he now has to travel and live alone, and he knows nothing of the normal pattern of an American teenager's life. Willow finds herself, to her astonishment, explaining school, homework and proms. But she is no stereotype either: not only has her angel half given her psychic powers, but her quirky taste in clothes and her ability to repair cars also set her apart.

There is a fascinating pattern of dichotomies throughout this book. Willow is a psychic, but also a gifted mechanic. She has led a reasonably traditional life, while Alex has had only spasmodic schooling, using an old catalogue as a teaching aid. She lives in a family of women, never having known her father; he lost his mother early and spent his youth with his brother and father. The dichotomy extends to the inner life of these two young people, too: they reel from hate to love, from fear to joy, from willing self-sacrifice to the refusal to allow another to die, even to save the world. And finally, it extends even further, to the other characters in the book: hardly anyone is who they first seem, and the plot twists and turns in Byzantine knots as it heads for its surprising and truly terrifying climax.

You will find yourself reading faster and faster as you approach the end of this thrilling book, holding your breath as you race to find out what happens. It is the first book in a trilogy, so the war against the angels cannot be over, but Ms Weatherly does not disappoint by leaving the reader with a cliffhanger. This particular battle comes to a satisfying conclusion, and leaves the way open for all manner of developments in future books.

Many thanks to the publishers Usborne for sending this excellent book to Bookbag. We look forward impatiently to the second and third instalments.

Further reading suggestion: Bookbag also highly recommends the Wicked paranormal romance series (Witch, Curse, Legacy, Spellbound and Resurrection) by Nancy Holden and Debbie Viguie. And of course, there may be one or two people out there who haven't at least tried Stephenie Meyer's Twilight . . .

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Bookinterviews.jpg L A Weatherly was kind enough to be interviewed by Bookbag.


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