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Fantasy Friday (2)

Title: Angel Burn
Author: L.A. Weatherly
Published By: Candlewick, May 2011
Genre: Young Adult/Urban Fantasy

Summary: Two exceptionally different teenagers simultaneously discover their talents and fall in love as they fight to save the world from strange angel invaders. Alex is dark, Willow is light, but each seems to hold the key to balance the light and dark within each other.
I don’t like to waste too much time on summaries, they are easy enough to find on goodreads or amazon or the author’s website, so you can read it for yourself.

My Review:
Structurally and creatively, this is a very well crafted and constructed novel.
Structurally speaking, we have a story written consicely, with no extraneous information of over description, composed of small chapters that help the reading clip along. We have characters that are well developed and grow and change from beginning of the novel. It contains the Aristitlean unities of build up, rising action, climax and denoument.

I know some people had problems with the idea of angels as evil. I thought it was a pretty clever take on on the alien invasion theme. Its possible in the realm of fiction that a world exists parallel to ours in which these beings live. It’s also believable to think you’d need training in charkas and energy sensing, grounding and centering yourself in order to see or communicate with these beings. Surprisingly, the writing doesn’t get tripped up over itself or convoluted as far as energies, vibrations and charkas are concerned.

The only “problem” I really had is something that will probably be resolved in future books (I didn’t know this was going to be a trilogy until I looked it up AFTER I read it and AFTER my review). It’s a problem that’s sort of hidden in plain sight, and it’s the fact that Willow is half-angel. For one, you never get a concrete idea of how many angels actually exist in the world, but it’s a pretty decent number. So why do the angels believe its so inconceivable that a half angel can exist. They themselves admit they’re not totally sure about the human-angel breeding process: it’s not something that happens very often, but they don’t rule out the possibility either. It’s just that they keep referring to her as an abomination, and that’s its totally impossible and well, clearly it ISN’T impossible if she exists. The second part of that is I find it hard to believe that Willow is the only one of her kind. But like I said, the way the author sets everything up in the novel, I’m sure this will be explored in later novels, so its not a really big deal.

The other minor issue I had were the characters of Sophie and Nate. They felt rushed and somewhat one dimensional for not being introduced to us sooner and developed through the story. I couldn’t find myself to care too much about Nate’s self sacrifice to save Willow. Sophie was merely a functional device to get Willow where she needed to be.

I read some other reviews and saw some reader’s dismay at the thought of angels being malevolent (it’s fiction, ladies and gents!) what I got out of the novel was more of a commentary about the ways religion is perceived in society. Many people succumb to a religion or religious fad--like when angels were really popular in the early 90’s. many of these people will rush to this fad, or a particlar charismatic leader (such as Raziel in the book) without any aforethought or research, blindly following a dogma with no critical thinking or rational thought. Its like people in the book assume that these beings from another world show up, pretending to be benefactors and saviors, while literally draining the populace dry.
Hmm, where have we seen THAT in history before?
Maybe people in positions of power aren’t exactly who they say they are. Maybe people in positions of power don’t exactly have our best interests at heart. Maybe its not a good idea to trust that some wonderful selfless being will literally swoop out of the sky and make everything all better.
Sometimes, they might just make it worse. 


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