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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Review: Angel in the Shadows (The Angel #1) by Lisa Grace

Angel In The Shadows (The Angel #1)

Title: Angel in the Shadows
Series: The Angel (Book 1)
Author: Lisa Grace
Format: Kindle Edition
Pages: 175 pages
Challenge: Why Buy The Cow? Reading Challenge

My Rating: 1/5

Blurb (taken off Goodreads):

"Fifteen-year-old Megan Laughlin has a gift--or what seems like a curse at times. Megan sees angels and demons.

Megan knows her destiny is to protect her friends against dark angels who try to sway them into situations that can destroy their lives, their souls, and their eternity.

At school, she recognizes Judas, an ├╝ber popular boy, as an evil angel hell-bent on destroying her and everyone she loves. As Judas spreads horrible rumors and overdoses two of her classmates at a rave, Megan realizes the enormity of his power. While classmates die, Megan, with the help of an angel, Johnny, and a team of friends will face the fight of their lives as they battle Judas.

Megan thinks God hasn't given her any "special" powers, but discovers she has what she needs as she confronts Judas and his seemingly unconquerable power."

My Thoughts:

Fifteen year old Megan finds out while working as a counsellor at summer camp that she has been granted powers of light by God to battle the evil of dark angels who seek to lead unsuspecting people astray. She has been attending the same summer camp for many years and the previous summer, had noticed a strange bright light surrounding camp counsellor, Mr. Z (as she knows him). When she remarked on it, she was laughed at and so, she has not mentioned it since. However, this summer she gets Mr. Z aside and asks him about it in private, wondering why she’s the only one who can see the light surrounding him. She finds out that Mr. Z is an angel of light sent down to battle the forces of darkness encroaching upon humanity and that she has also been blessed with powers to battle against these enemies of man. Once camp is over, Megan will have to go home and prepare for a great battle that awaits her in her near future and will possibly affect the people she loves.

While I thought this book was written with noble intentions and attempted to convey an important message, I am sorry to say that the storyline just fell flat for me. No doubt, the cliffhanger at the end left me curious about what will happen in the next book in the series (as most cliffhangers do) I don’t think I’ll end up reading the next book in this series, mainly because it was really difficult for me to get through this one. There were many factors that affected my opinion of this story, but I think that the main one was that the behaviours of the characters, the dialogue and certain events were exaggerated and mostly unbelievable. I also felt that the book read like it was written for a much younger audience, even though it discussed issues of sex, eating disorders, teenage pregnancy and abortion, and it came across as too overtly preachy. I found it really hard to buy into a lot of what happened in this book.

Firstly, at the summer camp, I found it incredibly odd how fast Megan and Mr. Z got into a discussion about the light surrounding him and it was very unrealistic how easily Megan believed everything he said and didn’t question his sanity or hers. Their discussion was a relaxed one, as if it were no surprise that he was an angel and she happened to have special powers. Secondly, all the talk about dark forces and angels of light was very vague and Megan didn’t seem at all curious to know more or to know why she’d been granted the power to see these dark angels.

Secondly, I found it a little ridiculous that Megan would see a dark angel influencing two little boys to plot mischief and then decide to go over and warn them against whatever childish mischief they may have been plotting. Little boys make mischief- that’s what they do. I don’t think it warranted such seriousness.

I thought Megan’s and Seth’s relationship was sweet, innocent and quite adorable. Robbie, Seth’s friend, was such a charming prankster (he reminded me a little of Robbie, aka Robin Goodfellow aka Puck, from Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey series) and I found him quite entertaining. The mornings when the counsellors met for breakfast and the evening bonfires provided a feeling of warmth and cosiness to the story. It was funny how everyone seemed to be aware of Megan’s and Seth’s relationship, but they were still forced to act like they weren’t more than friends. There was one thing that got to me, though. There was this scene in which Seth sat down to have his breakfast of six doughnuts and a can of soda (strangely, that stuck in my mind because I can’t imagine the sugar high that must cause) and I found it a little unbelievable that he’d say a little prayer before consuming his six doughnuts and a coke, all while sitting next to his girlfriend in a room full of student counsellors. That just seemed odd and out of place. I can’t imagine any teenage boy, no matter how religious, doing that in front of his girlfriend. That’s where the preachy bit comes in.

While I understand the inclusion of passages from the scriptures to explain situations and illustrate points, I just didn’t like the obvious way in which modern-day parallels were drawn to biblical references. I feel that it could have been handled with more subtlety and finesse because there were times when Mr. Z was talking to Megan and it felt like a parent telling bedtime bible stories to a child. By the way, speaking of Mr. Z- him being a camp counsellor known as Mr. Z reminded me of Mr. D in the Percy Jackson series.

I found that things did pick up later in the book when Megan went back home and met Johnny (an angel) at her high school and found an enemy in Judas/Jude, a bad boy transfer student who was leading Megan’s fellow students astray. It was very strange how a Goth chick and non-believer suddenly became a believing Christian and Megan’s closest friend after witnessing Judas’ evil in convincing her friend to commit suicide. As I said, there were just too many things that stood out for me while reading this book and my intention is not to unduly pick apart and criticise this book, but these were just a few mental notes I made as I read along, which I felt that I could not ignore. Overall, I didn’t enjoy this novel despite its well-meaning message but I hope that the next instalment in this series will not fall into the same traps as this one has fallen into and that it will be an improvement on this one.

4 comments:

Missie, The Unread Reader

Very well written review, Sarah. I'm sorry to hear that the story didn't really work out well for you. I think I'd have the same issues as you though.

IdentitySeeker

Thanks, Missie:) I'm still trying to develop my review-writing technique and it's very encouraging to know that my review is considered well-written. I was also sad to have to give this a bad review. I'm not known for my diplomacy and can come across as harsh sometimes. I tried my best to provide constructive criticism on this one and I hope to find better ways of not discouraging readers from picking up a book simply because I didn't enjoy it.

Brandileigh2003 (Blkosiner's Book Blog)

Thanks for the honest and well thought review.
Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

Anagha Uppal

Sorry you didn't like this book. I'd heard of the book before but I hadn't read it. Now I'm not sure I want to!!

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