Friday, May 20, 2011

Book Review: Angel Star (fourth novel for 'The Descent of the Angels Reading Challenge')




I have finished reading my fourth angel book for
"The Descent of the Angels Reading Challenge",
which is hosted by Momo at Books Over Boys.


So now I have 8 books left!
It's going a bit slowly, unfortunately...
I just don't have that much time to read,
due to my busy work schedule.
And now I'm addicted to blogging, too...
Life on this planet just ain't fair!
But enough grousing -- here's my latest take on
these wonderful creatures known as...
angels.





Angel Star
Author: Jennifer Murgia
Trade Paperback, 253 pages
Publisher: Lands Atlantic Publishing, 2010
Reading Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Romance




I first saw Angel Star mentioned on Goodreads, some time back.  That was when the book had not yet been released.  I thought the synopsis was interesting, so I added it to my already lengthy TBR list on the site.  Perhaps a month or so later, I noticed, while visiting the site, that there was now an Angel Star fan group. I still didn't pick up the book, however.  It was only after I decided to embark upon this unusual reading challenge that I remembered it, and then ordered the book from Amazon.  

Having known about the plot merely from the information on Goodreads, I was unprepared for what I read in the prologue.  I found it to be absolutely shocking, to say the least.  Murgia uses this section of the book to look ahead, as Stephenie Meyer does in each of the books of The Twilight Saga.  The shock element in this prologue, however, was actually almost too much for me to take...

Despite this rather inauspicious beginning, I went on.  After all, I told myself, the events 'foretold' in Meyer's prologues didn't turn out exactly as narrated by Bella Swan.  

A few pages later, I encountered the nearly inhumanly perfect Garreth Adams, a new boy at Carver High, which Teagan attends.  Garreth has an immediate effect on Teagan, exerting such an attraction that she becomes obsessed with him in a very short time.  Teagan is unable to think straight when she's in his presence.  And his smell is so intoxicating....it's similar to a type of incense she enjoys burning in her bedroom at times.  In fact, not long after they meet, he starts spending nights in her bedroom, just watching over her as she sleeps.  Also, Teagan talks in her sleep, and this is how Garreth finds out that she has fallen in love with him....

Now, does all this sound familiar?  It should, if you've read the Twilight books.  Also familiar is Teagan's computer research, which she undertakes in order to find out the meaning of the strange, eight-pointed star mark on Garreth's right palm.  Bella, too, did some computer research, although in her case, she wanted to confirm her suspicion that Edward was a vampire.  

In spite of these nods to The Twilight Saga, I continued to read, since Murgia does have a nice writing style.  I also liked her characters, at that early point in the book.

It was after Hadrian, the bad angel, was introduced into the plot that I started to get a little restless.  At first, I didn't realize where Murgia was going with him, until I saw what her intent was -- the beginnings of a love triangle.  Then, I could see the influence of L.J. Smith's The Vampire Diaries, in which Stefan and Damon are two brothers who are rivals for the love of Elena, the protagonist.  In Murgia's novel, the rivals are two angels, one light, one dark, but still...  It just seems that YA paranormal romances thrive on love triangles these days!

Hadrian, the dark angel, turns out to be Lucifer's twin brother, and he is intent on corrupting the guardian angels of humans, who then become his puppets.  It seems he's also after Teagan, although this becomes unclear later on in the novel.  He is presented as totally evil at first.  Then, at one pivotal point, Teagan does something incredibly dramatic, which ends up splitting Hadrian's dark and light sides.  I found this to be totally illogical, to be quite honest. 

In spite of the compelling writing, I thought the plot and characters had several problems.  Characters acted in an inconsistent manner, and events did not flow smoothly.  An effective plot is one that leaves readers with the feeling that things just had to happen the way the author wrote them.  They couldn't have happened any other way.  One event flows smoothly into the other, pulling the reader effortlessly along.  While reading this novel, I had the opposite feeling -- events happened rather arbitrarily, and there were plot snags.

One of the things that bothered me the most was the way Teagan's relationship with her best friend, Claire, developed.  At a crucial moment in the story, Teagan just did not try hard enough to help her friend out of a potentially dangerous situation.  Garreth, who, as an angel of light, should have been able to exert a strong, benevolent influence on behalf of Claire , concentrates on rescuing Teagan alone.  Although she does feel some concern for her friend, Teagan allows Garreth to take her home, leaving Claire behind. So this was actually a betrayal.  Up to that point, I had related to Teagan quite well.  I couldn't like her much after that.

The scene in the prologue does appear later on in the novel.  When it does, the rationale given for it, as well as the effect of Teagan's action, are not very believable, and I found them rather disappointing.

Another disappointing thing about this novel was the presence of the stereotypical high school bully, who always picks on the hero.  In this case, it was Brynn Hanson, cheerleader and head of a pack of equally stereotypical, shallow girls, who picks on the heroine, Teagan.   

To sum up, I feel very strongly that this novel had potential, but, unfortunately, the author did not develop it in a satisfactory manner, nor to the extent that it should have been.  

Although the book's climax had me turning pages like crazy, the novel left me with the feeling of "is that all there is?"  This is definitely not one of the best angel novels I've read so far.

MY RATING:




3 comments:

  1. Hey Maria!

    For Angel Star I felt a lot like you. For some reason, it just didn't really stick out to me! :)

    And about the challenge....yeah. Did I mention that this is my first year of blogging? LOL, I really didn't think it would be this hard but I want to make this challenge funner and so I'm trying to contact authors and publishers to see if they would like to help out with the prizes and stuff, but....aye! We'll see how it goes! :)

    I just wanted to say THANK YOU SOOOOO MUCH for participating and going through with this whole challenge! It means the world to me; you don't even know! I love you for this! :)

    Happy reading!
    -Momo

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi, Momo!

    Yeah, I expected more from this novel, especially after finding out that there was a fan group on Goodreads! Instead, it was pretty disappointing...

    So you're in your first year of blogging? Me,too! I started in September of last year. But hey, you have a LOT more followers than I do! Looks like you post more often than I do, too. Well, I don't have that much time...

    It's good that you're contacting authors and publishers for help with your challenge. But like I said, I'll see it through to the end, no matter what! And you're very welcome! I really do LOVE this challenge, since I also love, and am fascinated by, angels!

    Thanks for the visit and the comment! Happy reading to you,too!
    Maria

    ReplyDelete
  3. I know! My sister and I are HUGE, and I mean GINORMOUS fans of angel books! :) There's just something about them. I think it's because there are so many ways to twist the storylines! LOL

    THANK YOU!

    ReplyDelete

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