Sunday, May 29, 2011

Book Review: Lemniscate (fifth novel in 'The Descent of the Angels Reading Challenge')

So this is now my fifth book in this reading challenge,
which is hosted by Momo at Books Over Boys!
Since I didn't hear about this until February,
I have read two books for this month,
instead of one, so as to have at least 
12 books read for the entire year.
Without further ado, I hereby present my review.

Author: Jennifer Murgia
Publisher: Lands Atlantic Publishing, 2011
Trade Paperback, 254 pages
Reading Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

The sequel to Angel Star starts off with an earthbound Garreth,  who continues to stay with Teagan in her bedroom at night, again, just as Edward Cullen does in The Twilight Saga.  I was prepared to "grin and bear it", and just forge ahead, hoping that this book would turn out to be better than its predecessor.  My hopes were dashed, however, when, quite suddenly, Garreth began avoiding Teagan.  So once more I was reminded of The Twilight Saga!  Although the reason for the separation of these romantic leads was different from that given in New Moon (the second book in the Saga, for those who might not have read it), the similarity was just too great to pass unnoticed.  Furthermore, the reason Garreth was avoiding Teagan was totally ridiculous and unbelievable.  It simply did not work.  Teagan's reaction to this separation was not as dramatic as Bella's, but again, the parallel was there.  And, of course, the third member of the love triangle -- a totally improbable one -- showed up, right on cue: Hadrian, the dark angel Garreth and Teagan battled against in the previous novel.

It seems that Hadrian is, well, not quite as evil as he was in Angel Star.  This, again, is totally unbelievable.  Teagan begins to hope that there is some good in him, after all.  I must repeat that this is simply implausible, given all the evil deeds perpetrated by Hadrian in the first book.  So now Teagan finds herself feeling attracted to him!  I have to be honest -- I find this totally disgusting.

The focus is definitely off Hadrian as the villain in this book.  Instead, it zeroes in on his twin brother -- Lucifer.  How very convenient...but again, totally ridiculous and not believable at all.  First of all, let's look at what Hadrian is.  In these books, he is called "a dark angel".  And what, pray tell, is a dark angel, if not a demon?  A demon is the very epitome of evil.  Demons are beyond redemption.  They are denizens of Hell.  Nevertheless, Teagan's actions in the first book supposedly split Hadrian's dark and light sides, and now his 'light' side predominates!  Now he's been turned into 'a good guy'! 

This brings me to the underlying themes of the book -- the blurring of good and evil, and the idea that both are necessary in this world, in order to 'balance' each other!  This is a New Age idea.  Not that I'm opposed to all New Age ideas.  This one, however, is especially repugnant to me.  Everyone in this world is flawed.  That is indeed true.  However, to go on from that to assert that both light and dark must be 'in balance' is simply going too far.  Good and evil are irreconcilable opposites.  They cannot be 'balanced'!

Obviously, I would have to go into a theological analysis here, which is beyond the scope of a book review.  I did find it necessary, however, to state my strong moral objection to this theme.  It's disturbing that it's being presented to teens as perfectly all right.

Another major problem I found with the book was the rationale for Brynn's bullying behavior toward Teagan, which began in the first book.  Teagan solves this problem, though, because, you see, she is very special.  She is the 'light bearer' mentioned in some prophecy.  She is therefore able to defeat Lucifer himself, mostly on her own, too.

At the risk of going off on a tangent, I must mention that the Catholic Church has a history of succesful exorcisms.  Yes, demons are real.  They cannot be reformed, nor can they be defeated by a 'chosen' human.  They can only be defeated by the power of God, working through someone -- an exorcist -- especially trained for such a dangerous undertaking.  Besides, isn't Teagan's boyfriend an angel of light?  Why isn't he the one who defeats Lucifer?  This reminds me of Halo.  In that novel, too, an angel was portrayed as weaker than a human being.  What's going on here?  Aren't these supernatural beings?  Why, then, are humans depicted as more powerful, in both of these books?

Also objectionable was the attitude of Teagan's mother toward Brynn.  Instead of being emotionally supportive to her own daughter, and attempting to help her deal with Brynn's inexcusable behavior, she keeps insisting that Teagan and Brynn get along, because she's dating Brynn's stepfather!  And Teagan makes no effort to let her mother know just how much Brynn's bullying hurts her.

The 'happily-ever-after' ending is just too artificial, too neatly wrapped up.  And, of course, totally unrealistic.

This brings up the question: should fantasy novels be 'realistic' in order to be believable?  Well, the characters of a fantasy novel should, indeed, adhere to the realities of human nature.  Fantastical events can happen, but a character's actions have to be consistent with what we know of human behavior.  They also have to be consistent with a character's own personality, as described by the author.  If they're not, then they're just not believable, and thus, the writer is risking a reader's being continually thrown out of the carefully constructed fictional world.

Needless to say, I found this book even more disappointing than the first one.  Should there be a third novel, I would have to say that I'm simply not interested in the leas! 



  1. I admire your honesty. I know one day I will have to have the same courage. Thank you for the honest review. Donna

    If you like suspense, today is the last day to enter my give away for Cruelty to Innocents: The 911 Abductions. Please stop by.

  2. Thank you for the compliment! You know, I wanted to like this book, as well as its prequel, "Angel Star". The subject matter is a fascinating one for me, since I LOVE angels. But I found so many problems with both of these books, I just had to point them out.

    I'll be sure to stop by your blog, although not for this giveaway. I have to be honest about this, too... I can't read or see anything related to the 911 tragedy. Not that I lost any loved ones or friends on that day. I didn't, thank God. But I'm a VERY sensitive person. I avoid watching the news because of this. I realize that this is a problem when reading fiction. I cried and cried when I read "The Yearling", for example. And I don't know how I was able to make it through "Tess of the d'Urbervilles"... When I read the Harry Potter series, which I LOVE almost as much as The Twilight Saga, I couldn't finish book 6. The reason? Dumbledore dies in that book. Oh, how I cried, then, too. I couldn't go back and finish later on, and this happened about 2 years ago! I sort of lost interest in the series after that! Some day I'll go back and finish it -- I hope!

    Thanks for the visit! : )

  3. Hey Maria!

    I applaud you for your honest review! Sometimes that's what holds me back from posting a review.

    Thank you, again for being such a devoted participant to this reading challenge! <3

  4. Hey, Momo! Thank you so much for the compliment! What's the purpose of reviewing, after all, if one can't give an honest review? I was surprised, by the way, that these two books were so bad. I thought they would be much, much better, but, sadly, they weren't.

    And you're very welcome for my continued participation in this reading challenge. I can't understand why so many people who signed up in the beginning have stopped reading & reviewing! So sad... Gee, I sure hope I'm not the only one left, come June...but, like I've already told you, I'll see it through to the very end!!

    Thanks as for the visit and the comment! : )


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