Monday, December 5, 2011

Book Review: A Temptation of Angels

Title: A Temptation of Angels
Author: Michelle Zink
ISBN: 0803737262
Reading Level: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy, Historical Romance
Theme: Angels
Binding: ARC Paperback (advance reader copy)
Length: 435 pgs
Published: 20 March 2012
My Rating:

Synopsis: Even angels make mistakes in this page-turning epic romance When her parents are murdered before her eyes, sixteen-year-old Helen Cartwright finds herself launched into an underground London where a mysterious organization called the Dictata controls the balance of good and evil. Helen learns that she is one of three remaining angelic descendants charged with protecting the world's past, present, and future. Unbeknownst to her, she has been trained her whole life to accept this responsibility. Now, as she finds herself torn between the angelic brothers protecting her and the devastatingly handsome childhood friend who wants to destroy her, she must prepare to be brave, to be hunted, and above all to be strong, because temptation will be hard to resist, even for an angel.

**The following review may contain SPOILERS**

My Review: I won an early reviewer's copy of this book from Library Things, so I was obligated to write a review once I was finished. The book is not due to be published until early next year, March 2012. There is another person who reviewed this book on Library Things under the name MargK that I completely agreed with. A Temptation of Angels by Michelle Zink was nothing like I expected and I don't mean that in a good way. The list of positive things about this book is very short.

Here are a few of the positives:

1) Like MargK mentioned in her earlier review, the author has a certain simple elegance to her writing, therefore it was easy to read.

2) I liked that the story took place in London (Despite this, I had major issues with the setting—or lack thereof which I will get to shortly).

3) Even though I agree that the author doesn’t really give us any new dimensions to her characters or the love triangle (we’ve read it all before), I will say that she did a good job at building the sexual tension and romantic moments between Helen and Griffin.

Sadly, this is where the positives end. I don’t want to make this a long, drawn out review nor do I want to repeat the negatives that other reviewers have pointed out, so I am going to stick to my 3 main issues with this book.

1) The setting. Like I said above, I was looking forward to reading this book partly because it was supposed to take place in London. The reason I enjoy reading books with settings around the globe should be obvious—it’s a way to learn about a country or time period without having to do extensive research (unless you want to). I think that is one of the important jobs an author has to do—transport you to that time and place, make you feel like you are there. Unfortunately, this does not happen in A Temptation of Angels. The author does not give us any specific dates (not always necessary) or landmarks, or historical references. Helen and the Channing brothers seem to walk everywhere—there is no mention of horses or cars—nothing that could help me get a better sense of what type of London the story takes place in. The only thing that finally gave me an idea where to place the story is when it is revealed that Helen wears corsets and that it is not proper etiquette for a young lady to be walking the streets alone, or to be living with young bachelors that are not her family. This of course is a big contradiction in the book. I’m not even going to go there since MargK’s review gets into detail the major contradictions of the mysterious and supposedly powerful organization called the Dictata.

2) My other major problem with this book is this: the book is supposed to be about angels. Other then Helen and the Channing brothers being able to “jump” through light (as in being able to dissolve their bodies into tiny molecules through light in order to transport to other places), nothing else is explored as far as their abilities. What else can they do? Hell, if they are angels, aren’t they supposed to have wings? Not once are wings mentioned.

3) Lastly, this book is riddled with parts that are unbelievable, unnecessary, or just plain didn’t make sense. The author spends too much time on parts that could be simplified in a page or two while she does not give enough attention to things such as the term “Enlightenment” for example. What does it mean when one reaches “Enlightenment”? This term was mentioned several times in the beginning of the book but was never explored. What happened to Darius’ face? How did he get the scar? I also think that her reaction AND the outcome of the whole dart/dog situation was completely ridiculous. I don’t want to give it away since it would be a major spoiler, but it was a very poor plot device.

To sum it up, the book had an interesting premise but the execution fell flat. For lack of a better way to say this, I was bored. Unless the finished product differs greatly from the ARC I just read, I don’t see Michelle Zink's A Temptation of Angels making any great waves in the YA literature world.


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