Hello! There are potential spoilers ahead if you haven’t read AngelFire, the first book in this series. That review is here if you’re interested in what the series is about.
Here’s one last line to keep the potential spoilers at bay!
Angelstone picks up where Angelfire left off: on the run from both Darkened and Angels, and the plans that these enemies have put into motion. Things are a bit more dangerous for the characters that were introduced in Angelfire, as they are being pursued by both the Darkened and some Angels through various towns of the world. This time, the focus is on how to stop the Darkened. They’re the biggest threat, because they have a weapon that can fatally injure Seraphim. Alex and Israel have to deal with their changing relationship as they are planning some of the biggest cons in the human world. Getting away without alerting the humans that some of their prized pieces of art and cultural artifacts are suddenly disappearing won’t be easy. Adding to the tension is the Darkened, actively searching for the Free Angel community.
The second novel in the series really opened up the story. The relationship between the angels and the human world was expanded upon and we were able to see how they fit–and hid–in the world as Free Angels. I did enjoy that we got to see angels in different cities around the world, but I wish more detail had been given to the places, particularly the group in China. Most of the detail fell on the missions that they were participating in rather than the places the missions were occurring. This is more the fault of Israel and Alex as narrators, because they can’t be everywhere at once. Even though it wasn’t as detailed as I would have liked, the missions were well thought out and written. The bulk of them didn’t occur off screen, which made for a very enjoyable and fast paced read. I also felt that the danger that was hinted at in Angelfire really hit home in Angelstone. There are often more consequences for her actions and that of the free community than Alex realizes. I feel mean to say it, but I’m glad that there are consequences. It gives this fantasy story an element of realism because there’s so much that they all can lose. Everything is not dandy. I’m not sure how much will be lost by the time the series is over, and I like that I don’t know how it will end. I only have vague predictions at this point.
I loved that Israel took on a bigger role in this novel. Although both novels were in Alex and Israel’s perspectives, Angelfire focused a bit more on Alex. The perspectives were a bit more even this time, which allowed Israel to shine more in Angelstone. We know from the first novel that Israel is a pretty good fighter because he’s survived this long, but other details weren’t expanded on. His status as half human and demon is explored and we learn that he has more to him than meets the eye. He can fight forces better than he thought possible, he’s just untrained. He’s becoming more rounded as a character. Additionally, we’re able to get into his head a bit more. We can feel and relate to how he reacts to events in the novel rather than getting Alex’s guesses of how he’s feeling. I’m glad that he became more active in the story.
One of my favorite parts of Angelstone was how realistic Alex and Israel’s relationship is portrayed. In this genre, there are many times when the troubles occur in the time leading up to the relationship–“Does he like me?” “Will their circumstances allow them to be together?”–and once the relationship begins, there are little to no problems. Or the “problems” aren’t truly problems at all. Everything becomes all lovey-dovey and perfect. So reading how Alex and Israel’s relationship goes through rough patches was really refreshing. She’s this Seraphim who has always protected humans from Darkened. That was her job, and she has a really hard time leaving that behind in the relationship. Even though Israel has been surviving on his own before she became his Guardian, she still sees humans as a whole as weaker beings who need protection. She doesn’t always recognize that he can fend for himself and it annoys him to no end. Their problems start here. He reacts negatively when he feels she is treating him like a child. He allows his anger to be bottled up on the inside until he can’t contain it and it explodes out. He needs to learn how to control his anger and talk through it rather than holding it in. By recognizing their problems they are able to deal with them. This is possibly my favorite part, however. Although they’ve recognized their problems, it’s not fixed immediately. The novel doesn’t skip over the fact that getting over jealousy and anger is hard. Deciding to treat the other fairly before engaging in a physical relationship is healthy. If they didn’t, it would only breed resentment. The switching perspectives gives a really great look at how they both work and where their faults lie. I was fairly impressed at the portrayal of their changing relationship.
Angelstone ends on a cliffhanger that again leads into the next novel in the series. I love that this series doesn’t have everything go right. Too many times the protagonists in novels suddenly overcome problems without a lot of effort going into it, so although things may not have all been very satisfying in Angelstone, I think the payoff at the end of the series will be worth it. It is clear that Hanna Peach had clear intentions of where she wanted the story to go when she started Dark Angel.
Again, 5 stars. A big thank you to Hanna Peach for providing me with a copy of Angelstone.