[Angeldust: Dark Angel V] Hanna Peach

This is the last review of a series that I’ve been reading. The review for the fourth book can be found here.  A huge thank you to Hanna Peach for providing me with Angeldust as well as the rest of the series! What follows is an honest review for the last book and for the series overall.

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After the events of Angelblood, Alyx and Israel have decided that they can’t wait until everything is right, both in the world and between themselves. They have to take advantage of the time they have together now, because they have no idea where there lives will be in the next few weeks. After uncovering Michael’s horrible plans for the angels, humans, and planet, Alyx and her followers have to stop him before they can come to fruition. As Alyx speeds off to uncover the secrets of Raphael’s charm in a lost Seraphim city, she puts her trust in her friends to continue protecting themselves against Michael and his followers, not knowing that Michael is moving against them more quickly than they’d prepared for. Angeldust has everything that is good and frustrating about the series as a whole in it, making this a final installment that concluded the main story line well but also kept some story lines unfinished for potential spin-offs.

The Dark Angel series has always had love triangles, and Angeldust is no exception. I understand that love triangles often make the young adult/new adult genre go-round, but they became something that was the norm in the series. It was no surprise when there were more that continued in Angeldust. I felt that there were too many and that characters were jumping from one person to the next like crazy, while also keeping feelings for their first love interest which annoyed their second. I didn’t feel that the spurned point of the triangle needed to find someone immediately. These events are happening so quickly that I doubted the spurnee could get over the rejection quickly enough to have a meaningful relationship with the new love interest.

That said, I still don’t feel like Angeldust went too much into the confessions of love realm. There’s always been a focus on the true issues of the world instead of the fact that Alyx loves Israel. I love that this series puts romance behind the fight to save the world. It really knows where the heart of the story is and puts romance (or at least, the desire to run away together) on hold for the greater good. Although I do love the Israel and Alyx relationship, I liked that I could rely on the plot being well-written and engaging without being bogged down by too much lovey stuff. The dialogue is intelligent and keeps us focused on what Alyx is working toward and the undercurrent of love never takes over.

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[Angelblood: Dark Angel IV] Hanna Peach

 

As always, spoilers for the previous books of the Dark Angel series. Please check out the other reviews first if you’re interested in this series by Hanna Peach!

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Seven days. That’s not a lot of time for Alyx and her companions to figure out how they can find Samyara, defeat him, and save Israel. Hanna Peach continues the saga of Alyx and Israel in Angelblood, where supernatural problems collide with romantic ones that started in Angelsong. There’s a lot of pressure on everyone to keep it together long enough to build up an army, a seemingly impossible task. Not everyone is on board with Alyx’s plan. She needs to find a way to convince them of its importance before it’s too late.

The first half of Angelblood was written well. The stress of convincing everyone that Israel is worth saving and that in order to do that they must go to war against Samyara is not an easy task. Alyx must use all of her mettle while juggling the problems that she and Jordan created in Angelsong. I love that the multiple perspectives in Angelblood allow us to see different parts of the plan. Each character has a unique voice and specific things they are worried about in addition to the main problem of fighting Samyara. Jumping around in the heads of the different characters also propels the story faster. The events of Angelblood occur over seven days, and the characters all feel that pressure. The first half of Angelblood is a bit slower, which I liked. There were more chances for details. Once the novel reached the second half of the seven days, it seemed to escalate too quickly. I understand that it was intentional, but the writing became a bit more shaky from that point on. I felt that it was a bit more telling than showing, which was frustrating because Hanna Peach is usually a writer who shows over telling. It was odd that it only occurred in the second half of the novel. It had to do with the first half being about multiple things where the second half was primarily about training, which didn’t leave much room for different issues.

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[Angelsong] Hanna Peach

This is the third book in the Dark Angel series. Slight spoilers ahead if you haven’t read Angelfire and Angelstone.

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Angelsong is the third novel of the Dark Angel series. It’s the middle of the series, which allows it to act as a sort of buffer between the beginning and the end of the story as a whole. In the first two novels, we slowly learn what the villains are up to and how Alyx and the Free community deal with the realization of that. Angelsong picks up where the second novel left off and deviates from the main problem of stopping the villains. It is a side quest that is important to the story, but because of this, the main problems are only mentioned in passing. In Angelsong, Alyx is on a desperate journey to find the cure for the poison that is coursing through Israel’s system before it’s too late. The cure is contained in a text that’s hidden away, and the only one who knows how to make the cure is trapped in Michaelea. Angelsong takes our characters back to Michaelea, to Urielos, and all over the world in a frantic race to find everything they need. They have to rely on all of their skills in order to trick and sneak their way to the cure, a cure that will save more than just Israel. Alyx’s time is running out too.

Once again, the plot in Hanna Peach’s novel is steady. It gradually builds, with occasional spikes in action. She knows the importance of pacing, which makes reading the entire novel enjoyable instead of just the parts of the novel where there’s action. The importance of the mission to save Israel is continually on the forefront of Alyx’s mind, and everything that she does can be traced back to that desire. The most exciting part of the novel occurs in the chambers beneath Urielos, where we were able to see how Alyx and Jordan work together as a team to complete a series of tasks. Each task was interesting to read about and even more interesting when handicaps were in play.

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[Angelstone] Hanna Peach

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.

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Here’s one last line to keep the potential spoilers at bay!

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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. 

 

[The beauty and danger of advance reading copies]

I tend to be an obsessive reader. From a young age I’ve loved going to libraries. My mom would bring us to the library in town where shelves-upon-shelves of easy chapter books and children’s books existed. While my brothers browsed the books with pictures and simple words, I’d scan the shelves for one of The Magic Tree House books that I hadn’t yet read.  When my school sent us home with Scholastic book catalogues I’d read through the pages and circle the many I wanted, begging my mom to let me join the  Boxcar Children and Baby-Sitter’s Little Sister book clubs they offered. As I got older I was able to walk the few blocks to the library myself and I’d stagger home with as many as I could carry, often from the Dinotopia and Animorphs series. I devoured book after book, discovering new loves like the Harry Potter series and Elizabeth I, one of the Royal Diaries series. (My love of England and interest in Elizabeth the First can probably be traced back to this book. )  For Christmas, all I asked for were books and I got them.

Moving to England for a brief time was a dream. Walking the streets were so many of my favorite books were set was something I had desired since I had first read them. Shopping in London bookstores for the British English editions of Harry Potter and antique copies of Shakespeare was incredibly fun. I have a passion for finding books that are beautifully bound with gilt edged pages, and I came away with quite a haul. My entire carry-on bag was full of books.  I am quite aware that I have a purchasing problem, but I love the feel of a physical book in my hands–the new book smell, the smooth and creamy pages, the crisp noise of the first time you open a hardcover book. I just can’t resist them. With the purchase of a Kindle, I made the reluctant move to buying more ebooks because I couldn’t bring my physical copies when I moved abroad. I’m still able to visit my library through their growing ebook selection, but it’s not quite the same as walking the rows and scanning the names of books for one that screams out for me to read it. Scrolling past titles on my brightly lit computer screen just doesn’t have the same sense of wonder.

I’ve found this wonder in an unexpected place. When I worked at a bookstore I was able to read advance reading copies on break. The first one I ever read, The Fifth Wave, made me want to start a book blog. Unfortunately, I was a bit preoccupied with the move abroad and had to put it on the back burner. It’s been on the back burner for several years, but recently I’ve made it a point to become serious about the things that are important to me. When I first started, I struggled with finding things that were new. Of course, I love reading anything, but people already had formed opinions on a lot of the things that I was reviewing because they’ve been published for several years. Other book bloggers I follow were reading books that sounded fascinating and they were newly published or even advance reading copies.  I want to provide reading advice to people who are looking for a new book to read. I wasn’t able to do this if I only reviewed books that have been out for years.  After doing some research which involved a lot of book post stalking, I learned about places like NetGalley.

NetGalley is a wonderful place. Book bloggers are able to check out upcoming titles from many different publishers. By allowing people to read these advance reading copies, publishers are able to get a look at how the book may do once it’s published. And authors get a little boost before their book comes out. As an aspiring author, I know how important readers and book reviews are to a new book. By writing about upcoming and recently published books, I hope that I’m garnering some interest in what is being published in the vast world of young adult and new adult fiction. That is the beauty of reading these brand-spanking new titles. The danger, of course, goes back to my obsessive nature. It never is a problem to have too many books, but the problem is: I want them all. Good thing I’m a fast reader!

Coming up:

25722504Angelstone: Second in the Dark Angel series, Hanna Peach was kind enough to let me read her series and review them. This is ongoing. I really like the take of the Angels and Demons that she portrays in its pages. Dark Angel deals with a prophecy that connects Heaven, Hell, the angels, the demons, and the humans caught between both worlds.

 

 

Currently reading:

24488627Noir: Second in the Illumination Paradox series, Noir also comes quick on the heels of Lumière. I finished up my review and discovered that the second was out. Thanks to NetGalley, Noir quickly moved up my reading list. These novels are set in a world where the shadows reign and steam punk devices make life a little more interesting–most of the time. I love the Victorian feel and the characters are very vivid. The ebook version was only recently published on August 18th and the paperback and audio versions are coming out September 22nd of this year.

 

Things I’m excited about:

25792851Angelsong: The next in the Dark Angel series

 

 

 

 

24397041Hunter by Mercedes Lackey: This one. I requested it ages ago and it took so long to get any sort of notification from the publisher that I assumed I hadn’t been approved. I assumed wrong. Very excited to read this one. The cover is really neat looking and the story promises to be interesting. Monsters have taken up residence in our world, and the people who survived the initial attacks have to live in communities that are protected from them. There are teenagers called Hunters who are charged with protecting citizens, but it becomes clear that the better they are at protecting, the more famous they become and the more scrutiny they fall under. It sounds like a mix between Attack on Titan and the television element of The Hunger Games. I’m so glad to have been approved. Hunter will be available on September 1st.

 

 

[Angelfire] Hanna Peach

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Angelfire gripped me from the first chapter. It dropped you right into the action and the world of lightwarriors and Darkened, demons who use their human disguises to suck the life force from other humans. Alyx is one of these lightwarriors, Seraphim whose job is to find the demons who have possessed humans and take care of them. Of course, everything can’t be as simple as all that. Alyx has strange visions, which leads to suspicion and undesired attention. She feels like her she’s meant to be a lightwarrior and she’s worried that the visions will threaten that when the rumors spread that she’s the next Seer. Angelfire is a great start to her story that is just the right amount of self-discovery, romance, and plot-thickening. I’m excited to see how it continues in the next book.

Balancing her new ability and the gossip it brings is not easy for Alyx. All she wants to do is fight Darkened, something that she feels born to do. She feels powerful when she’s able to bring down a Darkened with her flock mates. With rumors swirling around her, she feels like she can’t act normal. It doesn’t help that the visions are compelling her to follow them, convinced that what she’s seeing is happening in real time. Alyx is a powerful fighter and character; following her as a character meant that we were constantly in the action, which could be nerve-wracking at times. Alyx has her own agency and tries to have some measure of control over her life and growing secrets. It often gets her into trouble. She has a hard time backing down from a slight on her parents and has difficulties controlling her rage when they are brought up. There are a few people that she’s willing to swallow her pride for, even if it goes against her instinct. If there’s anything Alyx needs to do it is to control her emotions. There are times when she’s all over the place and it makes her act rashly. It is better to keep some things secret as long as you can.

I loved the two main characters, Alyx and Israel. I hated when they made mistakes that could have been solved just by talking to each other. Israel is consumed by righting a wrong that occurred in his past, and Alyx is forced to help him due to their connection.  As their relationship grew, so did the things that she kept secret from him, convinced that in order to help them, she needed to keep her feelings hidden. It was a weird experience to read that because of how conflicting it was. There were several times when I made “This is upsetting me” noises because of how ridiculous they were being. Just talk to each other! Toward the end of the novel more characters were introduced. There wasn’t a lot of time left in the book for them to be really expanded on, so I’m hoping to see more characterization in the second novel.

The setting of Angelfire is wonderful. Thousands of years ago, the Angels were locked out of heaven and now have to live in elder run cities that exist hidden on earth. The cities are named after the powerful elders and seem to be run by their namesake. Michaelea is located in the forests at the foot of a mountain range, hidden in the depths far from mortal eyes. If a mortal happens across it, they are compelled to turn away. It’s cloaked, and only those who know it’s there can get into the city. The city is vivid, with training grounds, living quarters, and social areas where dinner and Entwinement ceremonies occur. There is a culture that is detailed through showing rather than an information dump. One of the more important sources of their power is bloodink, tattoos made of pure magic. Lightwarriors are able to draw on the magic inked into their skin when they need to dispose of Darkened bodies, search caverns with air, or get people to sleep. It was really cool.  I’m disappointed that more of the story didn’t happen here because there seems to be a rich backstory hiding underneath the action. It seems like Hanna Peach has more that she could say about Michaelea and its customs, but didn’t want to bog down the narration with it. I hope that I can read more about the other cities in the next novels.  Luckily the mortal world is just as interesting. I particularly liked the underground city and would love if a separate story happened here. There’s a bit more risk when Alyx is in the mortal world. She can’t always fly and has to match her look to that of a mortal. Wearing tons of blades openly will get a few looks.

The plot was really interesting. At first I was worried that it sounded similar to the Nephilim of Mortal Instruments fame / infamy, but it quickly turned out to not be the case at all. There was just the right amount of hinting at things to come: it got me hooked, but didn’t give too much away. I anticipate that each book will gradually build on that, revealing secrets in each of them until the conclusion of the series. It is a slow build and I appreciate that we’re not given everything right away. I also have a strong suspicion that things are not the way they seem and believe that some of the things we know as truth now may not turn out that way in the end. At least, I hope so.

I’m really excited to continue reading this series. Angelfire had a nice balance of characterization, setting, romance building, and prophecy dropping in it. I hope more answers about characters and their roles will come in the next novel.

5 stars.