[Crown of Midnight: Throne of Glass II] Sarah J. Maas

Just in case there are people who haven’t read Throne of Glass reading this review (I was one of you not long ago), this review has potential spoilers for Throne of Glass. There’s also a very, very light (and not specific) spoiler for Crown of Midnight, but since it’s already been mentioned in the official summary of the book, I think it’s okay to mention it in my review. Just a warning!

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I really hate when the summary of the book gives away too much the way it does for Crown of Midnight. There are some things I wish had been kept from the reader because I wouldn’t have been aware of it coming up and the impact would have been greater. Anyway. Review time.

Crown of Midnight is the second novel in the Throne of Glass series. Now the King’s Champion and assassin, Celaena is counting down the days to her true freedom–when she can leave Adarlan and disappear into the forests and mountains far away. So for now she bides her time, killing at the King’s whim and trying not to lose herself in the process. Celaena, however, has a secret–one that she hides from the King and hides from her friends. And when there are secrets, it’s only a matter of time before they come out. And she’s not the only one keeping them.

I was actually really impressed with how there was a sharp increase in talent in the writing of this one compared to Throne of Glass. Had that not happened, I would not have continued the series. So really good job, Sarah J. Maas, at getting someone who didn’t like your first book into liking and wanting to continue the rest of your series due to the second. The style became less telling and I was more invested in the characters as things were revealed about them slowly. It helped too, that the focus wasn’t on a competition (but the true focus was actually on the shoddy love triangle and obsessive vanity of Celaena) the way it was in Throne of Glass. The writing style was so much better, which translated to the plot, pacing, characterization, and setting being well-thought out and engaging. I almost couldn’t believe that this was the same series, it was such a change. A good change.

I loved how the friendship between Nehemia and Celaena grew and changed in this book. Sometimes they didn’t get along, which only made me enjoy their friendship more because it was something that was realistic. Everything wasn’t rosy and sometimes they couldn’t take back the things they said, only heal over them. The relationships between Celaena, Dorian, and Chaol changed as well. At times there were tensions between the three of them, which made for some interesting interactions. As is the point of love triangles, I favored one pairing over the other. I also feel like the writing was pointedly directing us toward this pairing, which made me feel like the other pairing was kind of a waste of time and pages. Fortunately, it wasn’t that big of a problem for me. Even though there was romance and a light love triangle, I felt that the focus still remained on Celaena and her story rather than the romantic relationship between the characters. I was glad the focus was not on that. Romantic or not, I really appreciated the way that the relationships where written in this book.

As I mentioned before, the book kind of shot itself in the foot when the summary basically destroyed any chance it had at a shocking moment. There was tension, yes, but once I realized who was safe it was obvious who was not. Any impact it had was kind of lost because I felt very bored while reading about Celaena’s flight to stop it. Getting away from that, there are other secrets in this book that are not ruined beforehand. Granted, they had been heavily hinted at earlier, both in this book and in Throne of Glass, so I already had my expectations. I did like how it was revealed and how it sets up the rest of the series, especially when Celaena’s personal life was left hanging at the end of Crown of Midnight.

It’s not often that I continue onto a second book after not liking the first one, but I am glad that I listened to the advice of other readers about this being a series worth continuing. Of course, I still have an issue with the fact that I have to finish two books in order to see what the series is really about, because this should be given to readers in the first book. This is probably the last time I’ll bring that up, but I think it is a true issue and deterrent to this series that other readers have. If you are willing to make it through that first book, however, the series becomes something that I’m really excited to continue reading.

4 stars.

I received this book from Tessa for a Book of the Month club.

[Urban Dragon] J.W. Troemner

Urban Dragon is J.W. Troemner’s first three novellas bound into one volume. It follows Rosa and Arkay, two women who are trying to survive the dangers of living on the street. Not freezing during the upcoming winter is heavy on Rosa’s mind, but when an attack on them turns into them robbing the would be attacker, Rosa and Arkay are drawn into something bigger and more dangerous than they realize. Struggling to maintain their innocence, jail is the least of their problems. Rosa and Arkay have to use their wits and their street smarts to stay one step ahead of those who would do them harm. And they thought humans were a problem.

The writing of Urban Dragon was entertaining and flowed really well. I thought that each individual story had a clear beginning, middle, and end, and there were moments in each novella that connected them to the others. It had a readability that allowed me to finish it in one sitting. I suspect that when the next series of novellas are published, it will be easy to do the same. I do think that J.W. Troemner has a talent at keeping the reader entertained and flipping through pages. The author cements this story in the contemporary age by having pop culture references sprinkled throughout; most of them were a little nerdy or book related, so I really loved that. I was genuinely amused by some of the interactions and quips that Rosa and Arkay threw around because they didn’t feel forced.

I really loved Rosa and Arkay’s relationship. It stemmed from being necessary to survive the streets and not get harmed, and blossomed into an actual friendship with shared experiences. I liked that it didn’t really delve into something romantic, even though it possibly had been romantic in the past. It was nice reading a series where the two main characters aren’t in love with each other. I liked that they both remained close and had their own outside relationships.

Something that Urban Dragon tried to do was diversity. The author tried to represent Rosa and Arkay as a race other than white, which was really refreshing, but I felt that it was very much “represented just to be represented.” It fell very flat and I didn’t believe that they were characters. They were representations. I can probably count on one hand how many times Rosa and Arkay were described in the same way (Amazonian Latina and petite Asian, respectively). I believe in diversity and I think that the young adult writing community is getting a bit better at recognizing that there needs to be diversity, but it needs to be done. You can’t just say that your protagonist is a Latina but leave it at that. You have to go in depth. Describe them as more than their race. Otherwise I see the characters as flat cardboard cutouts.

Unfortunately this was similar to what happened with the setting. I felt that it was slightly on the generic side and that there wasn’t anything particularly distinguishing about it. Readers know going into it that the series is an urban fantasy, and I felt that we were expected to fill in the blanks rather than the author filling them in for us. I was disappointed by the lack of world building when there could have been so much. Troemner succeeded at creating a mythology, but it was never explained. I loved that there were dragons, but there was never a cohesive reason as to why they all existed. I wanted to know more about it, and it was explained too slowly. I feel like I hardly know anything about the world despite having read three novellas set in it. I understand that there’s a projected nine novellas, but my interest needs to be piqued by the second and certainly by the third if I’m going to read another six.

Individually, the novellas in this volume were plotted in an okay way. I felt that it was a little basic because each of the novellas went through the same course of: minding their own business, something bad happens, bad people die, and Arkay and Rosa make it out relatively unscathed. However, that wasn’t horrible. They were quick reads and I was able to read them in a couple of hours. However, as a whole, there wasn’t enough happening. I’m fine with reading one to one and a half novellas with a plot like this. But when the series is plotted out to be at least nine novellas, I expect a little more to happen that will let me know what the grander plot of the series is. The larger plot was hinted at in the endings of the second and third novellas, but it wasn’t enough. I certainly expected more of the larger plot to happen in the third novella after it had been hinted at in the second, but I was let down.

Overall, I would say that I may check out the remaining novellas of this series once they are released. I do have a problem with the fact that the third novella left off on a horrible cliffhanger; I think that it would have better suited the book to further explore what had happened at the end of the second book instead of the direction that the third book took.

Not quite enough for 3 stars, but better than 2 stars. 2.5 stars.

I received a copy of Urban Dragon from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Urban Dragon will be available October 15th, 2016.

[The Dream Thieves: The Raven Cycle II] Maggie Stiefvater

So I’ll be honest. I read the rest of the series after The Raven Boys in about a week. It’s that good and addictive.

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The Dream Thieves picks up where The Raven Boys left off, with a focus on Ronan. After revealing that he can take things out of his dreams in the last book, the others are a little in awe of Ronan’s abilities. Ronan begins to take more fantastic things out of his dreams, things that don’t exist in the real world until he wills it. When things from his nightmares start showing up, he realizes that he needs to gain control over his abilities before something worse moves from his nightmares to reality. As Gansey and the others continue to use the ley lines to search for Glendower, others are searching for dream things, leading them to Henrietta and the boys. The search for Glendower has never been more dangerous.

Like the first book, the narration is divided between the raven boys, Blue, and a few others. Even so, this book is very much about Ronan. I really enjoyed that there was a focus on his secrets and how he came to terms with them by the end of The Dream Thieves. Ronan was my least favorite of the characters after reading the first book, but by the end of this one I found that I really liked him. He’s possibly even my favorite character now. Like all of Stiefvater’s characters, he was slowly and realistically developed. She has an incredible talent at showing who her characters are, including their motivations and desires–even the ones they hide from themselves. And the ones they hide from themselves are the more interesting ones. They’ll make for some good interactions when they finally come out.

What’s interesting about the first two books of The Raven Cycle is that there’s romance, but it is absolutely not the focus. I thought there’d be more in this one since it’s a second book, but not so. It is an ultimate slow-burn romance. Stiefvater gives her characters and readers a little taste, but not enough to distract from the quest. Again, there’s more of a focus on friendship and family relationships. I really enjoy this part of Stiefvater’s character writing. These are the relationships that are around you before romance comes into the picture. I love that we can really see how the friendship between Blue and the raven boys is developing in an in-depth way.

Another character who had a little more growth in The Dream Thieves was Adam. After the events of The Raven Boys, the others don’t quite know how to interact with him. Adam himself doesn’t really know how to interact with them. Things have changed and no one knows what to do about it. Adam discovering his own talents parallel to Ronan discovering his was a nice touch and set them up to mirror each other a bit. They both have abilities that stem from their relationship to the magical side of Henrietta and their role as caretakers of a sort.

Although this is a part of the larger narration of finding Glendower, I felt like this one almost had stand-alone qualities, or at least a side-quest feel.There seemed to be so little of the Glendower quest in this one, which meant that it was basically a character building book. Of course, Ronan and the others’ lives are woven into Glendower’s and Cabeswater, so it’s never really apart from them.

Again, The Dream Thieves ends on a cliff-hanger which drives the reader toward the next book. I’m so glad that I didn’t pick these up as they were being published because I would have died a little if I’d had to wait long between the second and third books (and the third and fourth). I highly recommend this for readers who like paranormal/fantasy young adult books set in the real world. If you like a little bit of poetry with your writing, you’ll likely like this series.

5 stars.

[Paperglass and Monarch: War of Princes II and III // A double review]] A.R. Ivanovich

 

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At the close of Haven, Katelyn has resigned herself to her secret. Although she shared it with her closest friends,  if it gets out that she visited the outside world, repercussions will not only affect her. Life, however, seems a little dull since she’s been back, and Katelyn is trying to decide what to do with her future when the Pull is pulling her toward the outside world and the boy she left behind. Things change when a half crazed member of their community destroys the radio tower, and everything that Katelyn thought she had escaped from may be coming right to the doorstep of Haven and her loved ones. Her mission takes her back to the outside world, and only she knows how bad it would be if she doesn’t find the lost explorers before they tell the Prince how to get to Haven.

Paperglass thrusts us deeper into the outside world. I was very happy to read more about how their military and ability system worked. We got to see a little more depth to why the Margraves and Dragoons are so dreadful, instead of being told. The world started to get fleshed out the further they traveled from the wall, so I was able to see how Katelyn reacted to life among the outsiders, which was something I had wished happened in Haven.  Again, the pacing in Paperglass is a bit faster than I wanted it to be. It worked a little better this time around because there were multiple conflicts in the novel, rather than only being a novel about returning to Haven and to safety.

A complaint I do have is that there aren’t many named side characters. Paperglass, like Haven, is driven by the core main characters, with side characters making a brief appearance to say something and then sit on the sidelines until they were necessary again or dying on the page. As a consequence, they felt very much like tools to drive the plot forward, rather than actual characters. They could have been a little more vibrant. Another consequence of that is that Paperglass becomes a romance novel with fantasy thrown in. The focus seemed a bit heavier on Rune and Katelyn’s relationship this time around, and less on the conflict and mission that the characters are on.

I was interested, however, in the inclusion of Dylan. It wasn’t clear if he had survived at the end of the last novel or not, so I was surprised to see him alive and moderately well when Paperglass started. I do like when you can’t always tell what antagonistic characters are up to, and having Dylan in Paperglass was something that created tension and made Katelyn question the morality of her past and current decisions.

Although the characters do bother me a little, Paperglass is a book that I enjoyed because the world is rich enough to make up for the lack of characterization. It also helps that these novels are very short reads; they’re engaging for the four hours or so that it takes to finish reading them, which is good if you want to read straight through them in an afternoon. Paperglass built upon the foundation started in Haven, so I enjoyed it a bit more.

4 stars.

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Katelyn’s role as an outsider has finally come to this. Since she wasn’t born in this land, she has the potential to bring peace to the two separated countries if she agrees to be an envoy.  She’s tasked with asking Prince Varion to send military support to Breakwater, a town that is only moments away from the wrath of Prince Raserion after the events in Paperglass. That is easier said than done in this ever expanding world of abilities, Dragoons, Princes, and Hussars, the North’s answer to the Dragoons. Traveling to and from war zones is fraught with danger, and Katelyn has to balance protecting her friends and those she left behind while worrying if there are spies reporting on their movements. Her own decision to agree to Prince Raserion’s demands–something that she felt she had no other choice to do–haunts her. She wrestles with the question of who is worse: the prince who drains those with abilities or the one who can raise the dead.

There isn’t much more I can add in my impression of this series that I haven’t already said. A.R. Ivanovich continues to build the world that we now know is called Lastland; this time, however, she takes us to explore parts of it that we’ve only heard mention of in the previous books. Monarch takes primarily takes place in the northern capital, a place that is as different to Breakwater as Breakwater is to Haven. I felt even more immersed this time around because there was no break in the story where Katelyn returned to Haven at the end of Paperglass. As such, Paperglass and Monarch read as single book, which allowed the action to continue gaining momentum. I enjoyed reading them back-to-back.

My one quibble that has been building since Paperglass is that Katelyn’s powers are becoming a bit too deus ex machina. It has been mentioned several times throughout the series that using abilities can drain you, so you have to judge when it is best to use them. However, I feel that Katelyn gets into situations that are difficult to get out of, only to have her abilities suddenly surge ahead to get them out of it. The feeling of having nothing to lose may be something that helps her suddenly have more power over them, but it just happens at super convenient times for her, which seems unlikely to me. There has to be some balance to this.

Dylan Axton, however, is quickly becoming my favorite because he has the most character development. Alone, I don’t think I’d necessarily like him. How he acts (although it is sometimes unfriendly) in the face of everyone’s mistrust of him is a source of constant interest for me.

Now that I’ve finished the third book of this series, more and more I’m realizing that it’s very much a cotton candy book where I can’t put it down, but I don’t think I will read the series again once I’ve finished it. I get the sense that it won’t stick with me as much as other books have.

4 stars.

I received both Paperglass and Monarch from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

[The Clouded Sky: Earth & Sky II] Megan Crewe

There will be slight spoilers for Earth & Sky, the first novel in this trilogy. That review can be found here.

The Clouded Sky (Earth & Sky, #2)

At the conclusion of Earth & Sky, Skylar had been given the opportunity to continue on her journey with Win and his fellow Kemyates on their mission to stop the manipulation of Earth. The Clouded Sky starts immediately after the first, leaving no gaps between the two books. Now on the Kemyate space station just outside of the orbit of the ruined Kemya, Skylar has to cope with being confined to a smaller area than she is used to. She went from being an active player in stopping the time manipulation on Earth to posing as a “pet,” essentially an Earthling slave. Although treated well, knowing that there are Earthlings on the station through no choice of their own leaves Skylar with a bad taste in her mouth. She tells herself it is just one of the many things that will change if they manage to stop the manipulation of Earth, so she does what she can while pretending to be unaware of what is happening around her.  As the rebels slowly come to trust her more, they start realizing that there may be a traitor in their midst. There are too many close calls for comfort, and Skylar is given the unique job of trying to find to find out who it is and if they can stop them before the traitor destroys everything they’ve been working for.

In The Clouded Sky, Skylar’s position on the station is perilous. At all times she must pretend to be drugged, standard protocol for Earthling pets in order to keep them calm. This time, instead of the rebels being the ones who have to operate secretly, the roles are switched. As the only Earthling on the station who is aware of what is going on, she is in a position to change things–if it wouldn’t make her stand out. After a time she gets tired of doing nothing, so she begins to help with the rebels plans and takes greater risks as they start running out of time.

I was impressed at Megan Crewe’s handling of the story as well as showing the stress of suddenly living in a different place. I was able to connect with Skylar on a deeper level this time around. I’m really familiar with the things she had to go through (minus the fact that they happened on a station in space) because I live in a foreign country myself. She doesn’t understand the language and slowly has to learn it. Along with not understanding the language, she has to learn the much more difficult thing of how their culture works. Even when you understand the language, there are things you may not understand culturally because they are so extremely foreign. Showing the moments when Skylar struggles with this really stuck with me.

Being in another world made her yearn for a connection, so romance became a large part of this book. It clouded her judgement a bit in the way that instead of spending one hundred percent of her time focusing on her goals, she spent a lot of time considering how her actions were viewed by her romantic interests. I wanted to know more about other characters, but the romance made her withdraw into herself a bit too much.

I was very interested in the time traveling in the first novel and the lack of it was felt in this novel. This was a different sort of novel, more investigative and spy-like rather than a journey. Out of the two novels, I enjoyed the first better, but I think that’s only because The Clouded Sky serves as a bridge between the first novel and the third novel. This one had a slow buildup to the conclusion and climax and does a really good job of fully introducing us to the Kemyate culture.

Initially I believed that Earth & Sky should have been one novel. It was just one of those slow burn novels, because I couldn’t get enough of the second. I’m very excited to see the conclusion of this series.

I received a read-to-review copy of The Clouded Sky from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. It was published on May 5th, 2015.

 

 

[Noir: Illumination Paradox II] Jacqueline Garlick

This is a review for the second book in the Illumination Paradox, and as such has potential spoilers for the first. The review for  Lumière is here.

I just love these covers.

I just love these covers.

For the most part, Noir is a lovely continuation of everything I really enjoyed in  Lumière. The steampunk world comes back in full force, with more danger and problems than ever. At the conclusion of  Lumière, both Eyelet and Urlick are left in dire situations that left me wondering how they would ever get out of them. You expect the main characters of novels to always be “safe” from true harm, but there’s always that lingering worry that like George R.R. Martin, your author may decide that the death of a character propels the story forward. I went into Noir a little worried, but expecting to enjoy it just as much as enjoyed the first of the series. Ultimately, it ended up being slightly less enjoyable than the first, but is still a decent second novel of the series.

Ultimately, something that irked me every time it reared its head was the sexual violence that is contained in Noir. It was my biggest issue with the novel, because there were far too many times that rape was semi-explicitly implied or threatened. And I’ll be honest, there should have been zero times this happened. It’s not something I like seeing in the novels I read. It is a legitimate threat in the real world and the written one because it imitates life, but I feel that fantasy books sometimes use it too much as a plot device. Rape and sexual violence should not be used as a plot device. If it is something that is included–and I still don’t know if it’s ever necessary, truly–it needs to be handled extremely well. Other readers may have been fine with how it was handled in Noir, but I was left with an uncomfortable feeling whenever these events occurred. The first time it occurred, I was not happy, but to have it occur enough times that it drove down the rating of an otherwise well-written second novel in the Illumination Paradox frustrated me. A woman can be strong without having threat or events of sexual violence happen to her. I already know that Eyelet is strong. I didn’t need this to be included.

Noir introduces several new characters, a couple of whom have chapters that they lead us through. Jacqueline Garlick does have a skill in clearly indicating the differences in their voices, so it wasn’t difficult to understand their thoughts and motivations. However, I have the same problem that I had with  Lumière; Noir could have benefited from a third person narration. I think the reason that there are two new characters’ voices leading us through the chapters is because the author needed to show events that were happening away from the spheres of Eyelet and Urlick. Yes, they are two very fascinating and vivid characters, but it would be boring to read chapters upon chapters of one being locked away in a jail and the other preparing to spring him. Although I did appreciate the new characters, they were not as well-developed as Eyelet and Urlick. I wanted to know more about them, but their characterization didn’t go in depth enough for me. As a result, I didn’t care as much for them emotionally and couldn’t connect as things were going wrong or right for them.

Again, romance was the weaker part of the novel, but it was more of the main focus for Noir. In Lumière, the characters were driven to find the machine that was supposedly the cure, discover things about the machine and the real cure, uncover the mystery of what happened the day that the flash lit up the sky. Noir was more about saving the one you loved.  Of course, there’s still adventure and discovery, but it wasn’t as heavy as it was in the first. I knew this going into Noir. I signed up for it and it’s the blurb on the cover of the novel. The Eyelet/Urlick arc was what I wanted to read. It’s the sort of  rescuing the damsel / rescuing the dude in distress steampunk adventure story that I was excited to read. Including new romances for the characters I couldn’t connect with emotionally was too much. If I didn’t care about them as a character, I really didn’t care about their relationships. Apparently steampunk equals adventure in my mind, not romance. I wasn’t too open to the idea of more than one relationship in the novel.

The pacing of the novel does keep you interested, but a few times I wished that it wasn’t so slow. The gradual buildup is nice, because I don’t like reading books where absolutely nothing happens in the middle. I do wish that a bit more had happened, however. I understand that Jacqueline Garlick wants to end her novels with a huge cliffhanger to drive her readers insane (and therefore they’ll rush to get the next book–a pretty good strategy, to be honest) but too much happened at the end of the novel. There were several reveals and happenings that happened so quickly that I didn’t quite have a chance to process them. It lends a rushed quality to the ending of the book. Although the first novel of the series also had this quality, there was less significant things happening and so I didn’t notice it as much. Some of the events should have been drawn out more toward the end of the middle section and then I would have had a chance to come to terms with them before the novel ended. By clustering so much at the end, some of the threads of the novel ended rather abruptly. The cliff hanger does prepare the third novel well, so I will check that out when it’s finished.

3 stars.

I received a copy from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  The ebook version was only recently published on August 18th and the paperback and audio versions are coming out September 22nd of this year.

[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.