Review Detail

4.7 3
Young Adult Fiction 2416
Pleasantly Surprising
Overall rating
 
4.3
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
The description of this book threw me from the beginning. Angels charging money for saving people’s lives in mainstream America? An Angel falls for a human and they are not able to be together because of the natural differences between them and laws that keep them apart? Sounded a little familiar to me… However, upon reading the first few chapters of the book, I immediately got sucked in. The first chapter itself is straight to the point, explaining the environment and context of the story in a few paragraphs. Even though the concept seemed dubious at first, Speer’s idea quickly became believable.
Speer writes in a third person perspective, switching from different characters perceptions throughout the novel, giving the reader an all-encompassing picture of this new America. The characters were one of the best parts about the book. Each character was three-dimensional and complex, just like any person in real life would be. None of the characters annoyed me like they sometimes can in young adult books, the characters made the story that much more real. Overall, the characters were what kept me thinking about the book even when I had to put it down to go eat, or sleep…
The writing was also surprisingly clever. The love story was somewhat predictable, but what love story isn’t? The murder-mystery plot going on however, continually kept me guessing. My guess for who was the culprit of the murders was right at the beginning of the book, but I probably changed my mind throughout the novel numerous times, so my first guess doesn’t count. Spoiler alert* I also never knew when Maddy was having her premonitions, the tells were so discrete that I didn’t notice them, even by the end of the book. The writing left too much room for interpretation in some parts in my opinion; it could have been more detailed (such as when Jacks flew out of his Commissioning and saved Maddy). However, most of the book left just enough room for interpretation, and many of the parts were deliciously detailed, such as when Jacks and Maddy were hiding under the counters in the school lab.
One more comment I would like to make is that the story would have been even more believable if Speer had gone into a little more detail about Angel history. The answer that, “Angels are unwilling to confirm or deny many parts about their history,” sounded a little bit like an excuse for not having to come up with a realistic and creative history for the Angels in this book. Also, the book claims the Angels decided to show themselves after the American Civil War because humans didn’t deserve to be served out of kindness anymore. But really, how many civil wars have taken place within the world before the American Civil War? Many. Why all of a sudden was it the American Civil War that prompted the Angels to reveal themselves after centuries of staying hidden? The answer of the Civil War seemed typically American.
Overall, Speer deserves a huge round of applause for his first novel. The writing was clever, the idea believable, and the characters unforgettable. I wonder if this is the last I will see of Jacks and Maddy, or whether Speer has more ideas in store for them. I really hope he does.

Credit to Michael Frost for the cover as well, beautiful.
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