Book: Angel Burn
Author: L. A. Weatherly
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Release date: May 24, 2011
Source: Banned Book Tours
Series: Angel Trilogy #1
Summary: (from Goodreads) Willow knows she’s different from other girls, and not just because she loves tinkering with cars. Willow has a gift. She can look into the future and know people’s dreams and hopes, their sorrows and regrets, just by touching them. She has no idea where this power comes from. But the assassin, Alex, does. Gorgeous, mysterious Alex knows more about Willow than Willow herself. He knows that her powers link to dark and dangerous forces, and that he’s one of the few humans left who can fight them. When Alex finds himself falling in love with his sworn enemy, he discovers that nothing is as it seems, least of all good and evil. In the first book in an action-packed, romantic trilogy, L.A. Weatherly sends readers on a thrill-ride of a road trip — and depicts the human race at the brink of a future as catastrophic as it is deceptively beautiful.
First impressions: I love tough girls, and this one opens with our young heroine working on her friend's car. Yes! Hooray for female empowerment. Girls can be car mechanics too! Willow is immediately likable as a smart and bold psychic who wears and does what she likes, as long as it makes her happy. I'm ready for her to be my best friend now.
Lasting impressions: The angels as soul-sucking fiends who want to take over our world and usurp our resources? I'm totally on board with that.
Conflicting impressions: While I understand that Willow needed to struggle with her identity, the number of times she questioned Alex's feelings for her was a bit eyeroll-inducing. Willow. He likes you. Enough already.
Overall impressions: There were times I absolutely could not put this book down. Willow is a unique girl with a gift for seeing the future, and when during a reading she discovers the existence of angels on Earth, she winds up running for her life with a mysterious assassin named Alex.
Who happens to be gorgeous, of course. I mean, really. Why wouldn't he be?
I don't think it's much of a spoiler to divulge that Willow learns she is a half-angel hybrid, since this is learned early on. This causes a lot of tension with Alex, who has been trained to hunt and kill angels since he was a child. We get a lot of sexual tension and frustrated/awkward fights between these two as they flee Willow's hometown, which I found to be a lot of fun.
The middle section is where things really slowed down. When Willow and Alex go into hiding, there are extended scenes where they do a whole lot of nothing, when I really just wanted them to go out and fight instead of hide. It was at this point that I started to get annoyed with the shifts between first-person Willow and third-person Alex. I'm not sure why a lot of books are approaching things like this, with dual perspectives but different points of view. There were times the switch wasn't clear enough and I would forget which one we were following at that moment.
Once they approached the climax of the story, however, things picked back up. I felt the big confrontation could have used a bit more explanation as to what had happened, or even if the plan had worked, because when it was all over I felt like I was missing something. I definitely liked where the story ended up despite any flaws with the ending scenes, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this one to YA paranormal fans.
I can't say enough about how much I loved the angels-as-enemies plot. They were scary without being brutal and dark without being evil. When they came to Earth, they quickly started taking over, starting up a new church and setting up cult-like compounds across the country. Weatherly does a nice job of creating this believable progression in American culture without it coming across as critical of fundamentalism or religion in general. In fact, religion is left out of it entirely.
If you like strong girls, cute boys, fast cars, and gunfights, you'll want to give this one a try!
Rating: 4/5 stars