I got this book from the publisher via NetGalley in an exchange for my honest review.
16 year old Riley finds out that she is not an ordinary girl, but an Angel of Death, or to be more specific, a Halfling – half human, half Angel. She is immersed into this paranormal world of Angels, Vampires, Witches and many more supernatural beings, while being hunted by someone who wishes to steel her soul. Riley is not alone on her journey to finding the truth, she has her best friends, as well as mentor Leander, a Guardian Angel who has been alive for thousands of years. In this action packed story, Riley will learn to accept her powers in order to protect her own life, as well as lives of her loved ones.
Everything is set in one little town, Fairhaven, where supernatural beings coexist with humans, although they are secretive and they usually appear fairly normal to humans. Only supernaturals can recognize themselves. Fairhaven has an history of being a holy place, a place where supernaturals come if they wish to gather more power. I liked that part of the book setting. The world structure is interesting: we have the ultimate force, the One who created everything (you may call it God), Archangels, The Council (gathering of Angels of Death), Angels of Death and Demons. But other supernatural beings exist too: Vampires, Witches etcetera. The most interesting part for me was when Leander explained Riley how the balance between Heaven and Hell works, and what Hell looks like.
Riley, like any normal girl would, is having hard time accepting that she is a paranormal human being, but she continues to be herself – a confused 16 year old, who is simply trying to manage her school obligations while learning how to use her superpowers. She is caring, humorous and even sarcastic, which I found sometimes to be a little bit forced and unnatural. Still, she changed a lot in the book, all the tragic events really broke and bruised her character, and I have enjoyed in her growth a lot. It was painful (in a good way) and satisfying to see how she became a strong individual, prepared to fight for her life instead of wait for someone to rescue her. Riley’s friends and her family were integrated very well.
Leander is Riley’s Guardian and he is also an Angel of Death. He appears to be completely caring and worries a lot about Riley, but still he never comes to her when she is in danger. While author gave an explanation for that, I still found it illogical. But what might interest you more, is that we have a romance here. Riley develops intense feelings for Leander and I can completely understand that: he is beautiful, handsome, talented and wise. He has lived forever and saw it all. But when Leander admits he has feelings for Riley too, I somehow didn’t find that coming naturally out of the story itself. I have no problems with her being 16 and him thousand (?), while I do get it why many readers would have complaints. But the rules of human world doesn’t apply to the world of supernatural, and one has to comply to the rules of the book. We can’t judge something by taking it out of context.
The author’s writing was gripping right from the first sentence. I loved it and I have read this book in one day, literally. She wrote great fighting scenes and she doesn’t waste any time on backstories – everything is packed with action. And yet, the writing gets actually a bit worse from the middle of the book. There were some fake dialogues, unnatural reactions and a bit cheesy descriptions. I felt like I was reading a book written by two authors. Don’t know what happened there. Overall, I was interested in the ending from the start, and although this book has some issues, it kept me reading and reading. I recommend it to everyone who wishes to read a nice paranormal YA fantasy. I will definitely read the second book.