Book Reviews

[review] Angel Burn – L.A. Weatherly

Release Date: May 24, 2011
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 449
Format: Paperback
Source: Finished copy received from Random House Canada

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 does. 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.

Tell Me More: I’m reluctant to read stories about angels because I don’t particularly enjoy the way a lot of authors interpret the mythology. Some trusted blogger friends insisted I’d enjoy this series, and I decided to give it a go.

One reason why I approach angel stories with a modicum of caution is because I’m a practicing Catholic. The way I see angels is different from the way non-practicing people do, and while I don’t mind alternative perspectives, it can get awkward. That’s why I found L.A. Weatherly’s take to be a chilling presentation of human nature and the presence of religion in our daily lives. The cover copy, while successful at hooking readers who want forbidden romances, doesn’t capture the full scope of what Alex and Willow are facing.

The core of the story is belief, and the things we are willing to do in order to stay true to those beliefs. Willow believes she isn’t special. Alex believes that he has to kill all angels. And everyone around them is in danger of literally believing themselves to death. Weatherly doesn’t just focus on the budding relationship between Alex and Willow. She alternates their scenes with chapters looking in on the angels themselves, and the corruption lying beneath their peaceful gazes. The angels are strikingly similar to humans–they are selfish and ambitious. And like humans, they are also caught up in their own beliefs. They are willing to sacrifice the people they were meant to care for in order to survive, and worse off, they are willing to use those peoples’ beliefs to kill them.

Make no mistake, I don’t believe that Weatherly was trying to say all religions are evil. I do appreciate the dialogue that she opens up. The first mention of the Church of Angels gave me chills. Blind faith doesn’t do anyone good, and that’s not only a big issue in the story, but an important one in real life. Angel Burn has the capability to shock readers who are devout believers in their religions, especially if they actually don’t know much about said religion.

While the themes of Angel Burn are startlingly complex, I did have some issues with some of the characters’ early actions. I don’t think enough attention was paid to Willow’s home life, and so it becomes easy to forget about her mother and aunt. I also had some logical world-building questions that, thankfully, were answered in the second book. Lastly, the writing structure left me a bit confused: in one chapter, Weatherly gives us Alex’s POV and then Willow’s a few paragraphs later, without any noticeable pattern. However, I was interested enough in the story to at least put these things to the side while reading.

That’s Not All:

  • Love and the role it plays in keeping one true to a belief. I’ll definitely be discussing this in depth in my review of Angel Fire.

The Final Say: Angel Burn surprised me with an explosive story and haunting questions about loyalty and faith. If you’re looking to try something out of your comfort zone, L.A. Weatherly’s story might just be what you’re looking for.

Be sure to visit L.A. Weatherly at her website.

You can check out Angel Burn on Goodreads and order it from The Book Depository.


3 replies »

  1. You’ve already read Angel Fire and Angel Burn isn’t even released yet?

    This sounds interesting, but I’m also really wary of angel books. I’ve been burned too many times by them. (lol I’m so funny…) No, but really, after Hush, Hush and Fallen I’m not sure if I’m up for more angels.

  2. I’ve seen this one around a lot in stores, but I haven’t heard much about it so I’ve been hesitant. Your review really makes me want to actually pick these up and take a look for myself! I haven’t really read angel books so I’m not sure what I would think, but I do love getting out of my comfort zone for sure! Awesome review! 🙂

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