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Fallen Angel by Heather Terrell

December 27, 2010

January 1, 2011

Publishers: HarperTeen

Publication Date: January 11, 2011 (Although GoodReads says December 28. 2010, the ARC copy I read has the date 1/11 printed on the spine.)

Format: ARC

Status: First in the Fallen Angel Series, to be followed by Eternity on July 1, 2011. If you click on the link, it will take you to the GoodReads page with a cover image and a description. But don’t read it if you don’t want to be spoiled for Fallen Angel.

Source: Dark Faerie ARC Tours

Genre: Teen, Paranormal, Angel (It’s in the title, I’m not giving anything away.)

Location: Tillinghast, Maine and Boston, Massachusetts. Not to be confused with Boston, Idaho. Joking.

Other Info: Heather Terrell is the author of three adult historical fiction books. The Fallen Angel Series is her first foray into YA fiction.

Book Description (from Goodreads):

The first book in a dark, edgy new angel series about a girl who finds herself forced to choose sides in the battle between fallen angels, even if that means going against the boy she loves.

When Ellie Faneuil first sees Michael Chase she feels an instantaneous connection. But she does not realize how much they have in common, including the ability fly and to see what others are thinking – not to mention a taste for blood. Reveling in their new powers and their growing feelings for each other, Ellie and Michael are determined to uncover what they are, and how they got this way … together.
But the truth has repercussions neither could have imagined. Soon they find themselves center stage in an ancient conflict between fallen angels that threatens to destroy everything they love. And it is no longer clear whether Ellie and Michael will choose the same side.

In this electrifying novel Heather Terrell spins a gripping tale of soul-mates, supernatural powers and a truth that will change Ellie and Michael‘s world forever.

I am very excited to present my first review as part of a Dark Faerie Tales ARC Tour. I was the first up for reading Fallen Angel and I admit that my squeeing was probably pretty loud when it was delivered. I felt so official, being part of a tour. It’s like being able to sit at the grown-ups table. Or something. Okay, on with the review.

The last angel book I read was one I loved. Remember Unearthly? Great book, lovely story. Terrell is another author having a go at the newest act in town. The first issue I’d like to address is the title. It’s basically a spoiler in itself. Ellie, the heroine, and Michael, her hero, spend a great deal of the novel thinking they might be vampires. More on why later. But from the title, we know they’re not. Therefore, the suspense isn’t there for the readers. We know before we get to the first page what kind of supernatural being Ellie is going to be. So, all the time devoted to question of “are they vampires or aren’t they?” seems unnecessary.  I have read novels where the reader knows more than the characters in the story and this has made the story even juicier, but this was not the case in Fallen Angel. I’ve been contemplating why this is so, and I thinks it’s because the novels that pull off the “readers know more” trick are often holding back something even more delicious. Not so Fallen Angel. The ultimate reveal in the book isn’t particularly exciting or enthralling. In fact, I was kind of disappointed because it fell so much in line with what I’d predicted.

I mentioned Ellie and Michael, the hero and heroine, and they are the center of the book. It opens with Ellie starting a new year of school and on that fateful day, she meets Michael. Their relationship does not start well, as Michael claims to know Ellie from a summer both of them spent in Guatemala. Ellie doesn’t remember meeting Michael before and suspects that he is playing a joke on her. Soon, though, Ellie and Michael can’t deny their attraction to each other and they’re spending all their time together. Ellie and Michael’s connection comes from the fact that they share supernatural abilities: both can fly and both get “flashes” of memory from people through touch. They can also get memories from the sharing of blood, which they do every time they kiss. Ellie and Michael’s relationship wavers all over the proverbial street. Sometimes it’s regular high school stuff, like going to a school dance. At other times, it’s gross kissing with the exchange of blood. Oh, and lots of flying. By and large, unfortunately, it wasn’t a relationship that really did much for me. I found myself hoping that Michael would have competition in the bad guy, but he turned out to be just as uninteresting.

I also have to admit I was pretty squigged out by all the blood exchanging. Especially when Ellie licks someone’s blood from a tissue. I understand why she did it: for the information. But, still, gross. I get the heebie-jeebies just thinking about it. At any rate, however, you can see why Ellie and Michael begin to think they might be vampires. The truth, of course, is far more complicated. Ellie and Michael are something far different from vampires. They’re…well, I can’t give everything away, now can I?

Fallen Angel is the first book in a series. And like all first books, it has unanswered questions. That’s part of what draws people back for the next book. Unfortunately, a lot of my questions were like these:

Things I Wondered About That Distracted Me From the Story:

  1. Why did Ellie not wonder how she was going to get to London without having a passport or the fact that she was underage?
  2. Why don’t Ellie and Michael ever consider the possibility of contracting blood-born diseases when they contemplate tasting other peoples’ blood?
  3. Why did Ellie never reflect/comment on the fact that she shared the same last name of Fanueil Hall, even when she was near it while she was in Boston?
  4. Why does Ellie never ask Michael about their first meeting in Guatemala?
  5. Why is Ruth friends with Ellie?

Ellie does stuff that is meant to illustrate her goodness. The most outlandish example of this is too spoilery for me to write about here. But it baffled me. I can’t help but think it was the worst way possible for her to handle the situation. It didn’t really accomplish anything, except to make Ellie more isolated. It didn’t fix the problem or make things right. It was meant to be selfless, but I thought it was kind of stupid.

When I closed the last page on this book, I was dissatisfied. I was so frustrated by endless nitpicky questions that I was unable to enjoy reading the book. Also, I felt like too few questions were answered for me to make sense of the story. Writers of series books walk a fine line with each installment in a series. They have to leave readers suitably satisfied with each installment, but still craving the next. It was like Terrell was trying so hard to keep her readers guessing that she ended up leaving them completely in the dark. If I read the next book in the series, I hope Terrell will provide some illumination. Also, I think she could benefit from joining a writers’ group, one that can pose questions like the ones I listed above. That kind of support is invaluable.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 27, 2010 10:27 pm

    I had a LOT of the same questions about this book. Also, she kept describing the bad guy as “pure evil” but then thought “Oh, he said THIS about my parents and he MUST be telling the truth now! So I’m going to base my major decisions on his words.” What?! This book left me so dazed and confused. I did like the mythology that finally developed in the last 50 pages, though.

    • December 27, 2010 10:42 pm

      I had the same thought about Ellie’s reaction to Zeke. My eyes got worn out from so much rolling. Never a good sign.

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