Title: Angel Burn
Author: L.A. Weatherly
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Pub Date: 05/24/2011
I enjoyed this YA Romantic Fantasy and devoured it at a fast pace. It’s intriguing, engrossing and heart warming. What people think they experience and what they do experience aren’t always the same thing, and in this novel, angels are definitely not what they seem. Trouble is, very few people know it, and the angels not only have a cult following but have infiltrated all areas of US society with potentially disastrous consequences. It’s an interesting and rather scary take on why cult followers might be so gushy and starry eyed.
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 that 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 listeners 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.
The story is unusual in that angels are depicted as the bad guys. They feed on people’s energy in much the same way as vampires feed on blood, and leave them thinking something good has happened, somewhat like a Vampire’s compulsion. Other than that, a road trip running from someone wanting you dead is a classic story, as is gradually falling in love with someone you don’t like at first, but it’s extremely well done and the context makes it original.
The characters are well-rounded and interesting and their responses and motivations are clear and believable. I particularly enjoyed Alex’s skills in staying alive and Willow’s mechanical ability compared to Alex’s ignorance – a nice reversal of traditional roles.
The development of the love relationship was well done, but one thing bothered me. The idea that the one you love completes you somehow and that you aren’t whole without them is an ill-conceived concept to be fostering in teenage girls. Besides that, it’s a little corny these days. Those parts of the descriptions of how Willow and Alex felt about each other could have been deleted without losing anything and would be more socially responsible.
Do we really want our young woman to grow up thinking that they need a man to complete them? Shouldn’t we be finding wholeness inside ourselves rather than searching for it in another person? Isn’t love healthier with two whole people loving each other, rather than two half people depending on another to fill their gaps?
I’m giving it 4 stars and recommend it for lovers of YA fantasy romance. I’ll be looking out for the next book in the series.