Sunday, February 26, 2012

Review: Until Next Time

As with all things, you need to start somewhere. This is my first review and it is called 'Until Next Time: The Angel Chronicles' written by Amy Lignor and is the first in a chronicle of novels.

In a Nutshell:
The book is Young Adult Fiction, female audience-centric romance novel.

My twitter summary (140 characters or less) is:
"Angelic Twilight Assassins' Creed meets Irish Jane Austen"

Plot:
The story follows a young angel named Emily that either assists the humans that are assigned to her .. or smites evil-doers with the the help of her warrior angel counterpart named Matt that has BLUE eyes, as the author likes to drum into the reader (cerulean/blue/amethyst/azure/cobalt). Matt and Emily were created to be soul mates, as every warrior/angel combination requires the two souls to work in harmony. This in turn means that they are meant for each other and feel an ingrained connection. It is not clearly stated, but apparently they are also able to travel through time, which should be obvious considering the reference to things like candy and baseball.

The story revolves around a small town in Ireland in the 1800's where a troubled girl named Elizabeth (Liz) becomes the container for Emily while Matt inhabits a young man named Daniel. As with all things romance-related, there is unrequited love, the desire for another's touch, jealousy and murder. It sort of reminds me of Assassins' Creed or Quantum Leap (if you're old enough), with quite a bit of to-and-fro'ing between the human world and heaven. Every time Emily returns to heaven, she consults with one of the Archangels as to her experiences and purpose. The purpose itself is intentionally unclear. This assists them in their journey of discovery, redemption and (for Emily) the realisation of whom she truly loves (there is a love triangle).

Pro's:
Most of the story takes place in the human world, the human characters are well-realised, dialogue is good, pretty good ending, clear plot points that move the story forward

Con's:
Staging is unclear at the beginning, the angel characters don't gel for me, the mythos in this novel is a little muddy, the first 15% of the book is quite muddled, Matt (Angel Warrior) is tri-polar (angry, loving, prone to tears)

Summary:
I think if the cover didn't have an attractive red-headed woman, the prologue could have been misconstrued as something else. Case in point:

"The muscles of his hands are pulsing as he grips the steel hilt about to strike. Our blades smash together ..."

Am I wrong? Maybe I just have a warped mind (or is that a 'once sane mind '?).

Anyway, the novel is a bit of a paradox because initially I didn't like it. But as the book progresses the writing becomes stronger and the characters begin to shine through as Lignor gets into her stride. By the end I was almost emotional (I had my teenage girl hat firmly in place at the time) and liked the foreboding tone leading towards the inevitable conclusion.

If you can persevere through the earlier chapters and ignore a few awkward sentences, the book progressively improves with strong dialogue and enjoyable characters. Recommended for all YA/Adult females who are bored with the emo-ridden Edward Cullen and Bella Swan. Off topic: 'Beautiful Swan' ... really