Publisher: Candlewick (May 24, 2011)
Format: Kindle Edition
In her local high school, Willow Fields is known as beyond weird. She wears funky, thrift store clothing, can fix a carburetor like nobody’s business, has a mother who’s mental, and gives honest to god psychic readings to the people who need them. When one of her classmates asks to be read, what Willow sees sets off a series of events that rock the very foundation of her world. With her gift, Willow learns that angels do indeed exist. When not in their human forms, they are golden, shining beings of light so beautiful and radiant that noone can resist them. However the euphoria and love humans feel is actually called Angel Burn and is a byproduct of angels feeding off the very life force of people. Scarily enough, angels have been using people as food for centuries and when Willow attempts to blow the lid on their means of existence, all hell breaks loose. Soon she is on the run from the angels themselves, the CIA, and the adoring humans who have Angel Burn. To stay alive, Willow reluctantly joins forces with an angel assassin named Alex who seems to know more about her than he lets on and is too darned appealing for his own good. Together they race across the States, battling anyone who tries to stop them in an attempt to uncover the truth about why the angels are here, what they are planning, and where Willow’s psychic abilities come from.
Ellen seems to think there are way too many angel books out there right now but this is only the second one I’ve read so the whole overly used angel paradigm didn’t annoy me in the slightest. In fact, LA Weatherly’s revised take on angels blew me away. It is utterly unique. I mean, seriously, angels as the bad guys? Wha…? It was hard to fathom at first but once I convinced myself that they were nothing more than energy suckers of the first order intent on using humans as cattle, I liked it. A LOT. It’s refreshing to see angels disassociated with a higher being, even more so to see them as the downfall of humanity. But while I enjoyed Weatherly’s take on angels, the plot left a lot to be desired. Everything is predictable. Every single thing. Willow’s rocky relationship with Alex and then their inevitable slide into true love could be seen from a mile away. I guessed the reason for Willow’s psychic abilities within 5 pages and when Alex and Willow take off on their road trip, hoping to meet up with some of Alex’s angel killer buddies, you see what’s going to happen almost immediately. Even the ending, where Willow attempts to block more angels from coming into our world, could be figured out several chapters beforehand. With its rampant predictability and hefty length (464 pages!), this book just dragged on after the first few interesting chapters. Even Alex, the hottie assassin, couldn’t hold my attention for long. And we all know that’s saying something as a hot main character with muscled forearms and wavy hair is usually enough to get me through the slowest of books. But with Angel Burn, I found myself skipping passages and then entire pages just to get it over with. Don’t get me wrong: this book isn’t bad. It’s just overly long and utterly predictable and as a result, I really could have cared less about the ending. The fact that there’s a sequel just didn’t spur me on in the least. The writing is sparse but rich in its creation of a world overrun by energy sucking angels. But in the end, it couldn’t save a ho-hum plot from itself.
Based on the following criteria:
How much did I like the heroine: 6. Willow started out as a 10 because she wore thrift store clothing and fixed cars but as soon as she started babbling on about how much she love felt for Alex when all he did was kidnap her and protect her rather reluctantly from angels, I wanted to throttle her and shout, “Girlfriend! Pull yourself together! Stockholm syndrome is not your friend!”
How much did I like the love interest: 6. Alex sounds like a hottie mchotterson. He’s killed angels since he was 12 and drives a black porsche on his downtime. He’s silent and strong but…he’s boring! He doesn’t have a spark at all. I didn’t really feel any particular kinship to him and didn’t really care when he and Willow finally declared their love for each other. He just seemed like some girl’s idea of what the perfect guy would be like and it fell flat.
How believable is the plot: 8. Props to LA Weatherly for making a book about evil angels. It was uniquely dystopian yet believable. Probably the fact that I could predict everything that happened made it seem more believable than it was but…she still gets mad points for creating a wholly new plot about angels.
How much did I like the writing style/editing/etc: 7. The writing was straightforward and well done but the book just dragged on and was in need of some serious editing. If she had cut out about 150 pages, I would have been much happier. As it stands, it’s far too long and includes passages that are just superfluous.
How much did I want to keep reading: 1. I was so glad when this book was over. Did I mention that it was predictable? And way too long? Did I? Well, believe me: if you get nothing else out of this review, get that. I didn’t care one iota about the end and probably won’t read the sequel (unless I’m forced to review it and Ellen refuses since she “doesn’t read those angel books”.)
Final Score: 5.6 / 10. Well, predictably, this book only gets a high 5. It’s initial premise notwithstanding, it’s just dull and the action never feels like it’s going anywhere. Initially I enjoyed it and then I just didn’t. Not the best accolade for any book.
If the publisher would just get a good editor in there who isn’t afraid to cut out a bunch of useless crap, it would be awesome. As it stands, all I can say is read it for the angels but get ready to skip a whole lot.