Dittemore – Angel Eyes

Posted: April 4, 2012 in A-Z Challenge, Book Reviews
Tags: , , , , ,

First thingAngel Eyess first: I’m not a huge Twilight fan.  I was…before I started comparing the sparkly fairy-vampires to the vampire stories I’ve always loved: stories like Dracula and Buffy the Vampire Slayer (seriously, once you’ve seen Angel and Spike, no other vampire can be nearly as alluring, no matter how much he sparkles in the sun).  Once that started bothering me, a few other things messed up my enjoyment of that series as well, but this is not a review of Twilight, so I’m not going in to that here.  The only reason to even bring up Twilight is that the first half of Angel Eyes mirrors Twilight.  I very nearly stopped reading it after the first two chapters because of that.  So we’re replacing sparkly vampires with angels? was my opinion at that point.  You have a female teenaged MC returning to a little town off the Pacific coast after a few years living in the city.  Granted, Brielle (full name: Gabrielle.  That bothered me, too.  That’s just a little too similar to “Bella” for my taste) had a much darker reason for returning to her hometown than Bella did, but more about that in a minute.  Thankfully, Dittemore abandoned the whole love-triangle thing, but on Brielle’s first day back at school, a mysterious new kid shows up, sits next to her in Calculus, and immediately starts flirting with her.  Most of the story is told from Brielle’s POV and she even references Twilight a handful of times.  This mysterious new kid, Jake, also has a unique ability that he uses to fix a major problem for Brielle (I’m trying not to give too many spoilers; you’ll have to read the book to discover the unique ability and the problem).  Finally, he’s forced to explain his family’s secrets to Brielle, who agrees not to tell anyone.

And that’s about where the similarities end.  One of the things Angel Eyes has going for it is complex characters.  Brielle has some serious emotional problems that come from a very dark place in her recent past.  The details of what she’s dealing with are slowly revealed throughout the book, so it really wouldn’t be fair for me to describe it here, but trust me…it’s dark.  She struggles with fears and feelings of guilt.  She alternates between anger at God and doubt in His very existence.  Only with Jake’s steady presence does she begin to heal.  Jake also has a dark past.  Dittemore doesn’t throw any punches in describing his early childhood.  His guardian, Canaan, literally saved his life when he was a young boy.  Canaan is far more than he seems, but he is still very real.

This book is, obviously, about angels.  Real, sent from Heaven from God, angels.  In showing the angels, however, it also includes the fallen angels, the demons.  I’m not sure it’s completely theologically sound, but it’s a great work of imagination about what the world could look like if we could see the spiritual warfare surrounding us.  The demons are terrifying.  C. S. Lewis would be proud. 

I highly recommend this book.  It’s the first in a trilogy and I cannot wait until the second one comes out.  It really reminds us that “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but…against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”  However: This book is not appropriate for very young teenagers!  The darkness in it is thick enough to cut with a knife and it is terrifying.  Human trafficking happens.  I’m not saying we should sugar-coat things for kids.  They’re going to learn about this eventually.  But that doesn’t mean we should push them to find out now.  My advice on this is the same as my advice to the parents who asked me if their 13-year-olds should be allowed to see The Hunger Games.  Parents: if your child is under 15, you should read this book as well.  Either read it first or read it together, but your child needs to be able to talk to you about it.

This book releases on May 29, 2012.

(By the way, yes I know I cheated on the title.  Deal with it.)

  1. sjp says:

    Quite an interesting review, agree those similarities could become annoying, much like that Hush Hush series where the plot seemed too similar to twilight.

    • missared says:

      The similarities *did* bother me at first, but I’m really glad I kept reading. It sky-rocketed away from the Twilight-ish-ness and wound up being amazing!

  2. Damyanti says:

    A spot-on review–thanks for sharing.

    Look forward to your challenge run…
    –Damyanti, Co-host A to Z Challenge April 2012

    Twitter: @AprilA2Z

  3. Thanks for the review. It sounds like a great book.

  4. Nikki says:

    Thank you for your comment. This was a great post, that book sounds great, I’m going to look out for it. Nice review!

    Nikki – inspire nordic

  5. Kern Windwraith says:

    You know, based on the main character’s name and my total lack of love for Twilight, I would never have considered Angel Eyes. Now that I hear a Buffy fan recommending it, I’m prepared to reconsider! Angel and Spike. Oh yes, oh yes. Now they were vampires.

    Really enjoyed the review! I’ll be back during the challenge for more of your bloggy bookishness!

    • missared says:

      mmmm Angel and Spike. 🙂 ❤ Between them and Gerry Butler as Dracula, all other vampires just cannot compare.

      Seriously, though, I really encourage you to check out "Angel Eyes" when it hits shelves in May. I'll be posting a reminder the day it releases, so keep checking back.

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