One to Clear the Decks For

****

'Angel' (or 'Angel Burn' as it's titled in the US) was one of my favorite YA books of all time. It was just so beautifully written and believable, the characters were so vivid and their love story so touching - all that while still being a page-turner! The middle books in trilogies are often the weakest link, and I really hoped this wouldn't be true of 'Angel Fire'. But when I realized it was going to involve a love triangle - something I think has been done to death in this genre - I decided not to expect too much.

And I was completely wrong! Yes, this book does contain a love triangle, and it does make up a significant portion of the plot, but the three characters are so endearing, and their conflicting feelings so believable, that it works. In fact, the challenges to the relationships in this book - and I can't really say more without giving too much away - were so compelling that I did something I haven't done in years: skipped to the end to see how it all came out. It was just too heartbreaking to keep reading without some light at the end of the tunnel. And I don't think it gives too much away to say that the ending is worth the painful parts - kind of like true love.

So. the reason I didn't give this five stars, like I gave 'Angel':

There are a lot of new characters in this book, but to me, only Seb was as interesting as Willow and Alex. The others never really became more than words on a page to me, and the parts they play in the story entirely two-dimensional. It almost felt like Weatherly only put them there to give Willow (and in one case, Alex) something to bounce off of. It was just too hard to believe that they'd all treat her exactly the same way, when they were such a varied group in such a volatile situation.

Another thing that bothered me was that the emotional climax was almost a verbatim repeat of the one in 'Angel' - different situation, but still basically Alex's hangups clashing with Willow's moral integrity so that he pushes her away when she needs him most, and only realizes his mistake when she's put in peril. I would have liked him to show a little more maturity this time around; in fact, he shows less. But hey, it makes for a great make-up scene!

There were also some sloppy bits that a less picky reader wouldn't notice, or wouldn't care about, but which drove me crazy - like the candles that are somehow already lit in the abandoned warehouse that Willow and Seb run to, allegedly on a split-second decision.

But overall, another great read. I'm really looking forward to the conclusion!

By sarah on 07 November 2011 |