Today I have my review for Angel Eyes by Shannon Dittemore as part of the blog tour for Shannon's debut novel! I've been really excited for this one ever since I discovered it on Goodreads a few months back. And I'm so glad that it lived up to my expectations!
Reasons to Read:
1.Shannon's effective way of writing:
I quickly noticed how precise the language Shannon uses is when I started reading Angel Eyes; not only does it flow so well, but it's as if each and every word has been carefully thought over and selected so as to best convey the meaning and imagery she's picturing. It brings the entire story to life, and completely immerses you in Brielle's frame of mind. And this is something so rare and skillful, that Shannon easily deserves praise for being able to achieve this (and do it so well, I might add).
2.THERE ARE ADULTS:
Hurray for parental involvement! This shouldn't be such a novelty in a YA book, but it is. Brielle has a handful of caring, attentive adults in her life who do pay attention to her and try to help her in any way they can- yet still recognize that she's an independent young woman. And I think you can sort of count Canaan and company as adults as well, and it's nice to see a couple teenagers that aren't completely on their own.
3.Fresh take on angel mythology:
But how different can it be, right? Angels have been done over and over in YA. And Shannon Dittemore uses part Biblical interpretation and part imagination to conjure up a new type of angel we haven't really seen in YA before. Angels are involved in the story, but they don't really take up center stage- they have their own role to play, which is actually based on other characters.
4.So much more than a paranormal book:
Similarily, since the angels in Angel Eyes aren't the focus of the story, it follows that there are other more important elements involved. Angel Eyes isn't just about weird paranormal activity, a battle between angels and fallen angels, or falling in love; it deals with grief, faith, doubt, and free will. And something kind of cool about that idea of free will is that it comes up in a couple different ways; it's a struggle for many of the characters, those who try to reconcile what choices they are able to make and those who have lost their freedom because of others who have taken that right away. It's fascinating and beautiful, and something that really raises some thought-provoking questions.
Angel Eyes is an interesting book because of the perspective Shannon took with writing it; she very clearly poured so much of her own experience into the book, and her own convinctions heavily influences the story. That might be difficult for some people to swallow, but I think it's intriguing to read a book from an author with this very different perspective. Angel Eyes is definitely influenced by religious thoughts, in this case Christian ideas, in the same way that many other books that include religious aspects are based off some of the author's own ideas and questions. And that's something I personally enjoy reading- but I can also see how it might be too heavy or uncomfortable for some people who strongly disagree with it. Is it preachy? No. I don't find it preachy whatsoever. It's the story of a girl with struggles surrounding faith and doubt, which is something just about every person will experience in their life. The difference is that not everyone will come to the same conclusion as Brielle- but I don't think that's a bad thing, to have a book written with this in mind.
I can, however, see how there are a number of archetypes included which are overly familiar to YA Books; the broken girl and the new boy who are driven together for some strange, supernatural reason. Love that blooms a tad too quickly for my taste, but I did appreciate that Jake was so sweet. He may tease, but he's thoughtful and genuine. He treats Brielle as an equal, but recognizes that she has needs and tries to help her with those as well.
E-galley received from publisher via Net Galley for blog tour.