Series: The AngelFire Chronicles #1
Published by Eloquent Enraptures Publishing on 4/1/12
Genres: YA Paranormal / Fantasy
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What if everything you believed was a lie?
A Suicide: Seventeen year old Allison Maney attends Millennium High School in Manhattan. Nothing out of the ordinary, unless you consider the occasional suicides at the school. At least that is what everyone is told, what everyone believes. But Tommy Bachelor was a popular football player; why would he jump off the roof of the school?
Dangerous Liaisons: When Dameon pays attention to Ali, she couldn't be more excited, because for the past three months he was all she could think about. But now that Dameon is finally pining for her affections, she is becoming more and more wrapped up in a clique of three who, as new transfers to the school, are proving to be trouble. But at least Dameon loves her, doesn't he?
A Soul Purpose: The underworld of angels and demons have one thing on their mind: Earth. Demons want to do what they want.
Angels want to protect humans from these rogue angels, AKA: Demons. For Allison Maney, everything is not exactly what it seems…
A Suspenseful Romance: Caught between Dameon and Kian, the suicide and the clique of three, Ali won't know who to trust…or who to love.
“CLANG-BANG-GLONK”: The Lowest Common Denominator I Have the Right to Expect As A Reader
Here’s the thing: reading is a two-way street. I understand how much blood, sweat and tears authors put into their books, and for them, receiving negative commentary is like having someone look at your child and say, “Well, let’s hope that whole *face* part of him is just a phase, huh, buddy?”
I get that.
At the same time, authors, you need to know this: I work two jobs and I freelance. So when I commit to reading a book, I expect a lowest common denominator of readability from that book.
Robin Reader addresses that subject well over at Dear Author, where she outlines the basic functionality readers should be entitled to expect: spellcheck it. Look at the basic mechanics of grammar. Tense. Noun-verb agreement. Basic logic. Have someone other than your spouse or your best friend read it unless your best friend will tell you straight up when you’ve written a scuba scene where the main character takes his fins off three times so maybe you wanna take another gander at that passage.
I approached my locker, combination 17-75-7. Could it have any more sevens? [Ed: Yes. Two more.] Out of the corner of my eye I saw him skirting around the wall, more just of a vague silhouette really. Not enough to make out a name, face, or even what clique he belonged to, but enough to make my heart race. Seriously, I could hear my own heart pounding. I wasn’t sure who I saw, but his presence sent a shiver rushing down my spine, and as the minutes ticked I grew closer and closer to finding out…
As I fidgeted by my open locker moments later, the mystery man spun past the corner and hit his locker combination: 15-40-31.
Okay. In the beginning, I was going to point out that it sounds like the narrator is having a stroke, then I remembered she’s in high school so honestly, that kind of reaction to a cute boy makes sense based on age range. That gets a pass.
But…you can skirt around a corner, or you could maybe sidle along a wall, but “more just of a vague silhouette”? What? Is it pitch-black in the hallway of her school? And how is she seeing him if he (eventually, many minutes later in the high school hallway of epic time-bending) has to spin past a corner to get to his locker? Like, did he really spin?
Also, you can either freeze there at your locker for a few seconds or a few minutes but not both. This is something that should’ve been picked up by an editor or copy reader.
I’m not here trying to hurt anyone’s feelings, but if you expect people to give you money for your product, they have a right to expect basic functionality as Robin Reader defines it.
To return to my initial metaphor, if someone wants to show you photos of their kid, you can be polite about the cuteness factor of said child, but if they show you Polaroids of two sacks of flour wearing Garanimals overalls, what exactly do you say? He’s not going to grow out of that phase because he’s not gonna be doing any growing. You’ve been sold a false bill of goods.
By now, you might have realized that, in the lingo of internet book reviews, this one “didn’t work for me”.
The plot centers around Allison Maney, a professional Mean Girl at a high school in New York City, (“one of those blessed girls without blemishes, pimples, or uneven-toned skin. Yes, one of those girls.”) who, along with her friends Molly and Jennifer, set out to investigate the suicide of a classmate for Journalism class. This is complicated by Alison’s attraction to the aforementioned corner-spinner, Dameon, and an unparalleled level of logic fail. For instance:
- If you tell us Jennifer’s the only one with a car, she can’t then get into Molly’s sedan in the next chapter.
- “CLANG-BANG-GLONK. The lock fell from the clutches of the wrench and Molly slid the stolen tool back into her jean pocket with a satisfied grin.” Newsflash: you can’t break a padlock open with a wrench. Also, if you steal tools from janitors then later make fun of his accent, I hope you’re eaten by a grue.
- In February in New York, there aren’t leaves on the ground. Because one, the ground’s covered with snow and two, all the leaves fell off the trees four months ago. They’re certainly not dry and crunchy. If anything, they’re leaf mush.
- Tommy’s suicide is witnessed by Allison’s English class, half of whom run over to the window before the guy jumps…off their building. How does that happen? Bat signals?
- Allison and her friends speculate that the football player might’ve been pushed by his friend Clark…who Allison spoke with in the aforementioned English class after he’d stood there watching Tommy jump.
- Jennifer drives her car from the high school “for five minutes” in order to park in a lot across from the high school.
- Two minutes after Tommy’s suicide, Allison notes that the event would make a great story for Journalism class, then after school’s let out Molly mentions that Allison should write a story about it in Journalism class, and Allison internal-monologues that that had never occurred to her before now. Certainly not four pages ago at all.
- At first Allison says she’d heard rumors about suicides at the high school, then in the next chapter she’s offering that up as fact and providing details about one of the deaths.
- At one point, a day begins with breakfast, then Allison and her friends go to a cafe, are there for maybe an hour, come home to have lunch, then Allison’s cop brother (who started work at 9am that day) returns home maybe another hour later and goes to bed.
- Several characters carry Kindles (aw) but the main character carries a NOOK, which is always written as NOOK, in all capital letters. Which is ANNOYING.
And those are just my notes from the first 20% of the book.
Additionally, the book really needed both an editor and a copy editor. Random capitalizations, missing capitalizations, incorrect word use, spelling errors, layout problems, your/you’re problems.
Come on now: “The school was comprised of girls who wore tight-fitting clothes from Hollister, Forever 21, Limited, Express. Cool, sheik.”
Nope, they’re still in Manhattan and no one’s of Arabic descent. Still, grammar problems can all be ironed out with editing. Logicfail much less so.
The plot is your standard angels vs demons set at a high school in NYC (spoiler: demons are trying to take over Manhattan; adults oblivious), but Allison is both unlikeable (which can be fine) and boring (not fine). She’s just mean. She constantly thinks smack about Molly and Jennifer, she feels like the janitor at school “owes her one” because she helped him with his English (<.<), and she and her friends have a hissyfit when they show up to their favorite cafe to find new transfer students sitting on THEIR couch. She confines her scorn to girls, especially ones who dare to look at Dameon, the dude who skirted around the wall in the first paragraph. She teases Molly about her mom not giving her enough to eat.
Also, whichever neighborhood of Manhattan this story takes place in, it has houses and elm trees and a river running through it. I’m just saying, I could’ve used a few more high-rises and subways for this particular Manhattan. And everyone in this book is white except, of course, for the janitor.
Overall, the plot has a basic consistency that will work for anyone with a vested interest in angels vs. demons and/or who can let logic wash over them like updrafts from the beating of a giant pair of wings. Who they ultimately assign the ownership of those wings to will likely determine how well they enjoy the story. But for me, the accumulated negatives outweighed any amusement value from this book.
© 2012 – 2013, oddmonster. All rights reserved.
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