Whatchyareading's Reviews > A Temptation of Angels

A Temptation of Angels by Michelle Zink
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Mar 20, 2012

bookshelves: caitlin, kate, paranormal, series, young-adult
Read in March, 2012

One of the earliest books Kate and I bonded over was Michelle Zink’s Prophecy of the Sisters. And over the next two years we got to read the rest of the trilogy, if not together then at least in the spirit of togetherness, all with much discussion about Dimitri and sisters and awesomeness. So, when the amazing people at Penguin Teen offered to send us an early manuscript of A Temptation of Angels, we jumped all over the chance!

I posted my mini-review of A Temptation of Angels months ago, but I’m so happy that now that the release day is TOMORROW (squueeeee!) we can post our full review of awesomeness.

WARNING: We tried to keep it spoiler free, but if you’re reading between the lines at all, we totally ruin a part of the ending. Sorry about that.

Caitlin: I promised myself that Darius wouldn’t be the first thing I mentioned in this review. I thought I could mention the awesome setting, or Helen, or the very original world in which the story takes place…but who I am kidding. I love Darius!

Kate: I enjoyed Darius, too. I liked how grown-up he seemed. Being an “adult” young-adult reader, I’m always so glad to see authors transcend the usual YA boundaries and insert a character who isn’t a teenager (please see: Clockwork Angel and Melina Marchetta: generally).

Caitlin: Really? You’re going to encourage my talking about Darius? I can go at this all night. I just love how he’s so protective of Anna, even though she doesn’t like it. And I love how he’s abrasive with everyone, except Anna.

And and and….I’ll stop now, seeing as this book isn’t actually about Darius.

Kate: Good. Because I think we better back up and talk about the plot and important details like, oh, who Anna is?

Caitlin: She’s the daughter of Galizur!

Kate: Obviously. But before we can get to any of that, we have to talk about Helen, because Helen IS this book for me.

Caitlin: I suppose I can stay quiet about Darius for awhile. Helen is pretty awesome.

Kate: What I liked about Helen was how well developed she was. We saw her come into herself in this book. We saw her display a lot of strength and gumption. She wasn’t fearless, but the fact that she worked around the tragedy that landed her with Darius and Griffin made me really respect her.

Caitlin: Agreed! I loved how the first thing we see of Helen is her hiding in a closet. And then throughout the book we basically get to see her burst out of that closet with strength and self assurance. It was a gratifying journey that we took with her. Not only in a romantic sense, but her journey of self-discovery which, I think, allowed her to make the choice she had to make at the end without regret.

Kate: Helen makes a lot of choices because she’s faced with a lot of them. She’s such an active participant in her own life. I liked how much she thinks about things. For example, boys. She has to make a choice about two boys and she’s completely smart and together about it, but she’s not immune to the charms of either.

I, obviously being me and sort of a strange person in general, rooted for a boy who I probably shouldn’t root for. He’s the kind of boy that, if I were to spawn, I would warn my daughters away from. But because Michelle made him so twisty and complicated, I felt twisty and complicated about him. I think Raum was far and away one of the most interesting bad boys I’ve ever read, if only because he’s so unapologetic about it.

Caitlin: What I really liked about the two boys is that it didn’t really feel like a love triangle. Love triangles are something I’m sick of in young adult literature and they are a complete turn off to me. But, and Michelle did this in the Prophecy of the Sisters trilogy as well, the two boys are part of two completely different parts of the Helen’s life and…I don’t know how to describe it. But in a book that clearly has a focus on a love triangle, it doesn’t make me extremely angry. And that is rare.

Kate: I actually like a love triangle that’s done well. Sometimes, I am so invested in that element of the plot that it becomes my focus. I’m so myopic that I become one of those annoying people who declares a book dead to me when my choice ship does not pan out. But that didn’t happen here at all. I think that goes back to the strength of Helen, but I also think it goes back to the fact that I liked Griffin, too. I didn’t think he had the strange sarcastic charisma of Darius, but I could tell that he and Helen would make a good fit. All of those things go to the strength of the storytelling.

Caitlin: I guess I just thought that each boy had a very separate place in Helen’s heart and the point of her journey, plot aside, was to figure out which life she belonged in. So, it wasn’t so much about the boys representing different parts of her life and Helen having to make a choice as, in figuring out her life she the boy of choice became apparent.

Kate: That’s a great way to put it. And I’m so proud of you. I gave you a perfect Darius segue and you went back to Helen. Because that’s how awesome she was in this book.

Caitlin: I’m trying to grow. Though, yes, his sarcastic charisma is a big part of his charm

Kate: In the beginning, I liked he and Helen. And maybe part of me still does. He needs a woman who can stand up and be his equal. But then, I loved Anna. I loved her genuine sweetness. I love how she tempered his sarcasm and made him seem more human, and it’s hard to argue with that.

Caitlin: I know. They’re just so sweet. But I will say, I desperately need an Anna/Darius focused book because I think she does stand up to him. I think he’s just as over bearing toward her as he is to everyone else, he just hides it behind sweetness instead of sarcasm and I think their relationship would be amazing to watch grow and become stronger when Anna convinces Darius’ that she is capable of taking care of herself. But, that doesn’t really have much to do with this particular book.

Kate: But that would deprive me of Raum. Don’t be selfish!

Caitlin: Don’t worry! Michelle said she has ideas for a Darius book and a Raum book.

Kate: My favorite thing about this book is that we’re so obsessed with these characters that we haven’t even talked about the plot and the world-building, both of which would be the standout in almost any other book.

Caitlin: Yes! The Victorian computers! The intricate Keeper system! There’s a character named Galizur for Pete’s sake. All awesome things.

Kate: And the mystery was so well paced. I felt pulled along the whole time, but not in that frantic, someone grabbing you by the hand and yanking you around way. I felt like I was chasing someone in that exhilarating way, someone who was just out of reach until the end and BAM. Everything came together.

I liked how frequently clues were dropped. I like that we weren’t told things as often as we were shown them. And I liked how hands-on Helen was in her quest to get those answers. It gave the reveals so much more impact.

Caitlin: Yes! I remember one of the times that Helen followed the boys somewhere, and I was all “so much has happened already, maybe you should just sleep!” But Helen wouldn’t let herself wait, or relax, she had to be in the thick of the plot figuring stuff out and hunting around. I loved that about her as a character and it made the book well paced and hard to put down.

Kate: And it was hard to put down. It was even harder to put down knowing that it could be a standalone, which would pretty much be the worst book-related thing to happen to me in a long time.

Caitlin: Yes!!! What if I don’t get any more Darius!!! I…I don’t know what I would do.

Reviewed at WhatchYAreading on March 19, 2012.
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