Katinki's Reviews > Immortal City

Immortal City by Scott Speer
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's review
Apr 10, 2012

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bookshelves: angel-books
Read in April, 2012

3.5 stars

I'll give this author credit. He (and yes, my mind kind of bobbled over the fact that he's a he) surprised me - in a good way. In the massive field of YA/romance angel books, he's managed to craft something a little different from the norm. And that, in and of itself, was notable.

Some things I liked:
- As mentioned above, this was something new, plot-wise. There's certainly the paranormal YA angel romance thing going on, but there's also bit of good old crime drama in here, too.
- The setting is unique, as well, and the time period. It's not dystopian, which is all the rage right now and getting old quick IMHO. Instead, it's... AU, I suppose. Like alternate universe with the introduction of the angels, but present-day RL everything else. That's kind of nifty, to borrow the old term.
- When I started reading this story, I was struck by the amount of sensory description and set up that was given. See, I'm a visual person, so for me, it was a welcome change from the often sensory-starved scenes I often deal with in some of the YA I run across. I had a bit of a chuckle when I checked out the author's profile and saw that he's also a movie and music video director - makes all the sense in the world now.
- I liked Jacks and Maddie. I bought the chemistry there.
- And what's more important, since this was written in 3rd person, it didn't fall prey to the Mary Sue trap. You know what I'm talking about - all these YA books written in 1st person from the perspective of a mousy, brown-haired blank slate of a girl. Sure, there was some of that when we were sitting in Maddie's head, but because it was 3rd and because we also saw Jacks' version of Maddie, we realized that Maddie's opinions of herself were just that - opinions. There was something special about her. She wasn't just some fill in the blank girl. Same thing for Jacks. We saw not only the super hot, charming, perfect angel, but what was there underneath, too. This is why 3rd person is our friend, people.
- I won't spoil, but I rather liked that little twist at the end with the villain. I wasn't expecting it and that's a nice change from the normal YA reader - to be surprised a bit. Usually they're so predictable you can pretty much skim. But no, this book had a nice OH! moment.
- THANK YOU for no real love triangle - the most overused YA angst device ever.

What needed some work:
- You know how I said I loved all the sensory description? I did. But in a few places, it was overdone and it made the story drag.
- Maddie got... a little old with her constant pushing back on Jacks. And the scene at the train station at the end was a little contrived.
- The ending was a little rushed, and that revelation re: Maddie was kind of abrupt. While it was somehow foreshadowed, I'd have liked to have seen some more development there.
- Kill it with all the pop culture references. Some, fine, I get it. But in the end, it severely dates the story. 10 years from now, it won't be relevant at all.
- More character development, especially on the secondaries, is needed.
- The writing, while rather clean and very readable, was a little choppy for my taste - a little too subject-verb-object. I'd like to see that kicked up a little in terms of complexity and sophistication.

All in all, this isn't a bad read at all. I'm impressed by this debut (I'm assuming) work, and go ahead and count me in on the next installment.
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