Katherine Coble's Reviews > Finding Angel

Finding Angel by Kat Heckenbach
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's review
May 05, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: books-by-friends, animal-dies
Read from August 26 to 28, 2012

This review opens with three confessions:

1. I love Harry Potter unreservedly and have read those books enough to have whole passages memorised.

2. I don't care for Christian-themed fiction as a rule.

3. I know Kat Heckenbach through an online writing forum.

So I guess I'm halfway biased for this book and halfway biased against it. But you don't care about all that. You just want to know if it's good. The short answer is: yes, very.

The longer answer goes like this:

Because of my love for Potter and my nervousness that comes from spending over a decade dodging Potter wannabes I just wasn't sure I was interested in an orphaned child who learns she has magical powers and is a Big Somebody in an alternate magical universe.

I know, right?!

Add to that the fact that Heckenbach is (like me) ardently Christian and I started to fear we'd be in for a schlocky ride. "Magic makes Baby Jesus cry".

BZZZZZZ. Incorrect. Wrong answer! Challenge your preconceptions.

This story is Heckenbach's own. While it pays homage to Potter (and Tolkein and Rothfuss and Wells and Shakespeare), she has woven together all of these elements with her own scientific and artistic outlook to come up with a tale that stands proudly on its own.

Like Patrick Rothfuss in _The Kingkiller Chronicles_, Heckenbach introduces us to a magic that is as much a science as biology or chemistry. I was tickled to find an author who makes sure her magic makes scientific sense and isn't just using it as a way to get characters in and out of tight spots. That's a much rarer treat in the world of fantasy than you'd think.

There are other treats abundantly throughout the book, including one so magnificently clever and totally awesome that I'll not spoil it for you. I will say when I first read it I shouted "Oh! WELL DONE!!! How cool!!!" right out loud. For that one moment alone the book is worth your time.

Overall I'd put it at 3.75 stars. There were a few things that I didn't like as much:

1. The relationship with her foster family felt a little disjointed and was the one place where I felt like the book was veering into Very Special Episode territory.

2. There is a storyline that is necessary to the overall plot but also seemed kind of out of place. One of the main characters involved in that plotline underwent a bit of a personality shift and was kind of unlikeable after awhile.

But come on. Neither of those are that big of a deal. Not in a book with _dragons_! Cool dragons and even a dragon ki....nevermind. I'll not spoil that either.

If you're still here I'd encourage you to stop reading this review and go read the book. It's a great way to spend some time in a great place.
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