Title: A Temptation of Angels
Author: Michelle Zink
Genre: YA Paranormal
Publication Date: March 20, 2012
Format: Hardcover, 448 Pages
ISBN-10: 0803737262 (Dial Books)
ISBN-13: 978-0803737266 (Dial Books)
Reviewed by: Emmy
Even angels make mistakes in this page-turning epic romance…
When her parents are murdered before her eyes, sixteen-year-old Helen Cartwright finds herself launched into an underground London where a mysterious organization called the Dictata controls the balance of good and evil. Helen learns that she is one of three remaining angelic descendants charged with protecting the world’s past, present, and future. Unbeknownst to her, she has been trained her whole life to accept this responsibility. Now, as she finds herself torn between the angelic brothers protecting her and the devastatingly handsome childhood friend who wants to destroy her, she must prepare to be brave, to be hunted, and above all to be strong, because temptation will be hard to resist, even for an angel.
Michelle Zink masterfully weaves historical fantasy with paranormal romance to create a gripping tale of love and betrayal.
Quick & Dirty: The plot of this stand-alone starts out fast on the first page and keeps moving quickly; tensions build around the secret descendants of angels and the stakes are high to the very end. Zink builds a convincing and mysterious world around historical London that will keep you turning the pages!
Opening Sentence: Though it was late, it was not the sound of arguing that woke Helen in the dead of night.
Within the first few pages, we’re thrust into a whole new world along with Helen Cartwright. Quickly it’s made clear that everything Helen knows, everything her parents taught her, was for a reason. For this moment when she’d be on her own, running from her parent’s murderer. Historical London is painted vividly before us as Helen runs away from the home she can never go back to, clutching a piece of paper from her mother telling her where to go. When Helen learns of the Dictata, a mysterious organization that has controlled the balance of good and evil since the beginning of the world, we find out about the world of Keepers–the descendants of angels and guardians of the world. So what about the Legion–to keep it simple they’re demons, and they have a plot from hell to kill all the Keepers.
The Keepers have always been in danger from the demons of the underworld, so why is it alarming that they’re being hunted now? Because the demons are succeeding. Because of the twenty Keepers the Dictata has appointed Helen, Darius and Griffin are all that’s left. They’re being killed off too fast for the Dictata to risk appointing new ones. This time they’re after a key that will unlock the Keeper’s library with information on the past, present, and future. Whoever gets into the room can change the past and control the future–or in the case of the demons, take over the mortal world.
Helen is a strong, smart heroine who’s thrown head first into a confusing world of magic and murder. Anyone who picks up this book will also find something special about Helen. Unlike so many heroines we read about, Helen has common sense, she is practical. These are ever elusive qualities in young adult heroines. She’s a really great narrator; her perspective on the demons-versus-angels world she’s living in really helps the plot’s momentum.
Now let’s talk about Griffin and Raum. No, not a love triangle per say, though both are set up as love interests (kinda, sorta, not really). Griffin is one of the three remaining Keepers. He and his brother Darius find themselves responsible for Helen when she shows up, scared and filthy, at their front door. He takes her in, he trains her to fight with a sickle, and of course he’s totally gorgeous. Griffin fights to protect her, he worries about her, but more than that he’s incredibly well developed as a male lead. He has his own story, which happened before this story and is independent of Helen’s. Their parents were murdered too. Darius and Griffin live in their parents’ house, waiting for a time when they can get revenge on the Legion. Raum was once Helen’s friend. He suffered nobly through her tea parties when she was little, but she grew up without him as a friend. Her parents stopped being friends with his parents, and eventually she forgot about him. But now Raum is back, and Helen is torn between the Channing brothers and the memory of the boy who played with her in her mother’s garden.
Zink explains Griffin’s love for his brother, as well as his behavior around Helen and exactly what kind of man he is. Though charming and sweet, Zink doesn’t try to make him perfect–and flawed characters are so much better. Darius is not like his brother. He’s surly and hard to please. But he puts family first, and you can tell he takes the responsibilities his parents left him seriously. One of my favorite things about this book is that it doesn’t lay everything out in front of you. It’s not like “Hey, here’s the mystery and here are some clues!” but takes the reader on a journey with the characters to find out what’s going on. Despite the fantasy elements of the story; that makes it seem so much more realistic.
I found this book incredibly engaging. I sat down and read it in a few hours–it’s not short but the story is a quick read because Helen’s narrative voice is so easy to follow. Right now the story functions as a stand-alone, though ideally Zink will turn it into a series! There are a few questions left open by the end, but nothing that prevents A Temptation of Angels from being on its own. This mystery is engaging because the stakes are set so high and the characters are so deep and unique you wonder how it’ll all end happily.
“I…It…What is this?” She did not even have the presence of mind to worry about sounding like an idiot in front of Darius.
Griffin led her gently by the arm. “Galizur will explain.”
She stumbled forward, even as she wanted to shrink in fear. In the end, her hesitation had no hope against the part of her that was drawn to the object as clearly as if it were calling her name.
It was beautiful, the azure oceans seeping into the green and gold landmasses that morphed slowly into ridged mountains. As the globe turned, the water seemed to undulate, the sand of the Sahara sifting from one side to the other. She caught the scent of salt water, wet earth, wind, and rain. “It’s the Terrenious Orb.” Galizur’s voice broke through the trance brought on by the object in front of her. “It’s a measure of our world and how secure we are in it.” He gestured at it with one hand. “And as you can see, things aren’t going very well at the moment.”
FTC Advisory: Penguin/Dial provided me with a copy of A Temptation of Angels. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.