Title: A Touch Morbid
Author: Leah Clifford
Genre: YA Paranormal
Series: A Touch Trilogy (Book 2)
Publication Date: February 28, 2012
Format: Hardcover, 304 Pages
ISBN-10: 0062005022 (Harper Teen)
ISBN-13: 978-0062005021 (Harper Teen)
Reviewed by: Emmy
Eden saved Az.
She fought and sacrificed and won him back from the most evil of evils. Now is the time for happily-ever-afters, right?
Not so fast.
A boy–even an angel–is hardly the solution to Eden’s problems. She’s still caught between life and death, still cursed to spread poison with her touch. She’s lost one best friend and another is quickly unraveling. And now something is happening to the mortals. Something very, very bad.
What happens in the dark spaces? The ones between life and death, love and hate, betrayal and redemption, sanity and delusion.
Or good and evil.
Eden is about to find out.
Quick & Dirty: About a hundred pages shorter than A Touch Mortal, this sequel is a cliff-hanger with the same drawbacks as book one — but it does leave you excited for the final installment.
Opening Sentence: When the kitten broke out of the shadows in front of Gabe, he’d though it was a rat until he heard the pathetic mewling.
Clifford takes a standard paranormal theme — Angels — and makes sure to run as far away from the stereotype as she can. Which is refreshing, but sometimes she missteps and makes you long to defenestrate this sequel. Eden, our heroine, goes through a lot in this novel and grows as a character. I still didn’t like her until the very end. (This happened in A Touch Mortal too, where I couldn’t get over her idiocy until the last 50 pages.) A Touch Mortal glamorized suicide and depression. A Touch Morbid didn’t do much better, condemning the suicide victims to hell. Even the ones that Eden killed with her Touch. You could say I’m not a happy camper with the way Clifford’s world-building holds up.
Gabe has fallen. Az is….almost falling. Kristen’s schizophrenia is back, and he’s not around to help her. Luke is bent on revenge and Madeline tugs at your heartstrings with her flavor of crazy. Jarrod is loyal to the end (I love him!) and Eden has stopped killing Siders. The cast of characters is way too big. I wish Clifford had made Madeline and Luke the main heroine/hero, because I loved to hate them (and loved to love them) and their relationship. I was much more invested in them than in anything Eden and Az did.
As it is we see a shift in the group dynamics. Jarrod points out all the changes in Eden the reader fails to notice from her point of view. Luke turns out not to be such a bad guy, which makes our gang of heroes seem really self-serving, and I liked him a lot. There are a lot more hot scenes in this novel, and it grows darker as the characters develop and grow.
Free will and choice come into play much more in A Touch Morbid than in the first book, but it felt like Clifford was rooting for Fate. It felt like every time a character had a choice, they either screwed up or made the bad call. The characters keep secrets from each other, just like in A Touch Mortal, and they never learned. Her writing is excellent, with some snarky wit that made me laugh and lighten the mood, but it wasn’t enough to make me like the novel. And the cliffhanger at the end? Lord, is that a rough way to leave an audience!
This book felt more balanced than its prequel in a lot of ways — probably because we got out of Eden and Az’s heads more and into characters I actually liked — but the problems from the first book persist. (And will probably continue throughout the series.) I just can’t bring myself to like or recommend a novel where suicide is whatever. On the other hand, this novel doesn’t make me go ragey – rage the way the first one does, so that’s something. I doubt I’ll be picking up A Touch Menacing, even though I think it’ll deliver the heartbreak and angst I love in my YAs.
“Eden, what the fuck is going on?” Jarrod demanded.
She trembled, Az’s tremors running through her. “The Bound,” she managed.
Jarrod’s mouth dropped open. They’d been a threat, but a nightmare one. Distant. “You saw them? Is he hurt?”
Az’s legs went out. He slammed his hands over his ears, his fingers digging into the sides of his head as he dropped to his knees, rolled over onto his side.
“No, Az!” Eden dropped, grabbed Az’s fingers and pried them away. “He’s Falling.”
A Touch Trilogy:
FTC Advisory: Greenwillow Books/Harper Collins provided me with a copy of A Touch Morbid. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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