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I Belong


Review: A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford

Title: A Touch Mortal

Author: Leah Clifford

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

Series: A Touch Trilogy (Book 1)

Publication Date: February 22, 2011

Format: Hardcover, 419 pages

ISBN-10: 0062004999 (Harper Teen)

ISBN-13: 978-0062004994 (Harper Teen)

Reviewed by: Emmy

Synopsis:

Eden didn’t expect Az.

Not his saunter down the beach toward her. Not his unbelievable pick up line. Not the instant, undeniable connection. And not his wings.

Yeah.

So long happily-ever-after.

Now trapped between life and death, cursed to spread chaos with her every touch, Eden could be the key in the eternal struggle between heaven and hell. All because she gave her heart to one of the Fallen, an angel cast out of heaven.

She may lose everything she ever had. She may be betrayed by those she loves most. But Eden will not be a pawn in anyone else’s game. Her heart is her own.

And that’s only the beginning of the end.

Quick & Dirty: Based on interesting mythology, the switches in POVs and insta-love between Eden and Az were serious drawbacks that kept me from getting seriously invested in the plot or characters. A Touch Mortal makes light of teen suicide and depression, which made me resent it.

Opening Sentence: Eden dug her hand into the damp sand, black polish chipping off the tips of her fingernails.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

At the very beginning of the novel, our heroine is thinking about committing suicide. Her family and friends don’t seem to care about her — they’ve been ignoring her for weeks — and so she’s sitting on the beach at sunset. And a hot, paragon of a guy walks up to her and she decides to keep living. No, seriously. It takes three pages for her to fall in love.

Put on Face of Judgment. I have a serious problem with authors making their characters live for a man — this happened in Bewitching by Alex Flinn too — so you should know I had a problem with this novel from the get-go.

Eden is something called a Sider. Basically, it’s a teenager who goes down a dark path like Eden (or no path? This part was confusing.) and ultimately kills themselves. (The dark side, contrary to propaganda, does not have cookies.) A Sider lives out their immortal life in a horribly-ever-after, where they need Touch to survive. It’s confusing and complicated and really cool, because it puts our heroine in a life-or-death limbo. She has to Touch mortals and it’s a shot in the dark whether her Touch will make them very happy or depressed enough to off themselves. Explanations for the world of Siders, Angels, Fallen, Damned, are scattered throughout the novel. Clifford did a great job of making sure not to throw too much at her readers at once, while also crediting us with enough intelligence to figure out what she’s talking about.

Eden’s character felt false for a very long time — actually, it wasn’t until I finished the book that I finally looked back over how she grew through the novel and appreciated her. Her confidence grows as she begins to become more independent and understands her powers. Her insta-love with Az? Strike one. He uses a really cheesy pick-up line and she goes out with him and it’s all true love and rainbows. Honestly, it’s what made me doubt her intelligence for the first half of the novel.

And then there’s the fact that no matter how many times they made out and told each other they were in love, I didn’t believe them. It felt like some hot-and-heavy lust from two teenagers — not a happily-ever-after, true love deal. Also, there’s this whole Az-being-her-former-lover-who-betrayed-her thing that I couldn’t get over. I mean, Az and Gabe convince Eden to kill herself. So the romance was a major miss for me, and kinda screwed over any chance this book had of getting a high rating.

A Touch Mortal is a lot darker than more paranormals I’m used to — and not just because our heroine is very Goth. (In fact, very stereotypically Goth.) I like all the mythos and world-building that Clifford dropped in to establish the trilogy, there were a lot of characters that showed up because they’ll have a bigger role later. They bogged down the story, but at the same time took me away from Eden and Az, who I didn’t like at all until the very end.

It glamourizes teenage suicide and depression, issues very close to my heart, which made it impossible to give a higher rating.

Notable Scene:

Her face paled when he moved toward her. “Don’t come any closer!” He froze, but she stepped back anyway.

“Eden, I’m not going to hurt you. I promise.”

“Is that, like, an angel rule or something?” she asked, her breaths coming faster.

Az winced. “No, it’s a boyfriend rule. Not all angels are good.”

“Neither are all boyfriends.”

“I used to be the good kind. Of angel,” he clarified. “Bound, like Gabriel. I got in trouble. The wings, they’re like probation.” He forced himself to stop the ramble and met her eyes.

“Gabe too?” She took a shuddering breath, shaking her head. “No. No, I’ve seen Gabe with his shirt off. I’ve goneswimming with him.”

Az nodded. “The Bound don’t have wings. Neither do the Fallen.” So Fall. Lose the wings and you’ll look normal enough for her to love you.

A Touch Trilogy:

1. A Touch Mortal

2. A Touch Morbid

3. A Touch Menacing

FTC Advisory: Greenwillow Books/Harper Collins provided me with a copy of A Touch Mortal. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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