15 May 2012

A Temptation of Angels by Michelle Zink

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.

When first discovering A Temptation of Angels, I was engrossed by the storyline (if a bit put off by the prospect of a love triangle) because it appeared to be an action-packed story set in a Victorian-style London full of political intrigue and stunning romance.  Well, there was action and there were some nice romantic scenes, but overall, I was disappointed.  What the summary promised, the story did not deliver.  As this is my first of Michelle Zink's work, I'm not encouraged to pick up another of her stories.

The main character, Helen, was promising...at first.  I liked her quick and inquisitive mind in the opening chapters, but as the story began to set in, I was unimpressed.  I couldn't exactly place why other than a few cases of horribly chosen arguments.  Her tenacity was endearing until it became irritating.  I believe having her particular character in the third person wasn't the best for the story.  I felt distanced from her; this complete inability to connect to her.

When the romance started, I was torn between being enraptured and frustrated.  It, like the beginning of the story, started too quickly and proceeded with frightening predictability.  Of course she's going to develop immediate feelings for a man she's living with, who teaches her to use her angelic powers and swears to protect her.  And of course she's going to be "torn" between him -- the dedicated protector -- and a man she played with...when she was five.  Love triangles are a horrifying creation of torture in young adult literature, truly.

The plot itself was rather weak.  It wasn't very tightly wrapped.  It seemed to be a story about Helen's emotional journey -- mourning her parents, growing into her role in her new world and trying not to get herself killed -- but with sudden, harsh missteps into this "bigger picture".  I got bored with it after a while.  I saw there was direction, but I didn't feel the pull to see the characters through.  It just got...boring.

Michelle Zink's writing, besides the third person point of view, was good.  What drew me to her in the first place was what I read briefly from The Prophecy of the Sisters and how I was impressed with her style.  I say "good" because it didn't keep me glued to the pages, but I wasn't repulsed by it either.  I did see a lot of telling and not showing, but there were also a lot of great lines.

Overall, not a fan.  It just wasn't a book that appealed to me.

Something scraped the outside of the wall, and Helen's head jerked up in response to the sound.  It seemed impossible that the man on the other side of the door could not hear her breathing.  That he could not feel her cowering as she felt him seeking. (p. 11)
Book Info:

  • pages - hardcover, 435
  • published - March 2012
  • publisher - Dial Books for Young Readers
  • genre - historical fiction/steampunk
  • received via - public library :)
  • rating - 3/5