E-book, 330 pages
Published March 22th, 2016 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Genre: YA (Urban) Fantasy
There are only three weeks left in Indie Month; time sure flies by! Today’s post is going to be extra spesjul because I joined forces with Cindy from My Book File. We both wanted to read this book and after a bit of brainstorming, we decided to turn this into a buddy read with a double review. What the heck is a double review?! Yeah, we didn’t really know that either but, in this case, it means that we (well, Cindy did all the work when it comes to the questions because I’m a slowpoke) created some questions which we will answer alternately. Jetzt geht’s los! (that’s German for BOO-YAH!) Also, you’re lucky if you’re colourblind because it’s going to be a colour fest below, subtly inspired by the cover of the book and the Dutch flag.
“The ultimate power lies dormant in her blood…until she spills another’s.
When eighteen-year-old Evelyn Brooks is attacked by a man who can control demons, she finds out she is a Nephilim with angelic essence, and her only remaining family is killed.
In the turmoil and grief that follow, Evelyn discovers a world where the celestial and terrestrial are linked by two secret, angelic societies. She is pulled into their struggle and discovers that her own talents have the capacity to save and destroy.
Will she be able to control her new powers to save her friends? The boy she begins to love? Or will her longing for revenge blind her to the betrayal following her since day one?”
~What was your view on the book before you started reading?~
Anne: The author told me it had a lot of things in common with the Mortal Instruments series. I haven’t read a single one of the books in that series (or subseries) yet, so I didn’t really know what to expect, apart from it being YA and Fantasy involving angels and demons. Oh, and cheesy jokes. I love cheesy jokes. So you can say my expectations were undefined, yet also highish? The cover looks very professional and cool, which definitely made me curious as soon as I saw it!
Cindy: I was told the same thing by the author but unlike Anne I’ve read the first two books of The Mortal Instruments and (only recently) I started to watch the series (thanks Netflix). So I had some idea of what I could expect. I was really looking forward to the jokes and curious about the rest and like Anne already mentioned, the cover was appealing, so you can definitely say that my expectation were above average.
After reading the book:
~What was your impression of the novel (concept and setting)?~
Cindy: The setting is Urban Fantasy and so it is not hard to imagine what everything looks like since it is set in our contemporary society. The concept of the Nephilim is not unfamiliar because it is comparable to the series of The Mortal Instruments written by Cassandra Clare. First of all, I want to say that I really did like the idea of essence. Everyone (human or non-human) has essence and it is decided by their actions if the essence is light or dark. This novel touches many Biblical events and I would have liked it if the subjects were not just slightly touched but had been described with more detail and with more interaction concerning the event and the characters involved. Don’t get me wrong, there were some interactions between events and characters but these things were simply to mention something about the main character (see my opinion on her below).
I felt like this series is going to be a combination of other YA series that were written in the last couple of years, series as Percy Jackson, Black Magician and The Mortal Instruments. Once every few pages, there was an aspect that seemed to come from one series or another, it was just too much. I am aware that it’s difficult to write something out of the ordinary these days since fantasy is a hype, but because of the similarity between this series and many others the original aspects of the novel (like the essence part and features concerning the Nephilim) are not that visible.
There was also a promise of action, witty jokes and romance but to be quite honest, I didn’t perceive it in a good way. Perhaps I am no longer the right audience for YA novels, though, I can lose myself in one if it’s amusing/good enough. When there was action it was weak and unclear because of the lack of detail on the fight itself. I didn’t really laugh at any of the jokes… could be me but I wasn’t at all that amused and the romance was just… there. Romance I can live with, I actually love chick lit once in a while and I’m always in for a good love story but this was just not it for me. It was the usual see and fall in love and then get betrayed scenario. This point leads to my last comment in this section: everything was too predictable. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with clichés or being predictable but only when it occurs sometimes. In this case, I could see it all coming from miles away without trying. There was no suspense, no moment when I wondered; how is this going to end?! Omg can’t handle this?!… it simply wasn’t there.
Anne: I only knew about the Nephilim due to playing Diablo 3 and I think the idea of the Fallen Angels I had pretty much corresponded to the ones described in this book. The good Angel-offspring , however, was totally different than I expected. I guess I assumed they were able to fly or something instead of being able to lift a Volkswagen.They just seemed rather weak compared to the dark side, but I notice that in every good vs. bad storyline, so that’s nothing new here.
I also liked the idea of Essence and not just the light or dark aspects, but colourful Essence everywhere. Imagine looking around and seeing the world as if oxygen can poop rainbows. I’d say yes to that!
I haven’t read many popular YA Fantasy during the past 10 years or so, so I can’t draw the same comparisons as Cindy, yet I saw correlations with Legend of Korra, Battlestar Galactica, Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials and many more. This didn’t bother me all too much (I mean, hey, it shows that the author is a fellow member of the geekosphere), except for the yellow-eyed Mr.Nasty which could’ve stepped right out of Supernatural…
Cheesy jokes, yes! I didn’t laugh at them either…and this is the second time this year where I was rubbing my hands in anticipation of some chuckles and didn’t so much as twitch a nostril because of it. Maybe we Dutch folk are too influenced by the British or something *shrugs*.
The romance part was instalove basically and not something I enjoyed either. And predictability? Yes, definitely a lot of that. When Cindy was a couple of chapters ahead of me and asked me “Guess what just got revealed?”, I could pretty much guess it in one go. Except for the ending…I mean, I knew something fishy was up, but I didn’t expect it to be that fishy. Tu dun dun!
~Who was the protagonist and what did you think of him/her?~
Anne: Evelyn Brooks, a.k.a. Eve (speaking of biblical things eh?) is the 18-year-old protagonist of the story. After her mother died (and father sort of took off), she was raised by her grandfather, together with her best friend Ria. I honestly don’t know what to think of Eve. During the first half of the book, I found her to be a bit whiny and basically kind of worshipping her grandfather (I’ll come back to that later). On the other hand, she can kick some serious butt and loses control of herself occasionally, which can be refreshing. The instant drooling over Josh, though….pfff.
Cindy: I agree with Anne on this one. There is nothing else to say for me really, Anne has said it all ( the force is strong in this one).
~How were the other characters formed?~
Cindy: The rest of the characters were just empty. No real background, not even a good enough description except for some minor description of Evelyn’s guardian Nate and some physical features of some characters. Usually, it is just the explanation of a skill and if the person is nice, yes or no. Those things are not even close to being characters… they are just filling.
Anne: I agree that a lot of the characters were a bit stereotypical: Badboy/hunk Josh, sassy finger-snapping teenage friend Ria , whom I disliked from the start…there isn’t a lot of depth to their personalities. I did like Freddy and Miranda, though!
~Did the author create an accessible novel or was it hard to get through it?~
Anne: I think the writing in itself was quite good. The sentences were very well constructed, there were no typos and the use of language was intelligent (I’d expect nothing less from an English teacher). However, I did notice that some of the scenes’ descriptions didn’t make any sense to me. A note I made somewhere: “WTF, they were way up high out of view??” illustrates this nicely. I just often couldn’t get a clear picture of the surroundings. And then there’s a bit of repetitiveness in the first 50% or so, specifically when it comes to the word ‘Grandpa’: 201 times…that’s pretty excessive. Another one of my notes says “WE KNOW NOW!”. Nuf said. I finished the book within 4-5 days, though, while hardly having the time to read properly, so it wasn’t that hard to get through.
Cindy: We really need to disagree more, Anne, that would make a way more interesting double review hahaha. Still, I have to agree with you. The overall flow was nice, there was no random sidetracking or scene of which I thought could have been left out and there was no use of complex language. Quite straightforward. I finished the book in about 4 days or so. It would have been nice if there had been some more detail but this is a part of what I mentioned in my overall impression so I will not say more about this. Anne, don’t even get me started with ‘grandpa’ (or other versions of the word) or peachy… really… just don’t.
~Does this book have an: ‘Omfg, I didn’t see this coming at all!?!’-moment?~
Cindy: No, not really.
Anne: I can’t say that I didn’t see things coming at ALL, but like I said before, there were a few things (like the ending) that did surprise me a little.
~*drum ruffle* The final verdict?~
Anne: I find this one really hard to rate because it really isn’t a bad book, but I can’t say I truly enjoyed it to bits either. That being said, like Cindy, I think I might have outgrown these kinds of stories as well. A.k.a.:
I still think a lot of young people will really like this book, though, and I do wonder about what will happen in the sequel myself as well. So I’m going to give it 2.5 brownies. It was an okay read, but I hope the sequel will have some more depth to it.
Cindy: I had just expected so much more but instead it left me empty and not really interested in what would happen next. Like Anne, I think that this book will definitely do well with a young audience for 14-18 year-olds. The text in itself was alright, but the story was not really what I had hoped and maybe even expected it to be. For my rating, I used Goodreads in this case, so I give this book 2 stars because I think it is okay but it was lacking some things for me.
2.5 stars and recommended to a younger audience. There’s still some creepy violence in it, so we’d say this is very suitable for 14-18-year-olds.
A big thank you to G.R.Fillinger for providing us with a copy of his book in exchange for an honest review!
Links to the book:
~About the Author~
G. R. Fillinger is a youngadult fantasy author with a propensity for action, pop culture, romance, and jokes–very cheesy jokes. He likes to explore themes of identity, free will, and true love. Most of all, he loves to create and discover those hidden worlds that only a chosen few know about.
He cultivates his skills as a writer by eavesdropping and collecting phrases aged to perfection. If you’re midconversation and he turns away to write something, chances are it’ll
end up in a book. If you see his eyes glaze over, it’s because he’s forgotten his notebook, lost his pen, and is presently repeating the phrase over and over so he doesn’t forget it. It’s nothing personal. You’re probably just hilarious. Either that, or he’s trying to curse you. Take it as you will.
G. R. Fillinger has a BA in English Literature and an MA in Education. Currently, he teaches Creative Writing at a high school in southern California. Like writing, teaching is a passion, and he wouldn’t give it up. Not only do his kids come up with the most offthewall ideas and sayings, but they also seem to learn something occasionally. Being a part of that is quite a rush.
He also loves to travel, especially if it involves camping and hiking. It’s a chance to quiet his mind and learn to look at the world in a different way. That, and he gets to spend copious amounts of uninterrupted time with his family.
When he’s not writing, he spends time with his wife and newborn son. Right now, he’s really diggin’ the whole newdad thing. Bedtime songs are the best.