Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow
Series: Strange Angels #1 (1/5)
Published by Razorbill on May 14, 2009
Genres: [Young Adult] Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Horror
2 Stars, Completed April 19, 2015
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I’m the reader that revisits books that I couldn’t get into initially or didn’t enjoy the first time around. Sometimes the time and mood affects the overall enjoyment, and I don’t want to miss a great book. This was one of those books. I tried reading Strange Angels when it was first released but couldn’t get through it. So, yes, it’s been collecting dust on my shelf for roughly 5 years. When I recently picked it up again, I was reminded why this was so difficult to get into and couldn’t help but hate myself for doing this yet again.
Dru Anderson is a spunky and kickbutt heroine, who possesses “the touch” and helps her father exterminate “things that go bump in the night,” basically the nasty supernaturals. One night her dad returns as the reanimated, a zombie, and, in a moment of frenzy to stay alive, she shoots her father and he literally crumbles into a heap of dust. Despite her prior training and familiarity with the life of a hunter, she’s still an inexperienced teenager and becomes even more lost without her dad’s guidance.
Throughout the book, Dru is mentally strong and doesn’t whine, which is at first received well until you get further inside her head. The moments where she ponders “what would dad do” often comes off repetitive and annoying. I expected the emotional turmoil after her father’s death, but for a short fictitious story her repetitive monologues made the book rather trite and incredibly slow-paced. Another thing that really bugged me was how there were so many variations of spelling for different paranormal supernaturals, such as werwulf instead of werewolf (and 3 variants for the word dhampir). I know Lili St. Crow was trying to use creative locutions, but the myriad of variations for the different type of vampires was overwhelming for the reader, especially since Dru couldn’t exactly explain the differences between them being new to all this herself. Another huge issue was how tortoise-slow the plot was. I had an awful time trekking through this book because there was so much extraneous verbiage. Many times I skipped over these passages that were full of failed imagery. And some minor details that bothered me as well was the lack of editing. I found quite a few spelling errors especially towards the later half of the book.
Despite all this bashing, like all 2-2.5 stars books there were still some moments I enjoyed such as the encounter with Dru’s zombie father, the mall incident with the flaming wolf and werwulf, the moment when Christophe shows up, and the standoff with Sergej. All the action parts were done really well, I wish there were more of those scenes. The characters were surprisingly likable and well-constructed. Dru’s repetitive thoughts put aside, she portrayed a realistic and young badbutt in the making. She was obviously shaken with the events pertaining to her zombie dad, but she handled it and other unfortunate events gracefully. The supporting characters were pretty unique. There’s Graves, a half-Asian boy that doesn’t complain, possesses fears (as all real life guys have), and is actually kind. Whereas, Christophe is the bad boy all paranormal books must include. He’s bossy, mysterious, and also cares about Dru.
And the last redeeming quality of this book was golden. There were so many opportunities to use these male figures and create a love triangle, but Lili St. Crow didn’t take this cliché bait. Instead Strange Angels focused more on Dru’s discovery of The Order and Sergej than the romance. I’m sure a love triangle will sprout along the way at some point of the series, but I’m actually looking forward to it, it already seems unique and unconventional.
So overall, the idea of the book was promising and had so much potential, but the way it was executed was rather disappointing for me. The buildup was slow and there was a lot of unnecessary descriptive prose when there could have been some action. Honestly, the action scenes were the only segments I found well written and fast-paced. Despite the many complaints, Strange Angels still had some intriguing parts I enjoyed and the nice ending made me want to read more. I own a few more of these books in the series anyway, so I think I’ll continue with the rest for now.
Have a great Sunday everyone! ^.^