Monday, January 31, 2011

Book Review: Fallen Angel by Heather Terrell



Ellie was never particularly good at talking to boys—or anyone other than her best friend and fellow outcast, Ruth. Then she met Michael.

Michael is handsome, charming, sweet. And totally into Ellie. It’s no wonder she is instantly drawn to him. But Michael has a secret. And he knows Ellie is hiding something, too. They’ve both discovered they have powers beyond their imagining. Powers that are otherworldly.

Ellie and Michael are determined to uncover what they are, and how they got this way . . . together. But the truth has repercussions neither could have imagined. Soon they find themselves center stage in an ancient conflict that threatens to destroy everything they love. And it is no longer clear whether Ellie and Michael will choose the same side.

In this electrifying novel, Heather Terrell spins a gripping supernatural tale about true love, destiny, and the battle of good versus evil.


The Short Version:
Blending a few paranormal elements, Fallen Angel uses an interesting mythology to put a twist on the angel lore. Though slow to start, and admittedly trite in a few plot points, the strong writing and second half pull together to make this worth the read. With a mix of the fantasy angle and the high school setting, a likable protagonist, and plenty of mystery, Terrell puts in enough questions to keep the pages turning.

The Extended Version:
Ellie is, overall, a likable and relatable character. She isn't that popular at school, though mostly okay with having really only one friend, and is intelligent and has an open mind to a lot of things that makes her sympathetic. She doesn't see herself clearly, somewhat beaten down by the daily pace of things, but she also doesn't give in easily too the usual high school drama and cliques not because she's trying to prove something, but because that's simply how she is and how she was raised. She has a great relationship with her parents, which adds a nice element to the story, and most notable about her is the fact that despite his looks and appeal, at the start, Michael scares her. She doesn't just ignore the fear, she listens to it, and resists, which was refreshing to read.

Michael is an interesting character, and though a stereotypical love interest in some ways, his intelligent and knowledge are endearing. But what sets it apart more is the fact that he has theories, and they are just that. Theories. He isn't actually all knowing, just waiting for Ellie to clue in, and together they have to figure things out. The reasons behind his presence and why he seems to remember and know more than her is well played, revealed at steady intervals while still keeping an overall mystery till the right moments.

Though the first third to half of this book was admittedly slow, it certainly has its moments of engaging the reader. There is a strong high school element to this one, and though it does seem to detract in some places given the overall concept and nature of the book, it also helps blend Ellie's attempts to keep her abilities a secret and maintain a 'normal' life. With a budding romance mixed in, and an interesting mythology that is, overall, well thought out, the second portion of this book kicks things up and drives to a good climax.

While Ellie's character is well done, some of the others did seem to fall flat, being convenient more than anything, though they did serve their purpose to drive both Ellie and the plot. There were some trite story elements, but Terrell also mixed in plenty of her own things or put a nice twist on others to give it enough refreshing elements to certainly be worth the read. The explanations on several of the mysteries and subplots are well thought out and the worldbuilding is easy to follow.

Terrell's writing gives note to Ellie's intelligence, and though it doesn't have quite the right note of voice for my personal taste, it is still enjoyable to read and not on an elementary level. There is a steady stream of descriptions that paint everything from physical feelings to the settings, giving a strong sensory component. Add in the overall plot and a bold protagonist, and Fallen Angel is a good start to what could turn out to be a great trilogy.

Source: ARC received from publisher in exchange for an honest review
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: December 28, 2010


  1. Thanks for the review I've read some rather unfavorable reviews, so I wasn't sure if it was actually worth my time. But now I want to read it and give it a chance.