Title: A Temptation of Angels
Author: Michelle Zink
Length: 448 pages
Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers
Rating: 5 stars
Rating: 5 stars
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.
Look Ma...No Wings!
I am tickled pink to report that though this is "angelic themed YA," there is nary a feather to be had throughout the entire read.
This means that you will not find any of the following in this book:
1. Shedding, molting, preening, or flying.
2. No references to wingspan, color, or feather size.
3. No mysterious photo-shoot breezes that only effect the wings and the hair of the angel in question.
4. No stroking, fondling, or wing molestation of ANY sort.
5. No wrapping, covering, or shielding, of ANYONE at ANYTIME with afore mentioned plumage.
...and my personal favorite.
6. No forbidden wing reveal to the poor mortal slob that can do nothing more than gawk and stare at the miraculous sight, as said angel both declares his/her undying love and swears his/her mortal love to secrecy; only to later blow his/her own cover while trying to save his/her mortal love.
If you must have must have feathers, I know a couple of places that sell feather dusters 'real cheap.'
Not to worry...dear reader.
The fact that there is no "winged" travel, does not mean that there is not travel befitting our angelic emissaries. This is far form the case. The way that these angels get around is so fitting and so ingenious that you will want to "jump" for joy. (If you want to know what that means, you're gonna have to read the book.)
Helen had a life, a home, a family...until they came.
Now she has to start over with nothing but a pendant, a note, and everything that she ever learned.
This is where things really start to get interesting.
It turns out that the note leads her to two brothers named Darius and Griffin,
The pendant is the key that unlocks mysteries that she could never have fathomed; let alone imagined herself the center of.
As for what she knows...(you're going to have to read the book.)
Griffin is the boy that every girl dreams of. He is the sexy, understanding, hero who "saves stray kittens."
"Really girls, I'm not kidding here. He actually saves a stray kitten."
He is the person that teaches Helen how and what it means to be a "Keeper".
He is the person that she comes to lean on, and in a short time to love.
Darius, on the other hand...
Darius spends most of his time condescending to and distrusting Helen. He is all about the mission at all costs. Even when it becomes clear that Helen is a critical part of that mission. Before you throw the baby out with the bathwater however, there are reasons for the ice that runs through Darius' veins. (If you want to know what they are...you're going to have to read the book.)
This is the true enigma of the story. When first we meet, Raum seems to be the bad guy. A hot bad guy, but a bad guy nonetheless. As time and the story progress, we find that like Shrek's onion, our boy has layers. One of which just happens to cover details of a past relationship with Helen.
It is this past that will ultimately save not only Helen's life, but the world.
A Brave New World
The world that is England in the early 1900's is one of progress and inventive creativity. This fact is one that lends itself completely to the cloak and dagger James Bond-esque tone of the novel. It also allows for the steampunk element of the story that Michelle so masterfully included. In a strange way, this foray into the past does a lot to explain the paradox that is Helen. She is the first to admit that she is not the most "physical" of creatures, but given the fact that she lives in the time of the "horseless carriage" and corset; we have to give her much respect.
Famous Last Words.
I could sit here forever telling you all the things that I hope that you will take away from the literary treasure trove that is "A Temptation of Angels," but I think that task is one best left to the authoress herself. When I asked her what she hoped that readers would take away from her work?
Her reply was...
"Just that I hope they'll find Helen's journey not only one that tests the bounds of physical strength, but her capacity for love and forgiveness, too, as all of our capacity is tested in this mysterious journey we call life." - Michelle Zink