This week there’s a lot of unrest in the world. I don’t think I’ve lived through quite as tumultuous year (on a global scale) as this before. 2020 is definitely a year of change, although what our future looks like I don’t know. In Australia we’ve had horrific weather, both fires in the summer and now as the weather changes cyclone grade storms battering us. In America we’ve seen riots and xenophobia on a scale that I’ve never witnessed before in my life (I wrote my opinion on it here). Globally we’ve had to deal with a new virus that threatens to plague us for decades to come. All those things alone spell a financially difficult future for some time to come.
While we shouldn’t bury our heads in the sand, sometimes you just need to get off social media and practise some escapism. I know if I didn’t my Anxiety disorder would be even worse than it currently is. Our bodies need to rest sometimes, whether that’s from physical exertion, mental stress, or adrenaline overload from our fight or flight responses. I find reading to be a way to distract myself when I just need a break. So to celebrate The Horn of Gabriel (The Lady of Zion #2) going live on the weekend I thought I would give you all some Angel Lit recommendations. I originally started writing The Lady of Zion series to be an Angel Lit series, however over the course of the writing it morphed into an Angel Lit hybrid, transitioning into the relatively new sub genre of Gods and Goddess fiction.
Note: most of these recommendations are YA, and most of them are the first book of a series.
The Mercy Series by Rebecca Lim (AMAZON)
Mercy ′wakes′ on a school bus bound for Paradise, a small town where everyone knows everyone else′s business — or thinks they do. But they will never guess the secret Mercy is hiding ….
As an angel exiled from heaven and doomed to return repeatedly to Earth, Mercy is never sure whose life and body she will share each time. And her mind is filled with the desperate pleas of her beloved, Luc, who can only approach her in her dreams. In Paradise, Mercy meets Ryan, whose sister was kidnapped two years ago and is now presumed dead. When another girl disappears, Mercy and Ryan know they must act before time runs out. But a host of angels are out for Mercy′s blood and they won′t rest until they find her and punish her — for a crime she doesn′t remember committing …
The Mercy series is my absolute favourite Angel Lit series. Mercy is a kick ass heroine, and she fights for what she believes is right. I like Mercy as a role model for teenage girls. Another thing I really admire about this book is the way her relationship with Ryan. I believe YA has a significant problem with promoting problematic relationships that are, quite frankly, abusive (Bella and Edward from Twilight for example).
Meridian by Amber Kizer (AMAZON)
Half-human, half-angel, Meridian Sozu has a dark responsibility.
Meridian has always been an outcast. It seems that wherever she goes, death and grief follow. On her sixteenth birthday, a car crashes in front of her family’s home – and although she’s untouched, Meridian’s body explodes in pain. Before she can fully recover, Meridian is told that she’s a danger to her family and is hustled off to her great-aunt’s house in Revelation, Colorado. There she learns the secret her parents have been hiding for her entire life: Meridian is a Fenestra. the half-angel, half-human link between the living and the dead.
It’s crucial that Meridian learn how to transition human souls to the afterlife – how to help people die. Only then can she help preserve the balance between good and evil on earth. But before she can do that, Meridian must come to terms with her ability, outsmart the charismatic preacher who’s taken over Revelation, and maybe – if she can accept her sworn protector, Tens, for who he is – fall in love. Meridian and Tens face great danger from the Aternocti, a band of dark forces who capture vulnerable souls on the brink of death and cause chaos. But together, they have the power to outsmart evil.
This book was a good read. Meridian is a psycopomp which is an unusual take on the role of Angels in Angel Lit. I quite enjoyed it. Most Angel Lit books have a reincarnation theme and Meridian acting as a psycopomp is an interesting twist of this convention.
The Fallen Series by Lauren Kate (AMAZON)
There’s something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori. Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price’s attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah, Georgia. He’s the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move. Even though Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce—and goes out of his way to make that very clear—she can’t let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, she has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret… even if it kills her.
I really enjoyed the Fallen series the first time I read it. On my second reading I found the relationship between Luce and Daniel problematic. You can read about that more here. One of the things I liked most about the story was that Luce and Daniel have loved each other for many lifetimes. I find the idea for two lovers trying to find their way back to each other incredibly romantic. Perhaps its because I’ve often felt that I don’t belong here, that I’m different, like I was born into the wrong Universe or lifetime. Whatever it is Fallen helped feed a need that part of me was hungry for.
The Coming Dark by Erin McCarthy (NO LONGER AVAILABLE ON AMAZON?)
Liana Matthews’ mother was murdered when she was two, with her in the room. Raised by her grandmother, she has always been the school freak, but when she starts spewing Latin and exorcising demons she didn’t know existed, she has no choice but to change schools or be tossed in a mental hospital. Her guardians say she is being chased by a demon, and the safest place for her and her best friend, Abby, is in a boarding school for demon hunters in training, where she’ll have a bodyguard in the form of a brawny seventeen year old named Chase.
Yet training as an exorcist and living in constant fear of the demon Axel who attacked her the night she came to school, has Liana unsure who she should trust. With her grandmother in a nursing home and Abby locked away in another building, the one person Liana finds herself wanting to spend time with isn’t a person at all… but a demon. Darius is supposed to be her final exam, the demon she has to exorcise to graduate, yet there is something about him that intrigues her and she knows she can’t kill him. Especially since he says he has information about her father, who she’s never met.
With rumors about her mother’s murder still swirling, Axel trying to kill her, and her feelings torn between the guy who is sworn to protect her and the demon who may endanger her, Liana has to face THE COMING DARK…
These Angel Lit books generally revolve around Nephilim kids (people who are half human half-half Angel) and this book was no exception. The unique take the author took however was that Liana’s non-human parent wasn’t an Angel but a Demon. Usually in these types of books the parent is a Fallen Angel, and the protagonist has to fight the forces of Hell/The Underworld. This was an interesting take.
Side note: I cannot find any references to this book on any of the author’s social medias or website. It may have changed names or been removed from sale.
The Watchers by Lynnie Purcell (AMAZON)
The Watchers is the first book in The Watchers Series. It focuses on 16-year-old Clare Michaels and her journey to her mom’s hometown of King’s Cross. Long aware of her heritage – that she is the daughter of a fallen angel – The Watchers focuses on her first interaction with the world she has always hidden from. Her first interaction comes in the form of a handsome, young high-schooler, Daniel Adams. He is her clue to the world she has always been afraid to face openly…but is he a danger as well?
To be completely honest I don’t remember what the plot line of this book was. But I gave it 4 stars on Goodreads so it must have been good. (My general good reads star rating system is 5= excellent would read again. 4=excellent maybe wouldn’t read it again. 3= it was passable. Anything less than three doesn’t get rated. If I hate a book, or simply didn’t enjoy it. it doesn’t get rated.)
Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick (AMAZON)
Romance was not part of Nora Grey’s plan. She’s never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how hard her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch comes along. With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Patch draws Nora to him against her better judgment. But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora’s not sure whom to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is and seems to know more about her than her closest friends. She can’t decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.
For she is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen – and, when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost Nora her life.
I really enjoyed the relationship between Nora and Patch in this series. I usually read books for the relationships between the characters, and I assume most readers do. Nora and Patch had their rough patches (no pun intended) but they bounced off each other well. The book has seriously mixed reviews on Goodreads but I’m not sure where all the hate is coming from. It was very much in the vein of Mercy and Fallen in the type of book it was.
Unearthly by Cynthia Hand (AMAZON)
Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place and out of place at the same time. Because there’s another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara’s less angelic side. As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she’d have to make between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny? (note: I’ve trimmed this blurb because it was pretty long)
I quite enjoyed this series. Apart from being a gripping tale it also posed some great theological questions, like when is a sin really a sin? Clara is caught in a love triangle but at the critical time she must choose to either follow her destiny and save one boy, or go with her heart and save another. I won’t tell you whether or not both boys survive any way, only that Clara has to make an impossible choice for which there is no “good” option. In her mind one of these boys is going to die if she chooses the other. Both of these boys are “good guys” (aka not villains) which not only makes her decision harder (I mean come on if you had a choice to save Hermione Granger or Bellatrix Lestrange who are you going to pick? It’s a pretty obvious choice. Clara’s choice is like choosing to save Ron or Harry). How can saving a life be a sin?
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (AMAZON)
When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder― much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing―not even a smear of blood―to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?
This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know…
I only read the City of Bones series because I started watching the Netflix series (which I’m still working through) and I really enjoyed it. I didn’t enjoy the books anywhere near as much as the show but they were still an enjoyable read. The television show changed a lot of content from the books (including upping the ages of all the characters) so if you’re thinking you loved the show so you’ll give the books a try just keep that in mind.
Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman (AMAZON)
‘Armageddon only happens once, you know. They don’t let you go around again until you get it right.’ People have been predicting the end of the world almost from its very beginning, so it’s only natural to be sceptical when a new date is set for Judgement Day. But what if, for once, the predictions are right, and the apocalypse really is due to arrive next Saturday, just after tea? You could spend the time left drowning your sorrows, giving away all your possessions in preparation for the rapture, or laughing it off as (hopefully) just another hoax. Or you could just try to do something about it.
It’s a predicament that Aziraphale, a somewhat fussy angel, and Crowley, a fast-living demon now finds themselves in. They’ve been living amongst Earth’s mortals since The Beginning and, truth be told, have grown rather fond of the lifestyle and, in all honesty, are not actually looking forward to the coming Apocalypse. And then there’s the small matter that someone appears to have misplaced the Antichrist…
Another of my all time favourite Angel books is Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. Stylistically it is not what I consider to be “Angel Lit” (check out my post on what constitutes Angel Lit here). If you haven’t read it I highly recommend the book, the Amazon Prime miniseries, and the BBC Radio 4 radio play versions. No matter how you ingest your stories there is a version there I’m sure you’ll love. The authors bring a lot of humour to what is traditionally a sombre topic and none of the main characters are what you’d expect them to be.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (AMAZON)
Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky. In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.
And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war. Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.
When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?
I quite enjoyed Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone, but like Good Omens, it doesn’t quite fit into the Angel Lit genre, with Taylor’s Angels more like an extraterrestrial race than the Christianised mythos of normal Angel Lit. I quite enjoyed Karou as a character, although in the second book I really grew to dislike Akiva. The third book is sitting at the top of my to-be-read pile, so maybe he’ll redeem himself? Karou also reignited my artistic dreams (in a visual sense) and was so well written as an artist that I longed to be able to flip through her sketchbooks or go to an Art School myself.
Author’s Note: All images and book blurbs have been copy and pasted from Goodreads and the purchase links are to the US Amazon site.