Review: A Temptation of Angels

I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: A Temptation of AngelsA Temptation of Angels by Michelle Zink
Published by Dial BFYR on March 20, 2012
Genres: Historical, Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 435
Format: ARC
Source: Author

Even angels make mistakes in this page-turning epic romance

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.

First Sentence: “Though it was late, it was not the sound of arguing that woke Helen in the dead of night.”

Obviously, this is an instance of review copy failure. To be fair, I did receive this ARC after publication, but I still meant to have the review done way before now. Better late than never, though, right? The good news is that, despite some predictions to the contrary, I did actually like A Temptation of Angels, and, in some ways, I was very surprised and impressed by Zink’s novel.

On the surface, this book was poised to frustrate me endlessly: a special snowflake heroine with violet eyes, the murder of parents, angels, and a love triangle. Actually, though, Zink dealt with most of these in a manner that I deemed perfectly acceptable, so, if you’ve been considering this book but unsure, you may want to give it a go.

Angels have not been my favorite subset of paranormal fiction by any means. Too often they serve as a platform by which the author can serve up their religious viewpoints to unsuspecting young readers. Thankfully, A Temptation of Angels ranks with the grouping of angel fiction that makes no attempt to say anything whatever about religion, along with Daughter of Smoke and Bone, which I read earlier this week.

Though I obviously liked her omission of any real look into where the angels precisely came from or who they were working for, I would have appreciated a bit more elucidation into how the Keepers function on earth. Having finished the book, I’m not entirely certain what normal operations as a Keeper entail. What really boggles my mind, though, is how they come into being. I really couldn’t get a handle on any of this from the few mentions they got. For once, I would have liked more infodumping.

What I really appreciated about A Temptation of Angels was Helen, and the way the boys treated her. Though I didn’t initially think too much of her, she grew on me. She refused to let herself be left behind or ignored. The boys bossed her around much of the time, but only because she really didn’t know what she was doing. If she picked up a needed skill, she would be accorded respect for that. When she had a better idea, they listened to her. Unlike so many YA boys, they did not view her as lesser solely for being a woman. Though she does spend a lot of time being lifted and caught, I suspect that, down the road, she would build up her strength and no longer require or accept that help. As a heroine, Helen was constantly growing, unwilling to be anyone’s dependent, which is a wonderful message for teenage girls.

Yes, there is a love triangle, but I do need to give Michelle Zink props for not adding Darius into the mix. Things would have been so much worse had she been torn between Darius and Griffin as I initially feared. The triangle between Griffin and Raum made more sense, given that she had feelings of slightly different natures for the two, which could be complicated and nigh indecipherable to an innocent sixteen year old, new to the world of romance. In fact, were it not for the instalove, which grows naturally enough but in too short a time span (just a couple of days), I would probably be pretty okay with how all of this went down, especially since Helen was in control of herself throughout and making her own thoughtful decisions.

Zink’s writes well, so far as sentence structure goes, which was another plus. I didn’t however get a sense of the time period, and was surprised to note that it was a historical several chapters in. Perhaps that’s my own failing, but, even once I knew, something about the book read as modern for me, though I really could not say why. The story does have the slower pace of most historicals, so beware of that.

For those who dearly love paranormal romances and can bear another instalove love triangle, Michelle Zink’s novel will likely not disappoint. Even I, tired as I am of instalove, thought Zink’s novel was quite enjoyable.

Favorite Quote:

“‘I’ve felt your belief in me, and though it seems small, I’ve begun to wonder if that’s all we really need. Just one person who knows us truly. One person who knows the darkness that lies within and believes in us anyway.'”

10 responses to “Review: A Temptation of Angels”

  1. Nori says:

    So, surprise surprise, I loved this one…I think it’s a lot better than her other series. And I really did like Helen too! Did you pick up a Cassandra Clare vibe from the plot?

    • Christina says:

      Haha, I’m not surprised. No, I didn’t, but it’s been so long since I read those. I guess I can see it, but Zink’s writing was worlds better, and no potential incest.

  2. LOL I have review copy fail constantly. Alas.

    Also? I am not a huge angel fan either, like it’s not really the religious thing that bothers me, but more that a lot of angel books are boring with crap characters. Sigh. /rant.

    I might have to pick this one up at some point though. You make it sound quite decent.

  3. I think I need to read this author–the stories always sound like fun. I like the angel thing when it’s done well, but sometimes I’m just in the mood for a fast-paced, entertaining read, too.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  4. I really ended up enjoying this one, but I agree about how at times it felt more modern than I think it was meant to feel. And I think those who’ve read it, kind of get that point. It’s hard to describe unless you’ve read it. Lol. But it’s enjoyable, and I’m certainly going to continue this series. I’m probably even going to check out her other series and see what that’s like because it sounds interesting and I already know she writes well. So I’ll see how that one is eventually, too. 🙂

    I’m normally not an angel fan myself either…so if I get into a book with angels in them, that’s a bonus for me anyway. 😛

    Great review! I completely agree with so many of your points up there!


    • Christina says:

      Oh good! I’m glad it wasn’t just me. There’s a scene where she’s like “I need to go to a dressmaker for more clothes,” and I totally thought she was a spoiled little rich girl, until I realized it was set in the past and that’s just how people shopped. O_O

      I’ll definitely check out her other series eventually too. 🙂

  5. Kat Balcombe says:

    Dontchya just hate those sneaky books that surprise you? Still not convinced on this one, but never say never. *sigh* love triangles.

    • Christina says:

      Haha, no, I don’t actually, but I can see why it might be frustrating. As far as love triangles go, this one was okay, but if you don’t like them ever, then eesh. I really can’t say whether you would like this; I would guess not.

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