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"Every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings..." 3.5 Stars.
on April 27, 2013
Not really. At least, not *this* Angel.
Zero aspirations in life, avoiding getting beat up by her alcoholic father and pretty much just floating by in a drug haze was Angel Crawford's 'normal' day to day existence before an accident, sketchy memories and some weird cravings turned her old life into something to actually live for. Thing is, she and everything else, is far from normal but that's okay. After she gets over freaking out in horror at loving brains like candy, Angel's learning that in death, life is so much sweeter all around. For one, she's trying to clean herself up and just Get Better. Strangely enough, she's succeeding and her new job at the ME's Office and her fellow co-workers, is helping. Not to mention--free brains! But as decapitated heads start turning up, and Angel starts learning about the ins and outs of being a zombie, she soon discovers that she's far from unique or alone. Is that good, or bad, because it seems that zombies are on the menu for someone, and Angel's worried she might be next. And more importantly, who is her mysterious benefactor, and did he or she or they turn her into one of the walking dead?
I have passed by on this series often, despite liking the concept but I got soooo burnt out from reading slapped together or trying-too-hard UF that never hit the mark for me, and yet, manage to get stellar reviews that make no sense to me. Also, I didn't take to her other series and too often, series from the same author tend to have the same voice in a different, lackluster setting. However, I was pleasantly surprised by reading this book, which had a fine balance of UF and very firmly grounded in the present, here and now. It's more character driven than I expected but I liked Angel a lot. She's gruff, she's young, punkish and a self-proclaimed 'loser' but she's also introspective, hopeful and funny. The secondary characters paled in comparison to Angel, who was just really fleshed out and cohesive; she dominated every page with force that couldn't be matched by any other character, including a possible love interest.
Rowland is a good writer as much as a solid story teller; she can show and tell seamlessly and logically. I didn't feel like I had too many unanswered questions but the ending was here and there, then over and left a bit unfinished. She did her research and shows it well, the forensics elements especially, though I have a hard time believing her probation officer not being notified after her accident and being questioned by the police, or believing an off-the-street criminal that is Angel would have landed a job as a morgue tech, which would be a local, government job and convicted felons aren't eligible for employment, no matter how minor the felony was, as well as it being a specialist position. It's fantasy, I get it but it's also half rooted in reality so I expect realistic consequences, responses and reactions. Also, Rowland spent the first four chapters telling us, ad nauseum, how much of a loser, red-neck, trailer park white trash our heorine is. I don't need to read it every third page. I get that she's at rock bottom and what's to come will be better, show growth and give us a more rounded picture of Angel, the girl, as much as Angel, the zombie.
This series has a lot of potential. It relies less on gore and is slower paced, focusing on the everyday things that make Angel seem real and likable, though it might bore readers who are used to heavy fantasy and lots of cutthroat action. That said, while I wasn't bored I also didn't have this immediate urge to read it in one sitting. I just hope it doesn't grow too big for its britches...something that most UF series fall into. In any case, I really enjoyed reading the book, and can't wait to sink my teeth into the next one!