Book Review: Natural Born Angel by Scott Speer

Title: Natural Born Angel (Immortal City #2) 
Author: Scott Speer
Genre: Paranormal, Contemporary, Angels, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: 23 April 2013
Pages: 360
Rating: 2.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Life turned upside down for Maddy Montgomery when she found out she was half-Angel and was catapulted into the scene of flashbulbs, paparazzi, and the fervent adulation that comes with being in the celebrity Angel world. She’s trying to juggle her ordinary life—high school, family, friends—with the intense demands of being in the public eye as heartthrob Angel Jackson Godspeed’s girlfriend.

And now Maddy must face the most difficult choice of her life. She’s been offered the chance to become a Guardian. This means entering into dangerous and high stakes training, with no guarantee that she can succeed. But more than that, it would mean leaving her mortal life behind—forever—and allying with the Angels at a time when their relationship with humans is heading for war. . . .

My Review:

After slaving away at her uncle’s diner and studying hard to get the marks required to get into college, Maddy Montgomery is faced with a choice. Her dream school or the chance to train at the top-secret Guardian school. Going from the anonymous high school student to being the world’s number one It-Girl in less than a year, Maddy also has to navigate her new-found popularity and balance her new professional life with her relationship with the oh-so dreamy, Jackson Godspeed. Life will never be the same and Maddy needs to work out what she wants and where her allegiance lie before the war between Angels and Humans decides for her…

Natural Born Angel has so much going on – it’s fantastic! We get to see some Guardian training, the rise of a new dangerous enemy and the fantastic Former Angel, Detective Sylvester, is around again trying to save the world (this time with some help from Mark and Jacks). I loved the way that this novel managed to be describing a fantastical concept (like Angels on Earth) and have it mirror modern-day life – prejudices, terrorism and elitism. This book reminded me of a film in terms of  how it is set up and in some ways I think this would make a better film than novel. There isn’t a lot of emotion evident and I think had I been watching actors they would have been able to bring the intensity that these characters in the novel couldn’t.

I had high hopes for this novel. I loved the concept of Immortal City and the dark underbelly of the Angelic world. This book is a breath of fresh air with regards to the action. There is no chance of getting stuck in a characters thoughts because this book is about what’s happening now – happening to Maddy, to Jacks and to the world in general. And whilst I liked the different style of storytelling I felt like it was a missed opportunity. We skip a year from where the first novel ended to a time when Maddy is well established in a relationship with Jacks. She’s almost come to terms with her new-found Angelic state and she’s handling the fame like a professional.

What disappointed me most about Natural Born Angel was the romance. I don’t need romance to enjoy a good book and this is one of those stories that I think was trying a bit too hard with the relationships. Maddy and Jacks have lost any sort of chemistry they shared in the first book and there’s a new element that made this book go from a suspenseful action fantasy novel to just another clichéd teen romance… but even then the romance was unbelievable and flat.

Overall – there are some great things about this book and some not-so great things too. IF you loved the first book I think you’ll enjoy where Speer takes Maddy and the others in this instalment. Will I be reading the next Immortal City novel? Absolutely! But I think I’ll go in with slightly lower expectations than I had for Natural Born Angel.

 

Thanks to Penguin Teen and netgalley for the digital review copy.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository 


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Book Review: Immortal City by Scott Speer

Title: Immortal City (Immortal City #1) 
Author: Scott Speer
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Contemporary, Angels 
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: April 2012
Pages: 384
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
WE PAY THEM TO PROTECT US. AND WE’RE THEIR BIGGEST FANS.
They are our celebrities, and we worship them with paparazzi and endless gossip and speculation. To us, they are glamour. To them, we’re assignment. Their job is to guard us-that is, those of us who can afford them… Because the only thing stronger than a Guardian Angel is the rule they must obey.


So what happens when one of them falls for one of us?

In the city of Angels,
the rules are about to be broken. 

My Review:

I’m not normally a fan of book trailers but this one caught my eye and before I knew it I was rushing out to a bookstore to purchase myself a copy. Angels as celebrities, forbidden love – oh I’m so there.

I was surprised at just how much was going on in this novel.

Maddy is a seventeen year old waitress who can’t wait to get into college and get out of Angel City. As far as she is concerned Angels are over hyped celebrities who only save the wealthy and don’t spare a thought for the rest of the population.

Jackson “Jacks” Godspeed is the hottest new Angel who is just days away from everything he’s ever wanted – being commissioned as a Guardian Angel.

After a chance encounter between Maddy and Jacks, neither one of them can go back to how their lives were before. But an Angel and a human? There’s no way the powers-that-be will stand for that. Maddy and Jacks’ relationship seems doomed from the start and now with an immortal serial killer is on the loose – with Jacks as his next target.

There’s romance, there are celebrities and there’s a fantastic serial killer story that I was not expecting from the trailer and blurb. And to be honest, whilst the mystery plot line was my favourite I also enjoyed how Maddy and Jacks came together. But by the time I finished reading this novel I realized that I didn’t like any of the characters (with the exception of Detective Sylvester). Maddy and Jacks were a little too two-dimensional for my liking. She hated him because she hates all Angels. He wanted her because she didn’t like him based on the fact that he was an Angel and everyone loved Jacks Godspeed. I didn’t feel like there was much substance to either of the main characters. I would have liked them to be a little more complex with more hidden layers and motivations that weren’t apparent at first glance. In terms of the characters’ characters, I felt like I didn’t know any more about who they were as people at the end of the novel than I did in the first few chapters.

One of the highlights of this book for me was how vivid the storytelling was. From the first chapter I was right there with the characters. I could almost believe that I was in the sports car riding along and listening to old school hip hop. It comes as no surprise to me that the author is a director of music videos and films. This book is written in a way that’s beautifully illustrative.

I also liked how very “now” this book was – twitter, facebook and other social media sites were shown to be very important. It helped add to the atmosphere that the Angels are the ultimate in celebrity and that as such they are going to have followers follow them in any way possibly.

This novel is the first in a series and I will be reading the next book. Whilst I didn’t care one way or another what happened to the main characters I thoroughly enjoyed the journey that they took me on. I did want to know how everything was going to go down.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository