Angel Evolution (Evolution Trilogy #1)
by David Estes
- Paperback: 366 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (October 17, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1466422777
- ISBN-13: 978-1466422773
Taylor is a freshman at the University of Trinton when she meets Gabriel Knight. She notices a light shining around him that no one else seems to see. She is curious about him, but also seems to fear him. She later learns that Gabriel is an angel and soon falls in love with him. Little does Taylor know that their meeting and her infatuation was planned as Gabriel was sent there on a mission for his people…to convince Taylor to join the angels in the Great War against the demons. However, as Gabriel spends time with Taylor, he develops real feelings for her. This leads to internal conflict for Gabriel…does he follow his orders and get Taylor to join the angel cause and help with “the plan” or does he follow his heart and protect the one he loves even if it means going against everything he knows?
(Caution: Includes 1 blocked off Spoiler)
Overall, I wasn't thoroughly impressed with this book, particularly after reading The Moon Dwellers. This was David Estes first novel and I try to give authors the benefit of the doubt when it comes to their first novels because any reader or writer knows that the first work is never one’s best work. The plot and story line of the novel did hook me, so I will see it through the entire series. I like the fact that the characters are in their first year of college and that parents play a very minor role (they’re hardly mentioned at all). I like this in contrast to most other YA novels where the characters are in High School, making the characters slightly more mature. I also like that the world of Angels and Demons in this novel is very different than most other Angel/Demon novels I've read. You pretty much have to forget everything you learned in Sunday school or Church; there is no religious aspect to this world. The story of how the Angels and Demons came to exist is different, they have more powers and their views in regards to humans are different.
However, there were a few things that annoyed me about this book. First, being my second novel by Mr. Estes, I notice that he likes to give the reader more than one character’s POV. When done well, as in The Moon Dwellers, this can be unique, versatile, and enlightening. However, in this novel it often became annoying and confusing. It is particularly annoying and confusing when he switches POV several times within the same scene. Let me also point out that the entire story is told in the third person, so the constant switching wasn't always necessary. There were actually instances where I found myself saying “ OK, whose mind are we looking into now?” Finding out what was going on in the minds of everyone was great and all, but seriously not worth all the confusion with the switching.
My second issue is a rather minor one, but I was still annoyed. There was one instance in the novel where I felt Mr. Estes overstated the obvious. Taylor and Sam are at a pizza parlor with Gabriel and another guy (not mentioning names to avoid spoilers). Sam orders 3 pizza pies to eat between the four of them (a bit too much food if you ask me). The point of the scene is to show some rivalry (not mentioning between whom) between characters as they eat the pizza. The part that annoyed me was that Mr. Estes broke down the basic math. Three pies, 10 slices in each, half of one pie was eaten, 25 slices left, two characters ate 12 each, yadda, yadda. I understand that this is a YA novel and I’m all for details, but I feel that sometimes authors need to give the reader the benefit of the doubt and have confidence that the reader can follow along without everything being explained. In this case, assume the reader able to do basic math (or at the very least knows how to use a calculator). I’m pretty sure if I asked my 12 year old niece “if there are three pies with 10 slices in each and half of one pie was eaten, how many is left?” she’d know the answer, even if it took her a minute to think about it. Plus, the exact math was not the real point of the situation, so why spend so much time explaining it. Granted in the end it didn't deter me from finishing the book, but I did spend a minute or two thinking “Seriously? That needed to be explained?”
Finally, Taylor as a character contradicts herself. She goes on and on about how her mother taught her to be strong and independent and yet time and again she give into temptation. She talks about how she’s not going to let Gabriel control how the relationship progresses, even shows it by not letting him hold her hand or put his arm around her in public. However, it’s insinuated that within only a short time of knowing him, she sleeps with him. It’s not stated directly, but there are subtle hints that lead to the assumption that they did. Although she admits to not having much experience with relationships, I don’t feel that this is the sort of thing that a woman who claims to be so strong and independent would give into so willingly and so quickly. My biggest beef was after all the lies Gabriel tells her and her constant refusal to totally forgive him when she finds some of them out, Sam tells her that she witnessed him sacrifice himself to save her, and all of a sudden all is forgiven. I know Sam is her best friend whom she believes above everyone else, but can things really be resolved for her just like that? It feels unrealistic to me. And I hate the nickname “Tay”. Just need to say that.
***END OF SPOILER***
I always like to read what other reviewers post before reading a book, just to see what the consensus is. I recall one reviewer stating that Taylor is unaware at how “special” she is and that she’s pretty and that is all you need to know about the plot. I disagree. First, while it is pivotal to the plot, Taylor’s specialness and attractiveness are not the only things at stake here. There are a lot of internal conflicts going on within Gabriel and they’re not all centered around Taylor, although she does bring things to a head. Although he has been trained to think a particular way and to follow orders, he seems to have questions about a lot of his “training” long before he met Taylor; Taylor just gave him more reason to question them. Second, the way that Taylor is “special” is not the sort of thing she or anyone else would be aware of. As far as her realizing that she’s pretty, that’s normal among teenage girls. I know of very few young girls that are completely well-adjusted (even the ones who are obnoxiously so on the outside, like Sam, aren't when you look deep into them).