Angel Burn (Angel Trilogy #1)

Angel BurnBy L.A. Weatherly

Publisher: Candlewick
Publication Date: May 24, 2011
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Source: Netgalley

Willow knows she’s different from other girls, and not just because she loves tinkering with cars. Willow has a gift. She can look into the future and know people’s dreams and hopes, their sorrows and regrets, just by touching them. She has no idea where this power comes from. But the assassin, Alex, does. Gorgeous, mysterious Alex knows more about Willow that Willow herself. He knows that her powers link to dark and dangerous forces, and that he’s one of the few humans left who can fight them. When Alex finds himself falling in love with his sworn enemy, he discovers that nothing is as it seems, least of all good and evil. In the first book in an action-packed romantic trilogy, L. A. Weatherly sends listeners on a thrill ride of a road trip – and depicts the human race at the brink of a future as catastrophic as it is deceptively beautiful.

Goodreads Summary

Alex is an AK – Angel Killer.  It’s not as bad as it sounds on its face, or maybe it is, depending on your perspective on angels.  Angels aren’t getting what they need on their side of things and some have been coming to earth to feed off of human energy.  Alex and a select group of humans who’ve been trained to see them have been hired by the CIA to stop them, which means putting a bullet through their halo – which is their heart – and finishing them off permanently.  Alex gets his orders in the form of an address via text message, takes care of business and waits for the next text.  It’s a bizarre life for a seventeen year-old.

Being the school’s resident oddball ceased bothering Willow a while ago.  She’s accepted that she can touch people and see things about them and see possibilities in their future since she was old enough to tell them.  She wishes she could see into her mom – see anything – but Willow’s mother has been in some kind of dreamlike trance, off in her own world and rarely even acknowledging anyone else for a long, long time.

Willow agrees to do a reading for a girl at school one afternoon that shakes her, one that makes her wonder if there are angels walking on earth, masquerading as humans one minute, harming people in their angel form the next.  She warns her friend to stay away from the sinister Church of the Angels, which seems to have the opposite effect.

Somewhere not far away, Alex gets his next text.  Target: Willow.  When he locates her, something’s off enough that calls off the hit on his own.  She’s not just angel, she’s half-angel with no halo who doesn’t feed.  When he figures out the CIA has been taken over and the Church of the Angels wants Willow dead, the two take off on a cross-country run for their lives.

I know, another angel story.  The blurb doesn’t mention them, just the title, so it’s anyone’s guess where they fit until you get into the story and figure out what Alex does.  Like all of the rest of them this year, there were a lot of things that I either really liked or really didn’t about this, but surprisingly enough the angel angle wasn’t one of them.  I liked the angels-as-baddies story and thought the whole setup with the Church was nicely ominous and cult-like.

The narrative alternated between Willow and Alex, so there was a lot of time to get a look at both of them.  Willow was fairly Mary Sue – Alex went on and on in his head about her silky blonde hair, the curve of her neck and her delicate body and of course she had crazy angel skills, incredible courage and caring.  She was likable enough, but since she’s supposed to be the savior I was hoping for a little more.  It could be that elements of the story didn’t serve her well – more on that below.

Alex was an easier character for me to like, but I almost wondered if that was because he seemed out of place in a YA story.  Unless it was specifically mentioned, I usually forgot he was a teenager. He carried thousands of dollars on him, drove a Porsche, checked into motels without anyone batting an eye and had a wallet full of fake ID to start with.  He had a painful background that was just awful enough to make him suitably angsty to want to avoid a relationship with Willow for a while, but he did end up being the character that got the best emotional moments and growth.

This had a pretty good amount of action compared to a lot of books I’ve read lately.  It was definitely a “road trip” story, with a lot of talking in the car and the occasional stop at a convenience store or motel.  In between there were some suspenseful moments and in the latter third of the book things really picked up and included even more of the Church of the Angels.  It’s also where Alex and Willow’s relationship went from cotton-candy sweet to a river of syrup.  This was the story element that I didn’t think served Willow well – she toppled in love with Alex immediately and it only got worse from there.  This is going to be a trio of books – with the good writing and unique take on angels here, there was no need to dump them into adoration quite so soon even if the ending needed a big gesture.  It was too much.

My Summary: I like where this story started and where it ended, but not always some of the places it went in between with the characters.  It was easy to think of Alex as older but I never forgot Willow was just sixteen when this started (later seventeen) which made their fast and furious romance feel a little odd, not to mention forced.  I think there’s potential with the story in the Church of the Angels cult, especially with the reveal of Willow’s father and the future of the AKs.  While I didn’t leave Angel Burn absolutely in love, I’m willing to follow the next book and see where this goes.

My Rating: B-




  1. Thanks for the review!

  2. I just barely got done reading this! I agree with you on all counts. I loved the idea of the angels being the bad guys. It's definitely different, and it stood out from all the other angel novels out there. You are so right, the romance between Willow and Alex was odd. "Two halves of the same coin" … just way too much. I kept hoping that the author would give us some mythical reason why the two feel the way they do, but it never happened. Maybe some version of soulmates or something. It was all very reptitive as well. I'm pretty sure I could have lived without them declaring their feelings every other sentence. I do like them together though, but it was way too sappy for me. Or maybe it just dragged on for way too long. Maybe less of the mountain scenes and more action?I will definitely keep reading. There are a lot of unanswered questions!

  3. Hi meggerfly! Thank you for reading!Aw, Cait – I'm glad we agree. 🙂 I worry I rec weird books to you, lol. I wasn't happy with the Willow/Alex smoochy thing, but I liked the way the angel and AK part ended and want to know where that's going. You're right, the mountain thing was long. I don't know if I'd have wanted to just sit there and wait. Me, I'd have been Uzi hunting, lol.

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