Received from author for review
Zoe's been able to see and communicate with the dead for as long as she can remember. In fact, she tends to get along better with them than she does with the living. When Alexander waltzes into her workplace one afternoon posing as the office mailman, Zoe's unique ability instantly lets her know that he's something more than human.
Turns out Alexander is an angel of the Guardian variety, and his purpose at Zoe's office is to save his charge's life. Unfortunately for Alexander, his actions interfere with the greater timeline progression and he's quickly put on trial for protecting his charge instead of letting events happen as they were meant to, and his intimate interest in Zoe is yet another mark against him.
Just as Alexander's trial commences, Zoe's closest spirit friend Henry goes missing from his usual haunt, leaving a dead body in his wake. The Higher Angels are convinced Henry's responsible for the death and begin to hunt him in earnest, leaving Zoe the only one with the ability to clear his name. Wanting to save both her closest friend and the angel she's falling in love with, Zoe sets out to solve the many mysteries she's become wrapped up in, discovering a few stunning revelations about herself along the way.
Ordinary Angels gives us a story that's the opposite of what its title would suggest, introducing us to a world where the angels are anything but typical, and the purpose of their Guardian roles vastly different than we might expect based on previous mythologies. In this tale, the angels exist not to protect individual people from harm necessarily, but rather to ensure that worldwide events progress as they should–setting circumstances in motion in order to guarantee the existence of important discoveries, meetings, and relationships. The death of one person ultimately leads to the meeting of two people who are supposed to be together, and so everyone is to follow a predestined and linear timeline known only to the Higher Angels who then make sure the chain of events remains uninterrupted. The at times cold indifference of these angels is extremely intriguing, the thought that though they seek to protect humanity overall, they are willing to do so at the expense and sacrifice of the individual is haunting, and quickly becomes one of the elements to stay with us as we continue reading.
Though the premise is strong and the angel interpretation fascinating, the romantic relationship between Zoe and Alexander lacks the fiery spark that causes our skin to heat with each word we read as we subtly check around us to see if our flushed cheeks look as obvious to others as they feel to us. Zoe meets Alexander fairly quickly, convinces him to ask her out, and then within what seems like hours (though is in fact a couple days) they are in bed and in love, leaving us with a physical relationship but robbing us of the delicious tension and gratifying courtship that makes the consummation of such feelings of affection something exciting and memorable. Zoe and Alexander have some cute moments together, but where both seem to burn bold and bright in the eyes of the other, we find ourselves a good distance away from their flames struggling to catch a stray tendril of heat as we read about them without feeling for them.
In addition to a romantic relationship that leaves us wanting, there are several small questions raised to which we are never provided answers. All the angels have two different forms, their human appearance and then what is called their "exalted" form wherein they grow larger, change in color, and are often covered in scales. While this unusual physical description piques our interest, we are never given any information as to why they are able to shift forms or what the purpose of this warrior form is. Furthermore, it's eventually revealed that Zoe's abilities are growing in strength as a result of her being a Stalker, or angel killer, but again we are given no background as to what a Stalker does (aside from the obvious), the reason Stalkers wish the angels harm, or any history in general as to how they came to be. Someone leaves a chaos dagger, the weapon of a Stalker, for Zoe to find and it acts as a catalyst for some of her latent Stalker talents, but we never find out who left it for her, why they did so, and how they knew it would be of use to her in particular.
Overall, Ordinary Angels is written in an engaging way and presents us with a unique take on angel lore while a ghost story is casually woven between the strands of celestial politics and romance. With that being said, there does seem to be a wide variety of elements introduced in a relatively short amount of time, thereby preventing depth and complexity we hope for when reading. Ms. Drummond is clearly a talented writer however, and I will certainly be keeping an eye out for future works despite my reservations with this story.