Monday, April 25, 2011

Review: Ordinary Angels

India Drummond
Paranormal Romance
Lyrical Press
Available Now
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.

Rating: 2.5/5


  1. I've read half way through this book and I just can't finish it. :-( It moves way to fast for me and doesn't leave room for any type of development :-(

  2. Interesting premise, too bad the author did not missed out on several important elements of development. Great job at pointing out the good and the bad.

  3. Yep! If I read a Parnormal Romance...I need sizzle! haha. Great review Jenny! :)

  4. The first thing I noticed was that pretty cover and the hot model. Hmmm I wonder if the book would sell just as well if they put an overweight pretty girl on the cover? LOL- that was a very random thought, but all these YAs feature a really hot (to hot) girl on them. And then I see girls (in my work) comparing themselves to supermodels and TV stars that they cant look like...

    Ok random thoughts over- super review Jenny!!!

  5. Damaris - It did move really quickly and there seemed to be 2 separate storylines with Alexander and Henry that never really came together, but I liked the premise:)

    Jan - Yes, there were definitely a few areas that would have benefited from some more development because they were interesting and I wanted to know more:)

    Jacinda - Me too! I actually could have done without the romance entirely with this one if it meant the other areas were given more time and explanation.

    Tina - The cover is gorgeous isn't it? And yes, she's stunning though I'm not quite sure what she's wearing:)

  6. You brought up some very good misgivings. I have yet to read an "angel" mythology book...maybe b/c there are so many out there, I just got overloaded. Thanks for the great post.

  7. Such a shame the spark wasn't there! I hate unbelievable sparks. Um, I *think* she's wearing a tunic-thing. Like Romans - very warrior.
    Brilliant review!

  8. You are soooo right... We ooze awesome.

    I'm thinking I may pass on this one, I can't do a rushed story... I'd rather read 700 pages and LOTS of details than 200 pages of crap crammed into every single sentence!

    <3 <3 <3

  9. I have this one coming up. I really want a good angel story! Why do they seem so hard to write?

  10. Pam - This one was a combination angel/ghost story, but unfortunately the stories seemed to me to be very separate despite being integrated into the same book, so we got a lot of superficial information for both but no depth.

    Book Addicted - I need the spark, it's necessary for me whenever there's romance involved! And I think you're right on the tunic, I just don't know why she's wearing it:)

    Ashley - We totally do;) I almost wish this one had been split into 2 books as the start of a series, then we could have gotten the complexity with out all the rushing.

    Karen - I'll be really interested in your review! I have trouble with a lot of the angel stories, I have no idea why. Unearthly was a big exception for me, I adored that one:)

  11. Too bad it wasn't all it could be. It does sound like a lot, nope I can just read something else instead then

  12. A strong romantic element is always needed in PNR that I read. I love a good story but I need that strong romantic connection or the book is just "eh". Great review Jenny!

  13. I love the unique take on the angels (my favourite paranormal creatures) but I'm not a fan of rushed romances and so will be skipping this one. Great review, Jenny!

  14. This one definitely sounds like it could be good - interesting premise, but maybe falls just a bit short in a number of ways. There are so many angel books around right now that they have to be more impressive than this one sounds.

  15. Blodeuedd - It was a lot, and both storylines were good, I just wanted more of each.

    Felicia - Exactly! I wanted to get involved with them, but I just couldn't.

    Zahida - I had some trouble with how quickly everything fell into place for Zoe and Alexander, I felt like didn't really know either of them so how could they seem to know one another so well. It was like being on the outside looking in.

    Brandi - It was a bummer!

    Leanna - It did have a great premise and a lot of potential, there were just a few flaws in the execution for me:)

  16. I do like a fast paced read but sounds like this one didnt provide enough background info so will probably pass on this one.

  17. I agree that this one sounds like it has potential, but I may skip it. Thanks for the honest review. I have been let down on angel books in the past so if it's not a jaw-dropping read, then I usually just skip it. Great review, though!

  18. Thanks for your awesome honest review.

    For some reason the cover makes me think of steampunk.

  19. Too bad the romance didn't work. I do think it is always a tricky subject when fatalism is tackled head on. Hm... think I'll pass on this one and save up for the others you are forcing me to buy! ;)

  20. Interesting premise and a great cover - too bad that the book does not live up to expectations.
    Most angel books I've read have turned out to be disappointing.

  21. When I read this book I also found that it didn't do much for me, I wasn't sure it is was because at the time I was just dipping my toes into the world of adult PNR or if it was the book itself, but after reading your review it does seem like it was the book and not my inexperienced PNR reading abiltiies... :/

    But hey! The cover is gorgeous! ;)

  22. Jenny, you are so wonderfully thoughtful in your reviews. Despite the breathtaking cover, I think I will be passing on this one. Though I have to say a bit of the storyline sounds like a movie I recently watched, The Adjustment Bureau.

    Angels with scales. That does pique my curiosity. It really does sound like there was a lot of potential behind the idea for this one. I wish the warrior shifting lore and the romance was more enticing.

  23. Great job at describing your thoughts about this book. I think it's so common for books to have great potential but be missing some element. I'm sure any book I wrote would :-) I like that it seems like a twist on the typical angel or ghost-talker themed novel.

  24. Jenny - A little more background information definitely would have been nice:)

    Christina - Angel books are definitely hit or miss with me, this one had some problems but I liked the idea of it.

    Juju - I love this cover, and I think maybe it's the outfit that makes you think of steampunk?

    Melissa - Yes, go buy Merit and Ethan. Do it!

    Misha - I just wanted a little more from it so I could connect. Without that character connection, I just sort of read without really enjoying it.

    Avery - Nope, not just your inexperienced PNR abilities, there were some flaws for me with this one that kept me from getting really attached to it.

    Missie - Thank you! And yes, angels with scales - I wanted to know more about that!

    Alison - Thank you, and I'm sure any book I wrote would be missing a lot as well. I can write a 4 paragraph review based on someone else's work, but I'm pretty sure I could never write a whole novel:)

  25. I really like the cover of this book. Too bad it is not as good as it looks, still I am interested. Nice review Jenny!

  26. You're right, this does sound like a very interesting premise. I love it when authors take something so familiar and twist so that it's new again. To bad about the emotional distance between the characters and the reader, it's always hard to truly enjoy a book when it feels like there's a wall between it and you.

  27. You changed your look! I love your new header!! Bummer on this one. But what a gorgeous cover! But it's nice to know that you enjoyed certain aspects of it enough to keep an eye out for future stories from the author.