Mariella Hunt


I finished it. I finally finished this book. After like, a month. I don’t normally take a month to read a book, especially a book that I liked. But that’s it–I liked it. Nothing more.

3/5 stars.
I liked it.
Not sure I’d read it again–at least,
not past the first book.

I found the summary at

A love beyond life…a danger beyond doubt.
In a romantic and suspenseful collection of the New York Times bestselling trilogy, love’s unbreakable bonds are put to the test.
When her boyfriend, Tristan, died, Ivy thought she’d lost everything, even her faith in angels. But now she’s discovered that he’s her guardian angel — his presence so strong that she can feel the touch of his hand, the beat of his heart. Ivy needs Tristan now more than ever because he knows she’s in terrible danger. Only Ivy’s guardian angel can save her now that his killer is after her.
But if Tristan rescues Ivy, his mission on earth will be finished, and he must leave her behind forever. Will saving Ivy mean losing her just when he’s finally reached her again?

This isn’t a review full of hate. I liked the book. I was just expecting a bit more…more of an escape. Because while the story was beautiful and there were so many places where I swooned over a lovely scene or description, I felt like I couldn’t…get into it. This is the kind of book where you feel like you’re standing there watching the story happen before your very eyes, but you can’t really get in. That’s what I thought, anyway, as I tried repeatedly to get into Ivy’s world and explore–but it was hard. Something kept me from finding anywhere to explore. There was just what the author told me and that’s it.

So I wish I could say I loved this book, like I love The Mortal Instruments and I absolutely adore The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. Really, I do…but I finished reading it last night and can only say  have mixed feelings about it.

Technically, what I read was not a book, but three books in one volume. This probably just added to the confusion. Had I read all three books separately, perhaps my mind would have an easier time with the conflicting moods of the story. Bunched together as they were, all I could think when I reached the last page was, “Wow…this is kind of a mess.” But as I sat there reflecting on it for a few minutes, I realized that despite its being a mess, I still liked the book…just because it took me a while to get through it doesn’t mean I didn’t like it. If I don’t like a book I stop reading it. (There’s a shelf somewhere in the garage with books that can testify to that.) I kept reading this because underneath it all, there was a hook that kept me going till the end.

For me, that hook was the character Tristan. I liked Tristan so much. He’s sweet. He’s not whiny and he seems so genuinely, thoroughly in love with Ivy, even though at the beginning she will barely look at him. After dying, he chooses to go visit Ivy as an angel instead of his own parents. He was sweet to Ivy’s brother and even to her cat. It was a beautiful and consuming love. I almost wish Ivy had died instead of him, because I found Ivy to be a bit annoying…and the thing is that I can’t even tell you why she annoyed me. She was well-written, not a mary-sue, and the way she behaved was fitting giving the circumstances–her boyfriend had just died! But this is part of why I thought the last two books were a mess. There’s something about them that jumbled my mind and I can’t even name what most of them are.

Ivy’s brother was my favorite character in the book. If Bruno in The Boy in the Striped Pajamas was innocent, so was Philip, but I even think Philip was handled a little better. He had a better understanding of what was going on, and he wasn’t quite as blind. He was a key character in the story, not like other siblings in books I read nowadays, and I felt warmed to him and his unwavering faith in the angels. I also liked the other angel, Tristan’s partner, Lacey Lovett. She’s a good female character, nice and strong, with an attitude and she is very clever. I think the plot was beautiful and moving and quite unlike anything else I’ve read. So as you can see, if I sit down and meditate on the book, I can’t actually name any of the flaws that caused me to dock two points from my rating.

It has to be something about Chandler’s writing style, I think. Having read two of her books before (Dark Secrets 1 and Dark Secrets 2, both of which I enjoyed a lot more than I did this…you should check them out,) I’m familiar with it and know how it is. I think that her writing style is a little too thick to support a plot like this. This writing style, I think, is very good for mystery novels (which is why I liked the Dark Secrets books) and I understand that this is a mystery novel as well. But when I bought it, and when I read the summary on the back, I got the impression that it would be more about angels than it was. The plot started off perfect and suddenly became more centered around the mystery than the angels, so the writing style, it…weighted things down. I think that she handled the first book well because she was good with the romance and character development. After I finished the first book, individually titled Kissed by an Angel, I wanted immediately to read the next two books.

But the next two had a feel that was quite different. I felt like she used the gorgeous romance in book one to grip me, and then BAM, books 2 and 3 are more about the mystery than the angels and even about Tristan being dead. You start seeing more of Gregory and Eric than you see Tristan, and what I wanted to see most of was Tristan. I wanted to see how he, as an angel, got through to Ivy–I wanted to see more of the story from his point of view. And then towards the end, there’s the unnecessary drama with Will (whom I also adored) which left the ending a bit weak. It feels like there were some puzzle pieces that she jammed together even though they didn’t really fit, and at the last page there were still loads of things left unanswered.

Halfway through my one-volume edition of the trilogy, I was trying to figure out what the story really was about–because it wasn’t so much about angels anymore. It was a good story, but it was a different story than the one I set out to read. So, I liked it. But if I read it again, I think I would just stick to the first book. It captured me more, and there was more of Tristan. The other two…well, like I said earlier, my impression of the other two was just that they were a mess. The ending was a good idea but it could have been handled better. I think that the ending of book 1 is what will leave an impression on me that this was a good series. The ending of book 3 is just a bit disappointing.

Not to mention that there’s only one kiss with an angel. So even the title is a little misleading.

I realize that this review might sound harsh, but I’m really confused. I’m not sure what I think about this book, except that I liked it…but it dragged. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good mystery, but I as a hopeless romantic and an wandering escapist found little happy romance to feed my longing and, as mentioned before, you can’t really get in it. You can just watch it from the outside–kinda like Tristan had to do as an angel.

I am a fan of Elizabeth Chandler, but I don’t think this was her absolute best work. I think you should try Dark Secrets 1. In fact, I’m going to reread it and write a review for it on here.

I hope this review was helpful and not as confusing as I feel right now.

Happy Reading, Escapists!


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