Angel Eyes

Once you’ve seen, you can’t unsee. Everything changes when you’ve looked at the world through … angel eyes.

Once you’ve seen, you can’t unsee. Everything changes when you’ve looked at the world through … angel eyes.

Brielle went to the city to chase her dreams and found tragedy instead. She’s come home to shabby little Stratus, Oregon, to live with her grief and her guilt … and the incredible, numbing cold she can’t seem to shake.

Jake’s the new guy at school. The boy next door with burning hands and an unbelievable gift that targets him for corruption.

Something more than fate has brought them together. An evil bigger than both of them lurks in the shadows nearby, hiding in plain sight. Two angels stand guard, unsure what’s going to happen. And a beauty brighter than Jake or Brielle has ever seen is calling them to join the battle in a realm where all human choices start.

A realm that only angels and demons — and Brielle — can perceive.

Book 1 of the Angel Eyes series.

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Michelle R. Wood
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I’m a sucker for beautiful prose. Maybe that’s why I ended up enjoying this novel in spite of myself. Normally I dislike angel/demon spiritual warfare stories. Not only do I find their theological underpinnings questionable, but too often they come across as unintentionally comical. I’m also not a romance fan, especially of the teenage variety. This book includes all those elements, but won me over through its amazing writing and characterization.

Author Shannon Dittemore really fleshes out her characters, both human and supernatural. In less capable hands these situations would be overly melodramatic or cutesy. Instead the dramatic tension developed naturally through the unaffected actions of the characters. Brielle’s character presents a real challenge, but Dittemore capably drew a full-bodied, intriguing personality rocked by tragedy without drowning or wallowing in it. Jake also manages not to come across as limp or whitewashed, but is a full bodied character who’s both funny and filled with deep wells of emotional strength. Their courtship is beautifully drawn through truly gifted prose. No emo kids to be found in these pages.

The story also defied my expectations. The angel/demon conflict actually felt plausible and suspenseful, and the author wisely doesn’t attempt to explain every single aspect of life through the lens of that conflict. Instead she acknowledges that we can’t know everything spiritually and that we’re not the ones who are solely responsible for fighting evil. The paramount message is one of faith in spite of fear, weakness, and mystery, stepping into courage through the power of God. Brielle’s arc is one that begins in heartache but doesn’t end with all her pains erased. Instead she learns to live through the pain, choosing to move beyond her guilt and bitterness.

The chapters encompassing the main climax were slightly confusing to me. There were several villains introduced just before this final act began, making it difficult for me to keep track of who was doing what. But the writing and groundwork laid prior to this moment was so compelling that this flaw didn’t detract from the emotional intensity of the scene.

I’ve always felt a sign of strength for any creative project is the ability to acknowledge its own potential absurdity. The very fact that Dittemore made a sly wink at the obvious Twilight comparison only added to this strong book’s appeal.