Michelle Zink continues to impress me! I loved her Prophecy of the Sisters series. I remember thinking while reading those books just how surprisingly good they were. And I felt that way again with this one. It starts with immediate action. And it combines so many things I love (romance of the triangle variety, history, the paranormal, mystery, corsets, a strong female lead, magical methods of transportation, secrets, and a little bit of made up mythology! What’s not to like? Thank you Penguin Young Readers and Net Galley for letting me read this! Though, just so everyone knows, it did come out yesterday...so go read it!
It begins with Helen’s mother telling her to hide in a hidden compartment in her room that she never knew existed. Helen has to hide quietly in the dark while her parents are murdered and then her whole house is burned down. She follows her mother’s directions that lead her to a not-so-safe neighborhood in London where two brothers live who will supposedly help her. Helen is never really given much time to grieve. Because as soon as she meets the two brothers, she learns about what she is: a descendant of angels sworn to protect the world.
The only problem is that all of the people like Helen (chosen to protect) have been murdered before they’ve even realized their positions. And the night Helen’s parents were killed was the night Helen was supposed to be killed as well. And it seems like the only three people left to help protect the world and its past, present and future is Helen, Griffin (the brother she slowly falls in love with), and the grumpy, demanding brother Darius.
The three (with the help of some friends) go out to find who’s been killing everyone. And a major theme is revenge or even attaining justice for the deaths of their parents. Helen learns to fight, to use deadly weapons, to travel by lamplight, to fight for what she wants, and most of all to follow her heart. It soon becomes clear that Helen’s favorite childhood friend (Raum) is involved with all of the murders and despite all the wrongs he has committed, Helen can’t help but feel drawn to him. And while I absolutely loved Griffin, I don’t think I would have been able to hold back as well as Helen did with Raum.
The book is full of action! Fights with magical creatures that also travel by lamplight reminded me a lot of the creatures you find in Cassandra Clare’s books. And I loved how innovative Helen was, creating presentable/suitable women’s clothes that she could also kick some serious butt in. Helen was a fantastic main character! I love how quickly she adapted to the role she was meant to play. For once, there was a YA main character who didn’t whine about how awful the world was and how awful it would be to have such responsibility and such power. Helen embraced it! And I loved her for it. She was not afraid to stand up to Darius and she refused to be left behind.
I loved the boys and how passionately each of them (including the grumpy one) loved. The romance in this book was fantastic! The brothers were amazing too. I loved their relationship, and how much they embraced their roles as well. The angel protectorate and the crazy inventions and weapons made it so much fun too! Really, there isn’t much I can say against this one. It can definitely stand alone because Zink wasn’t afraid to have her characters make fully thought out decisions. The story does have a resolution, a final battle, and a final sounding romantic decision. But, I would so not complain if there were a sequel in the works. I loved this one and give it a 10/10!