Blog Tour: Angel Eyes

Today I have my review for Angel Eyes by Shannon Dittemore as part of the blog tour for Shannon's debut novel! I've been really excited for this one ever since I discovered it on Goodreads a few months back. And I'm so glad that it lived up to my expectations!

You can find the rest of the tour schedule here- and make sure to check it out because a few of the tour stops are giving away copies of the book!

Angel Eyes (Angel Eyes Trilogy #1) by Shannon Dittemore
Release Date ~ May 29, 2012
Thomas Nelson Fiction
ISBN13: 9781401686352
E-galley received from publisher via Net Galley

Goodreads Synopsis:
Once you’ve seen, you can’t unsee. Everything changes when you’ve looked at the world through . . .


Brielle’s a ballerina who 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.

  1. Shannon's effective way of writing:
    I quickly noticed how precise the language Shannon uses is when I started reading Angel Eyes; not only does it flow so well, but it's as if each and every word has been carefully thought over and selected so as to best convey the meaning and imagery she's picturing. It brings the entire story to life, and completely immerses you in Brielle's frame of mind. And this is something so rare and skillful, that Shannon easily deserves praise for being able to achieve this (and do it so well, I might add).
    Hurray for parental involvement! This shouldn't be such a novelty in a YA book, but it is. Brielle has a handful of caring, attentive adults in her life who do pay attention to her and try to help her in any way they can- yet still recognize that she's an independent young woman. And I think you can sort of count Canaan and company as adults as well, and it's nice to see a couple teenagers that aren't completely on their own.
  3. Fresh take on angel mythology:
    But how different can it be, right? Angels have been done over and over in YA. And Shannon Dittemore uses part Biblical interpretation and part imagination to conjure up a new type of angel we haven't really seen in YA before. Angels are involved in the story, but they don't really take up center stage- they have their own role to play, which is actually based on other characters.
  4. So much more than a paranormal book:
    Similarily, since the angels in Angel Eyes aren't the focus of the story, it follows that there are other more important elements involved. Angel Eyes isn't just about weird paranormal activity, a battle between angels and fallen angels, or falling in love; it deals with grief, faith, doubt, and free will. And something kind of cool about that idea of free will is that it comes up in a couple different ways; it's a struggle for many of the characters, those who try to reconcile what choices they are able to make and those who have lost their freedom because of others who have taken that right away. It's fascinating and beautiful, and something that really raises some thought-provoking questions.
Angel Eyes is an interesting book because of the perspective Shannon took with writing it; she very clearly poured so much of her own experience into the book, and her own convinctions heavily influences the story. That might be difficult for some people to swallow, but I think it's intriguing to read a book from an author with this very different perspective. Angel Eyes is definitely influenced by religious thoughts, in this case Christian ideas, in the same way that many other books that include religious aspects are based off some of the author's own ideas and questions. And that's something I personally enjoy reading- but I can also see how it might be too heavy or uncomfortable for some people who strongly disagree with it. Is it preachy? No. I don't find it preachy whatsoever. It's the story of a girl with struggles surrounding faith and doubt, which is something just about every person will experience in their life. The difference is that not everyone will come to the same conclusion as Brielle- but I don't think that's a bad thing, to have a book written with this in mind.

I can, however, see how there are a number of archetypes included which are overly familiar to YA Books; the broken girl and the new boy who are driven together for some strange, supernatural reason. Love that blooms a tad too quickly for my taste, but I did appreciate that Jake was so sweet. He may tease, but he's thoughtful and genuine. He treats Brielle as an equal, but recognizes that she has needs and tries to help her with those as well.

Purchase Links
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Shannon Dittemore said...

Morning Brenna! You took time out of your busy schedule to read and review Angel Eyes. And you're SO busy! PoliSci AND French translation. My brain feels dwarfed by yours, friend. But, THANK YOU! I'm so glad our paths crossed, and I hope we can continue to chat books and beliefs and all sorts of controversial stuff! ;)

Andrea @ Cozy Up said...

Brenna, your review is amazing! I really loved that there was actual adult involvement in the books, it seems lately that in most YA books, teens just seem to run around and no one cares. I really enjoyed this one, you can tell that Shannon puts a lot of her beliefs in it, but I like that she does it in a way without being preachy. I felt like in a small way I could connect with Shannon.

Christina said...

I really enjoyed the first half of this book, the one where the angels are minimal and questions of faith are seriously discussed. I love Dittemore's writing style. It was more complex than a lot of YA authors, which I love. Teens definitely don't need to be written down to.

I felt like there was a sudden and unfortunate change in the second half of the novel. All of her doubts, which were substantial, were totally squashed. With all of the discussions being about faith, and believing without proof, I thought it was kind of lame that she was pretty much forced to believe (umm, hello halo and angels). The serious discussion was dropped in favor of Christian values.

Also, I thought that the teens didn't really do much. At the climax, the focus shifted to the angels who did all of the actual work. This really seems to fly (literally) in the face of independent action. I wanted the teens to do more, not just be rescued by God/angels.

I don't know. I'm glad you liked it, and I can see why other people did. I suspect part of my problem is my own non-religious background, but I think I would have been more okay with it if there had been a steady build.

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