Review: ‘Angel Evolution’ by David Estes

Angel Evolution (The Evolution Trilogy, #1)Taylor Kingston is off to college, away from her slightly over-protective Dad and the memories of her Mom, who died when Taylor was thirteen. It would be great if she would leave the recurring dream of the menacing snake behind as well, but that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. Once at the University of Trinton, things start looking up: her best friend from childhood, Sam, is her roommate; and she meets Gabriel Knight, a handsome college student.

Things seem a little different about Gabriel – is she the only one who notices that he glows slightly? And how could someone as handsome as Gabriel be interested in her? And why does she have a bad feeling when she is near him? Once she realizes that Gabriel starred in her dream, and she couldn’t tell if he was hero or villain, she is more curious than ever about him. Then, when she meets another handsome stranger – this one dark and mysterious – and realizes that he, too, was part of her dream – she is determined to find out what it all means. Then she finds out that Gabriel is an angel and she is the key to defeating the demons. Can she trust Gabriel to lead her into the right direction?

To me, there seems to be certain “rules” about fantasy characters that have been followed since the first books or movies were produced. Vampires are beautiful, cold, pale beings that have fangs and drink blood; werewolves change from man to beast during the full moon; and angels and demons have been around since long before God’s beard turned white. Now, you can re-imagine SOME of the rules (like changing the reason the vampire can’t go out into the sun, for example) but you just can’t re-write everything, right? A story of angels and demons, this one’s a puzzler. According to the very detailed story of their creation, these demons came into being in 1846 when the first demon evolved. A human was attacked by a snake that looks exactly like the one in Taylor’s dream. The bite of the snake transformed the man into some sort of fiery, fast, quick-healing, dark being. 1846? Plus, it is explained later that these angels and demons are not the religious sort. Huh? I mean, you can write a secular book about angels, but to say they are unrelated is rewriting too many rules.

The writing is average. I am a HUGE proponent of the thesaurus (in fact, I have thesaurus.com open right now). However, it seems that while the author made great strides to not repeat words (hooray!) some of the choices made to use in place of those words were either stilted or incorrect (not hooray). An entomologist studies insects; not an insectologist. The relationship between Taylor and Gabriel (and later, between Sam and Chris the demon) both happened way too fast. Taylor’s constant misgivings about Gabriel and her perpetual vacillating between accepting and trusting him and not was tedious and melodramatic. The description of Taylor’s tattoos, numerous rings and “style” seemed forced and made her sound odd, not cool. I thought they were going to lead somewhere, but they did not. Honestly, it’s great that Taylor is mature enough to see past stereotypes, since her best friend is a perky, boy-crazy cheerleader, but does this ring true?

Yes, there will always be secondary and tertiary characters in your book; it would suffer greatly without them. But to talk about characters that never happen is confusing. Two characters were introduced in the book that were never talked about in detail again; Taylor’s older brother, James, and friend Marla’s absent roommate. I really thought something mysterious was going to happen with the roommate; after all, she was not going to show up until the day before classes started (and, as an aside, why would you go to college two whole weeks before school started, as everyone else did? That makes no sense.) and then later it is remarked that it has been five weeks since school started and then the roommate arrives. As for James, I think he appeared once and that was it. I don’t even think the Dad gave him a ride home after school was over. Sorry, James – seems Dad always did like Taylor best.

2 of 5 Stars

A free copy of this book was received  by Ink and Page in return for an honest review.

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