Monday, July 11, 2011

In the Arms of Stone Angels by Jordan Dane

Summary (courtesy of GoodReads):   Two years ago, Brenna did the unthinkable. She witnessed the aftermath of a murder and accused her only true friend--the first boy she ever loved--of being a killer.
Now sixteen, Brenna returns to Oklahoma only to discover that Isaac "White Bird" Henry isn't in juvie. The half-breed outcast is in a mental hospital, frozen in time, locked in his mind at the worst moment of his life. And when Brenna touches him, she's pulled into his hellish vision quest, seeing terrifying demons and illusions she doesn't understand.   Feeling isolated and alone, she's up against the whole town, targeted by bullying former classmates, a bigoted small town sheriff, and a tribe who refuses to help one of their own. But when Brenna realizes she's as trapped by the past as White Bird is, this time she won't turn her back on him. She's the only one who can free them both.   Even if she has to expose her secret--a "gift" she's kept hidden her whole life.

And here's what I thought:  Not my favorite book that I've read lately.  I had seen this book mentioned on another blog, and thought I would give it a try.  I'm glad I got it from a library and didn't buy it for myself.

The basic story idea is good, but I felt like the book didn't have an even flow to it.  The main character, Brenna, is a decent narrator, but several times, the book shifts to another character's perspective, which I found a bit jarring.  I can understand seeing events through Brenna's eyes, but then when it would switch to a third-person narrator, it was confusing -- whose perspective is this?   I also found I didn't quite buy some of the other characters -- they seemed a bit cardboard-y to me, like stock characters (you have a pretty but mean girl, another girl who kinda goes along with the mean girl, a sheriff who has it out for some of the kids, etc).   

I have seen other reviews where the reader just loved this book.  For me, I never felt a complete connection to either Brenna, or the story.  I think the inconsistencies with both the pacing and the story threw me off.   So -- maybe it's a great book for some readers, but it just didn't resonate with me.

First sentences:  
I sleep with the dead.  I don't remember the first time I did it and I try not to think about why.  It's just something I do.  My fascination with the dead has become part of me, like the way my middle toes jut out.  They make my feet look like they're shooting the finger 24/7."

Thoughts on the cover: 
Not my favorite, although I appreciate that it's simple.  But if I had designed it, I would have used a black & white or sepia-toned photo of an angel from a cemetery, and made the text a bit smaller.


Jo K said...

Too bad for the pacing and story elements not working well, because the premise is promising. Great review!

Danielle Zappavigna said...

I've been quite interested in this book, mostly because it sounds unique in terms of the characters and topic. I'm still undecided if I'll read it or not, I think I'll wait and read a few more reviews before making up my mind :-)

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