Thursday, May 28, 2009

Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow


Dru Anderson has what her grandmother called “the touch.” (Comes in handy when you’re traveling from town to town with your dad, hunting ghosts, suckers, wulfen, and the occasional zombie.)

Then her dad turns up dead —but still walking— and Dru knows she’s next. Even worse, she’s got two guys hungry for her affections, and they’re not about to let the fiercely independent Dru go it alone. Will Dru discover just how special she really is before coming face-to-fang with whatever — or whoever — is hunting her?

I have WANTED to read Strange Angels since the first time I saw the cover up on Lilith's site. The look is dark and moody and you just know the main character is going to be kick-butt and cool.

As my friends Karen and Ana can testify, once I started reading Strange Angels I had my doubts. I won't deny it. It was not what I expected. But then I realised how biased I am being, reading this as an adult novel in the same vein as Lili's other books for adults (which she writes under her name Lilith Saintcrow). So, I made the effort to stand aside, see Strange Angels with fresh eyes and take it in as a newcomer to Lili's work and seeing it from a YA reader's perspective, and you know what? This book is pretty darn fab. (Liz eating humble pie)

Dru is not a happy person. She's grumpy and a bit of a cow and she has an attitude. But taken into consideration the type of life she's lead and how close she is to her father and how demanding he's been of her, you understand her motivations and her grumpiness.

Lili's world-building in Strange Angels is quite good but what shines is her characterisation of Dru, Graves and Christophe. The bleakness of the landscape the novel is set against highlights the characters' isolation and forms a strong contrast for the warmth of real friendship which grows between Dru and Graves.

There is the teeniest, tiniest, bit of romantic interest but it is almost an aside as the situation these characters find themselves in does not lend itself to a furtherance at this time. Which - I personally - found refreshing.

The mystery surrounding Dru is revealed in good old fashioned drips and drabs and even then there are some questions remaining. The mythology is strongly European and probably a bit more brutal than expected - readers should be warned that this is not a novel to be tackled lightly, expecting it to be LJ Smith or Stephenie Meyer-alikes.

Strange Angels has this brutal and intense fight scene towards the end and you know something? If there is one thing that Ms. St Crow can write, leaving her contemporary YA and adult urban fantasy authors in the dust, it is fight scenes. Well executed with tremendous action and superb descriptions it leaves you aching and breathless.

I think that Strange Angels sets up the characters and storyline very well and in retrospect, my regret is now that I rushed out and bought it early...and therefore have a long(ish) wait for the second novel: Betrayals to show up. *waits*

I am unsure if Strange Angels will be published in the UK but it is available online and from bookstores - I bought my copy from one of Amazon's sellers: aphrohead_books because Amazon did not have copies in, at that time.

Find Lilith Saintcrow / Lili St. Crow's site here. Strange Angels has been published in the USA by RazorBill, part of Penguin USA.


a flight of minds said...

I really want to read this book. I've heard lots of good things about this book, and the book is my kinda book. Grumpy characters are more of a turn off than off for me. XD

Great review! I may have to buy this book instead of waiting to get it from my library...

- Alex

Ailsa said...

I spent ages the other day looking through bookshops to try and find a copy of this, wondering if it was published in the UK or not. I guess I'll just have to be a little more patient. *g*.

Rabid Fox said...

The more I read about this novel, the more I want it. Nice post.