A Temptation of Angels by Michelle Zink

9 Oct


Helen Cartwright’s world is about to change, but not necessarily for the better.

When her mother comes to her bedroom one evening, Helen is distraught. Downstairs, she can hear voices raised in anger and what sounds like a dangerous fight. Her mother quickly packs a valise for Helen and gives her some chilling advice: “Do what I tell you and stay hidden. Otherwise, they will kill you and all will be for nothing.”

Helen’s mother opens a hidden door in her bedroom wall and shoves her daughter inside, giving her a piece of paper with instructions on how to get out of the house unseen and where she must go. She must find Griffin and Darius and they will take her to Galizur.

With these mysterious words, Helen’s mother shuts the wall and blocks the hidden entrance. It is the last time she sees her parents alive. She hears voices on the other side of the wall but they can’t find her. What they decide to do, however, is set her house on fire.

Following her mother’s instructions in order to flee her burning house, Helen finds herself at Griffin and Darius’ house. Stepping across the threshold, Helen enters into a strange world that she is already entwined in.

Unbeknownst to her, she has been trained her whole life as a Keeper, one of the Dictata, an organization that must protect the Earth and keep the balance of good and evil in check. As if that isn’t strange enough, Helen is told that she is from a line of people descended from angels and that she must help protect the world.

Helen will have to rely on everything she has learned, and the help of Griffin who stirs a desire inside of her, if they are all to save the world with their souls and their hearts intact.

After all, why should life be simple, even for an angel?

In A Temptation of Angels, Michelle Zink has written an apocalyptic tale set in a Victorian steampunk world that succeeds on every level. Not only is the story one that keeps you flipping the pages madly to find out what happens next, she has created characters that seem so alive, it’s as if I know them in real life itself.

My meager plot summary doesn’t even come close to describing how epic and amazing this novel is. Anything you think you know about the young adult genre is thrown out the window and the reader is treated to a tale unlike any other I’ve ever read. Full of passion, thrilling adventure and amazing plot twists that will leave you in shock, A Temptation of Angels is her best novel yet.

More than anything though, it’s a very intense study of what is good and what is evil. It’s a story of a young woman who must grow up quickly in order for her to claim her birthright and find her place in a hidden world to which she belongs. It also takes all the young adult novels about angels and adds something fresh, new and different in an already crowded genre.

Not content to follow the norms with young adult novels featuring angels, Zink’s world and character building are top notch as she takes us deeper into a dark world where nothing is what it seems and everything, even life itself, is at stake. I’m used to being impressed with Michelle Zink’s novels, but A Temptation of Angels blew me out of the water. I read it twice in eBook format and then read the hardcover for a third go around.

Perhaps the most amazing element of this novel is the fact that, even after I finished the novel, the characters stayed with me, haunting me in the daytime, their story embedded in my memory. The mark of great fiction is a story that stays with you.

If that is the case, then A Temptation of Angels is certainly a story for the ages. To read A Temptation of Angels by Michelle Zink is to witness a master at her craft and I for one couldn’t be happier to let Zink enthrall me, enchant me and leave me wanting more.


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