Angelia, or Lia, is a struggling teenager trying to get on with life. Alone and lonely, she’s an orphan and her foster mother is recently deceased. Her foster father has taken to drink to try and deal with it, life isn’t easy.
At school she is largely alone, until finally, in her senior year, through sheer persistence, Ryan manages to crack her isolation. Suddenly with a new circle of friends and a boy who likes her, things are looking up. Perhaps a little too up when Lyle, her friend and neighbour Emi’s brother, also expresses an interest.
But then she learns far more about her past than she imagined – including the reality of her parents and foster mother. She learns even more about herself, that her vivid dreams are just a herald of the werewolf within her. A werewolf who has lived before – and has an immortal lover that is now seeking her out. And a werewolf that has a long running feud with the family closest to her – who are now determined to get their revenge.
This book did have a decent concept and a very nice idea. The immortal, reincarnated werewolf trying to assimilate into mundane life and not knowing what she was. The haunted, grieving vampire looking for his lost love and rebuild their relationship. The ancient feuding family looking for revenge for long past grievances and even the shapeshifters having all this dumped on them but with more ties than they imagined. It could have been developed and well done.
Unfortunately, I don’t think it was. Largely because none of these points really were developed, they were just accepted facts. There’s even one bemusing scene where Lia goes to speak to Ani for the first time and Ani basically says “you’re a reincarnated werewolf, they want to kill you and a vampire loves you. Want a cup of tea?” It’s just dumped with no development – and Lia’s drama is not DOUBTING Ani but being unable to deal with how much this changes her life. Really? If a complete stranger told me I was a werewolf, I’d advise them to water down their booze more. Events happen, people form connections, people do things but their reasons are very shaky.
The writing was also a barrier. I’m not normally one to care too much about grammar or spelling – so long as it’s readable and flows, it’s not something I criticise a book for. But, in this case, it went just a bit too far. I think commas were inserted at random and the sentence structure was rather random, often with lots of short, staccato sentences that were jarring. I think the balance of writing was off as well – words were wasted on the exact details of getting dressed or making breakfast, and not enough spent on describing characters and developing relationships. There was also a problem with repeated wrong use of words – some of them were blatant spellcheck errors (“Now” instead of “know”) but some were just wrong words – obvious malapropisms.
I don’t like the relationships in this book or the character interactions in general. Lia starts the book as an ostracised lonely girl – but we have no idea why. We’re told she’s bullied and picked on, but again, no reason why or who (nor does it ever actually happen). She keeps her head down and drives off anyone around her (again, no idea why) and then we’re supposed to feel for her because she’s lonely? It’s not even relevant to the plot – it just feels shoe-horned in to give Lia some character without any depth.