“Shortly after 17-year-old Maren Hamilton is orphaned and sent to live with grandparents she’s never met in Scotland, she receives an encrypted journal from her dead mother that makes her and everyone around her a target. It confirms that her parents were employed by a secret, international organization that’s now intent on recruiting her. As Maren works to unravel the clues left behind by her mother, a murderous madness sweeps through the local population, terrorizing her small town. Maren must decide if she’ll continue her parents’ fight or stay behind to save her friends.
With the help of Gavin, an otherworldly mercenary she’s not supposed to fall in love with, and Graham, a charming aristocrat who is entranced with her, Maren races against the clock and around the country from palatial estates with twisted labyrinths to famous cathedrals with booby-trapped subterranean crypts to stay ahead of the enemy and find a cure. Along the way, she discovers the great truth of love: that laying down your life for another isn’t as hard as watching them sacrifice everything for you.”
My review for Toward a Secret Sky is going to come off kind of meh. The reason being, I found the book just kind of meh. Maybe even a bit less than meh. Maybe more kind of…ugh.
I know. So specific, right?
I liked the premise, and the setting and cultural details all had a great sense of dedication. I don’t know much about Scotland despite the fact that my ancestry is almost all Scottish (I plan to remedy this soon. I’d like to know more about it, starting with attending my county’s Scottish Games.)
Ugh. Maren wasn’t a likeable character at all. I felt bad for her, but the emotion was lacking. She falls into insta-romance with a hot guy who turns out to be an angel…
It was all so tropey and overdone.
Little of the magical world was explained, and when it was, it was done in a ‘this is for the reader’s benefit’ sort of way. It was kinda cringe-worthy.
BUT, then I have some hang-ups in the other direction. There were a few things I LOVED. I liked the villain. And un-like a few other Blink titles, the villain isn’t half-baked. He does some actually bad things. Like, attempted rape. (which some books shy away from committing or coming close to committing.) Even a major character was murdered, right under your nose. (which I appreciate, because again, most authors shy away from committing to major character deaths like that.)
I did like Gavin, his side of the relationship came off as less superficial than Maren’s. But….still somewhat uninspiring.
So, there it is. My review of a somewhat mediocre angel-lore book. I wish the same passion that went into the setting and culture, went into the characters and relationships. So much of it came off as….cheeseballs. Cheeseball-y. Whatever.
The end redeemed some of that cheesiness. Maren moped for a while and then decided to do something about it at the prompting of another character. Thus not extending our suffering at the whole “We can’t be together, it’s forbidden” angle. It puts a little more oomph and offers a light at the end of the tunnel for future plot lines.
Having said that, I really hope that the character quality drastically improves. I’ll be cautiously optimistic and keep my eye out for its release. (I hear there will be two more installments, which will take place in other countries! Darn? Hopefully she remains as dedicated to the cultural influence in the future.)