Thursday, December 1, 2011

Review: Angel Evolution (sorry this is a little late)

Title: Angel Evolution

Author: David Estes

Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5

Part of a Series?: First in series

Goodreads Summary:
 Angel Evolution- the first book in the young adult fantasy trilogy: The Evolution Trilogy... When Taylor meets Gabriel at college, she is in awe of the subtle glow that surrounds him. No one else, not even her best friend, seems to notice. Something about him scares her. Is all as it appears? While Taylor struggles for answers, she finds herself in the middle of a century old war centered on one miraculous revelation: evolution.

Thanks goes out to David Estes for letting me have a free ebook copy of his book to review. :) 

2.5 stars 

The last self-pubbed book I read was Betrayal by Mayandree Michel. Long story short, it sucked. Thankfully, Angel Evolution was better than I expected coming away from my prior experience with self-pubs; however, there were a lot of things that could have been improved.

The best way I can describe the faults of Angel Evolution is that the story itself reads a lot like fanfiction. Now before you make any judgments about this statement, consider this: fanfiction.nethas thousands and thousands of stories in its catalogue, with more submitted every day. Obviously, there is something addictive about fanfiction, not just because it spins a take on your favorite stories but also because its just interesting. There are some really good undiscovered writers out there hiding behind online pen names. However, generally, the stories online have a relative entertainment value but, if bound into a hardcover and put into a bookstore, wouldn't cut it among professionally published works.  

The same goes for Estes and Angel Evolution. There is a certain amount of mystery and drama that I enjoyed to the plot, but overall, the story read like a fanfiction. There were a lot of "show don't tell" violations in the form of infodumps and internal expositions. I thought that the book lacked a naturalness that is usually found in published books. There were a lot of strange phrases and stiff, awkward dialogues (note: I personally like contractions. Even in non-dialogue sentences, they make the narration smoother) that don't match up with my idea of a group of laid back college folk. Events also happened way to quickly. Estes uses a lot of jumps in narration and time, which really cut into our ability to relate fully to a character. The two month jump in the middle of Taylor and Gabriel's relationship startled me, and as a result, I was unable to feel the chemistry between the two--all of the sudden, they went from the new couple stage to the able-to-say-I-love-you stage. I wished I could have experienced the bonding phase between the protagonists. It would've really helped me relate to the otherwise unrelatable protagonists.

I do not profess to know anything about the jobs of professional book editors and publishers, but they're paid to fix these kinds of errors. Again, I can't blame this book or Estes himself for self-pubbing (since this is a good way to just get your work out to the public), but a lot of the faults to this book simply stem from a lack of experience reviewing the initial drafts.

Not everything about this book was bad. I thought that there was something enticing about the angel-demon war. Estes put his own unique spin on the two races, and I really want to know more about the backstory behind the conflict and those involved. What was interesting to me was that neither side really seemed to be truly evil. As a demon, Chris definitely made a good case for being the good guy. But then again, Gabriel and his fellow angels had this light-hearted nature to them. I think Estes did a great job at blurring the lines between the friends and enemies. 

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