By: Shannon Dittemore
Published: May 29th 2012 by Thomas Nelson Fiction
Source: Publisher via NetGalley (THANK YOU!!)
Goodreads description--Once you’ve seen, you can’t unsee. Everything changes when you’ve looked at the world through . . .
Brielle’s a ballerina who went to the city to chase her dreams and found tragedy instead. She’s come home to shabby little Stratus, Oregon, to live with her grief and her guilt . . . and the incredible, numbing cold she can’t seem to shake.
Jake’s the new guy at school. The boy next door with burning hands and an unbelievable gift that targets him for corruption.
Something more than fate has brought them together. An evil bigger than both of them lurks in the shadows nearby, hiding in plain sight. Two angels stand guard, unsure what’s going to happen. And a beauty brighter than Jake or Brielle has ever seen is calling them to join the battle in a realm where all human choices start.
A realm that only angels and demons—and Brielle—can perceive.
Even though I am a Christian, I don’t typically read Christian fiction. But every now and then it’s nice to throw in a book or two to change up my routine. And I think that’s one of the reasons why I enjoyed Angel Eyes as much as I did. Was it my favorite book ever? Well no. But it was a change of pace. It was different than what I’ve been reading. The main characters had different problems and different struggles than what I’ve been seeing over and over recently. And so I can definitely appreciate it for that.
The main character, Brielle, starts out with a secret. Something that happened while she was at school in the city. We find out what happened sooner than I would have expected, and it ended up being not as earth shattering as I expected it to be. But isn’t that the way of us, humans? We tend to dwell on our problems and cause them to become bigger and bigger. Then when they finally come to the surface, someone somewhere thinks “was that it, really?” The way it was built up made it seem like Brielle did something…wrong—it’s the only word I can think of. Yet what did happen fell a bit short of the build-up.
It was nice to see the relationship Brielle has with her father. Father figures tend to be lacking in the young adult fiction world. And of course I’d be remiss if I didn’t speak of Jake. He easily spots that Brielle is in pain, and he seeks to remedy that any way that he can.
This story played with the question of free-will. If a superior being—God, obviously—knows what’s going to happen before it happens, does that mean we have no choice in the matter? Do our choices to seek a particular end bring that end about? Do our choices to prevent an end from occurring really bring us all the more to that end? Do we have the choice? Is it predestined? Does God move us around like chess pieces? Does the fact that He knows what choices we are going to make change the fact that we make them? And if God is working in our lives to protect us from evil and from danger—whatever that might be—how do we account for death of loved ones? Especially gruesome murders or unexpected events that result in tragedy? Is He truly a good God? Can I believe in a God that is working to protect me, yet allowed my loved one to die?
It’s hard for me to read a book like this and not set off “preaching” myself. And the questions above remind me of a book I read earlier this year called The Shack by William Paul Young (my review). At the time, I wasn’t all that impressed with the book. Yet, after having time to mull it over I really do think it handles some of these questions nicely. When Brielle was offering up some of the same questions—why her mother and her best friend had to die—Jake was telling her that it could be all part of a higher plan that God has. And while that is possible I suppose, I don’t think that’s the proper answer to a question like that. Jake’s answer reminded me of a section from The God Who Sees You by Tammy Maltby. In The God Who Sees You, Tammy Maltby relates a story told to her about a 12 year old boy who’s mother died. The boy was told by a priest that God needed his mother more than the boy did. Tammy responded to the now grown man that she disagreed with what the priest told him. Tammy Maltby says, "I'm convinced that it's not the trauma itself that does the most damage in our lives. It's the false conclusions we draw about God that leave the biggest scars. It's the mistaken belief that God doesn't care or isn't in control or that He actually sets out to hurt us." (Location 1205 to 1215 Kindle edition, The God Who Sees You.)
The only other point I have to contend with was in both The Shack and Angel Eyes, these humans get to experience supernatural events involving God and His angels. Because faith by definition is belief in the unseen, when we have an experience of sight like these two books describe, faith no longer plays a part. Sight produces knowledge, which is different from faith. Faith can’t be explained. It can’t be seen. It believes what it can’t see—or prove. And that’s why the Bible says we walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). And that blessed are those who believe and have not seen (John 20:29).
All of that being said, this was an okay book. Obviously it was clean—no potty mouth, no suggestive scenes. Even having a spiritual theme that it does, it’s a fiction book. So don’t take it too seriously, but don’t be surprised at the content considering the title. (Although I guess I can understand why even knowing a book is about angels one might not expect this content considering the other popular books recently that involve angels: the Blue Bloods series—fallen angels turned vampires; The Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices—half angel, demon hunters; Daughter of Smoke & Bone—involves angels, Seraphim to be exact, almost just like any other race of people and absolutely no mention of God; Fallen & Hush, Hush—both involving a fallen angel who has fallen in love with a human.)
Angel Eyes, 3 Stars. Have you read it? What did you think? Let me know!