Title: The Day the Angels Fell
Author: Shawn Smucker
Genre: Teen, Y/A
Publication: 05 September 2017 by Revell
Series: N/A –
Format: Kindle E-Book
It was the summer of storms and strays and strangers. The summer that lightning struck the big oak tree in the front yard. The summer his mother died in a tragic accident. As he recalls the tumultuous events that launched a surprising journey, Samuel can still hardly believe it all happened.
After his mother’s death, twelve-year-old Samuel Chambers would do anything to turn back time. Prompted by three strange carnival fortune-tellers and the surfacing of his mysterious and reclusive neighbor, Samuel begins his search for the Tree of Life–the only thing that could possibly bring his mother back. His quest to defeat death entangles him and his best friend Abra in an ancient conflict and forces Samuel to grapple with an unwelcome question: could it be possible that death is a gift?
I was sent an advance copy of this novel through NetGalley, so thanks to Revell Publishing for sending it to me!
What I enjoyed:
- Writing Style – Simply put, Smuckers writing was both engaging and had such a natural flow. I felt like it had such poignant prose, especially following the death of Samuels mother and him coming to terms with his grief.
- Portrayal of Grief – I think the representation of loss was so realistic, though Samuel is mature for his age, at least in my opinion, the way he struggles with the concept of death is so true to life and shows he is still a child in many ways. It’s a very raw, and human representation of coming to terms with mortality and it was so moving.
- Use of time – The novel did not follow a linear narrative entirely, and whilst sometimes this can be confusing, I enjoyed it here. You got older Samuel, retelling the stories of his youth and I found this both wistful and compelling, as a reader trying to fill in the gaps.
What could have been improved:
- Pacing issues – I felt like the plot moved so slowly at times that it took me quite a while to finish this book. I did enjoy the story but it was very slow moving, almost to the point where an entire chapter would go by and I didn’t feel satisfied with what had happened.
- Too much mythology, too little time – This may seem like a silly criticism but I honestly felt like there was an attempt to cover way too much in this book, and it felt disjointed. I liked that it brought in some Inuit elements, such as the Amarok but alongside angels and a tree of life, it felt a little too much and I think there could have been better use of time to enable better story telling.
- Ending / Lack of resolution – I was left quite confused by the ending, perhaps this is a opening for a sequel? Otherwise I was left quite dissatisfied by it. It was revealed that a certain character had a major role to play in the story but this was revealed way later and I would have liked to hear more about that rather than a plot inserted at the end. It seemed rather hasty and odd, but as I said, perhaps another book will follow.
Until next time,