A Temptation of Angels by Michelle Zink is a very well-plotted historical paranormal novel. Really: I was impressed with the plot. Unfortunately – the characters? Not so much.
So, Helen Cartwright’s world is turned upside down when her parents are brutally killed and her house burned down. Her mother managed to hide her right before losing her life, so Helen takes refuge with two mysterious brothers she’d never met previously. When she discovers that her family’s deaths are part of a larger plot involving the balance of good and evil – she realizes she has been training for this her entire life.
Of course, that still doesn’t mean she is ready.
So – like I said, the plot is very well done. It is intricate, balanced and well thought out. If you like angel novels, A Temptation of Angels is definitely a book that should go on your to-read list.
Unfortunately, the plot is basically this book’s only strength. The characters and setting both leave something to be desired.
Since everything is revolving around the danger these characters are in, I feel like they weren’t developed properly. Everything they did fed into the plot, which left the characterization really weak.
Also, Helen was so stubborn about being involved in everything, even when it meant resources had to be used worrying about her instead of furthering the mission. I feel like there is a fine line between strength and stupidity that Helen might have been on the wrong side of. I feel weird saying that since I’m all about tough female characters, but Helen just rubbed me the wrong way all-around.
Also, I felt like the historical setting was incidental. It just as easily could have been set in the present-day (or heck, the future) without any important changes to the story. That was a huge disappointment for me, because historical fantasy is one of my favorite genres. I wish Michelle Zink had weaved in more historical detail.
So, I would mainly recommend A Temptation of Angels for readers who prefer plot driven novels over stories with more character development. Since I didn’t connect with Helen, this is probably not a series I’ll be continuing.