By Scott Speer
Release Date: August 28th, 2014
Genre: Young Adult
Gosh, there are so many conflicting emotions involved with this book. There were parts where I wanted to hug the book close, go "aww" and swoon and then there were parts where I wanted to yell at it, rip the pages, and throw it across the room. And, more often than not, I went from one extreme to the other within a few chapters.
That's a lot of emotion to feel in one book.
Battle Angel kicks off right where Natural Born Angel left off - addressing that terrible cliffhanger. Everyone who read the second book was dying to know who Maddie decided to end up with. And, seeing as this bombshell is dropped in the first three pages, I won't feel to bad telling you she picks Tom.
Cue me wanting to throw the book within the first three pages.
Moving on from that sucker punch, the rest of the story unfolds when the sinkhole containing the demons grows and, eventually, the deadly demons spill out and reek havoc on the town. All the other angels, after having been snubbed by the humans in their bill to limit the angel's power, decide not to intervene and protect humanity. It's up to Maddie alone, as well as Tom and the US government to try and stop the invasion. Several small battles ensue, causing gigantic damage to property and loss of life, before Jacks finally has a change of heart and agrees to aid Maddie in helping the humans. His leadership causes other angels to follow in his footsteps. Eventually, with the help of Detective Sylvester, Maddie and Jacks learn who is really behind and controlling the demons. With this information, it's up to all the angels and humans to work together and save Immortal City in it's darkest hour.
Again, seeing as this is a final book in a series, I don't want to go into too much detail for fear I will spoil something for my readers. So, I'll address the things that didn't hit with me and the things that did without trying to put too much plot into it.
First of all, the love triangle. Ugh. I'm a die hard Jacks fan. And I always will be. Tom was nice and all, but I felt that he was a needless foil that Speer threw into mix to create drama. And considering that the Immortal City is facing a full-fledged apocalypse, I don't think any other drama needed to be added. When will YA authors learn that there doesn't need to be a love triangle in EVERY book EVER written? Maddie and Jacks were both going through so much change and character development at this point in the story that drama and tension could have been achieved by them just trying to work out their problems on their own. There really was no need for another character to be thrown in.
Secondly, Maddie. I don't think I've read such an annoying main character since, like, Twilight. She's wishy-washy, far too emotional, and I don't think she'd even be able to blink without looking to someone for approval. I let this pass in the first two books because I reasoned it away, saying that she had thrown herself into a new world and was trying to find where she belonged and yada yada. But it's book three now. It's time to start putting your big girl panties on and working on that personality you've been trying to piece together. I wanted to her do something special and epic and praise worthy during the battle but she did nothing. She didn't even fight one good scene before being badly injured and put out of commission. It was up to Jacks to do all the saving. And, hey, I'm down with that. I love the guy, but there's something to be said about a female lead who can hold her own, too... That and the fact that she just couldn't decide which guy she wanted. I mean, she tells one guy she loves him, then goes and sleeps with another? *Pulls hair out* I just... Never felt that we got to see Maddie at her best, using her full potential. And seeing as she's the main character, that's a major negative for me.
Luckily, there was plenty of positive to make up for the negative - at least for me. First of all, there was action and suspense in every chapter. I loved the talk of guns and raids and battle tactics. I loved all the gory details of how the demons appeared and what happened during the climax of the battles. I loved the tension that came with feeling that the war just couldn't be won and I loved the small romances that managed to crop up between the side characters, ones that you didn't even notice were there until it was right in front of you.
But mostly what won me over was who had me at the very beginning - Jacks. It was great to see him grow throughout this series. One of the main things that drew me to Immortal City in the first place was how "human" the angels seemed. It was fascinating getting to see a side of the angels that fell to human weakness, such as greed and pride. And Jacks was no exception. In book one, he's hot and a ladies' man, but he's also self-absorbed and vain. In book two, he's learned to love and care about others more than himself, but as soon as that happens, he's faced with a life-altering event that leaves him ultimately bitter. In this final book, he pulls himself out of despair and learns his true purpose and identity. He comes full circle and it's not often we get to see the ugliest and the most beautiful aspects of a character. I applaud Speer for creating such an insight into Jacks and making me love him all the more.
And that ending? While others might think differently, I don't think it could have ended better.
So, yes, there were issues with this book but overall I was satisfied with the story and I'm very pleased to have stuck through and seen the entire series through to an end. I definitely recommend this series to any angel genre lovers out there, as well as anyone who might be in the market for a new book boyfriend - Erm, I mean, anyone who would like to see some great character development. ;)