Natural Born Angel by Scott Speer
Release Date – April 23, 2013
Publisher Website - Razorbill
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 384 pages
My Rating- 3.5/5
**obtained for review from publisher**
Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Life turned upside down for Maddy Montgomery when she found out she was half-Angel and was catapulted into the scene of flashbulbs, paparazzi, and the fervent adulation that comes with being in the celebrity Angel world. She's trying to juggle her ordinary life—high school, family, friends—with the intense demands of being in the public eye as heartthrob Angel Jackson Godspeed's girlfriend.Glitz, glamour, and betrayal take center stage in this sequel to Immortal City. Agenda driven characters, and an intriguing political tone are back dropped against the glittering Hollywood skyline.
And now Maddy must face the most difficult choice of her life. She's been offered the chance to become a Guardian. This means entering into dangerous and high stakes training, with no guarantee that she can succeed. But more than that, it would mean leaving her mortal life behind—forever—and allying with the Angels at a time when their relationship with humans is heading for war. . . .
The crime noir tone and feel I loved so much in book one shifts a bit in the sequel. This novel focuses more on the glitz and glamorous side of Hollywood. We see how seductive the spotlight can be, and how easy it is to get caught up in the current when you’re the next big thing.
Maddy’s life has changed greatly from the one she knew. She’s now not only Jackson’s girlfriend, but half angel. Her life is thrust into the spotlight. The changes in Maddy's character are expected, and obvious. Her moral compass is still one of the strongest in the series. Her belief that protecting those who need it, regardless of background or financial means, is a defining trait for her. However, she is tempted by the celebrity aspect of the Angel's lives. The adoration is addictive, and it's easy to see how she could fall under it's spell.
Jackson’s character arc surprised me in this novel. He takes a path I should have seen coming, but I was not prepared for the lengths in which he was willing to go. He is devastated by loosing the ability to fly. His grit and determination to regain his strength is admirable. He isn't used to be the 'hottest Angel' and falling from grace is tough on the proud Jackson. Seeing this side to him, an unsure of where his fits, and slowly defeated side, was much different than the Jackson I was anticipating. It's another layer to a character that seemed too perfect in the first one. His character, among others, shows that even Angels make mistakes, and that nobody is perfect.
The political side to this novel was, by far, my favourite part. A war is brewing between angel and humans and as the story goes on the pressure intensifies. The unease many felt in the first novel over how the Angels run their protection for pay service is heightened in this one. Agendas are revealed, sometimes coming as a shock. It all leads up to a final choice Maddy has to make - will she stand with the humans or embrace her Angel side? The answer is more complicated than Maddy, or I, expected. I like that she was conflicted, and at times disappointed in those around her. The build up to the war is gradual, until the pressure pops and everything moves at a rapid pace. It’s where Scott Speer’s writing stands out in this sequel.
One of my favourite parts of Immortal City was the character of Detective Sylvester. I could almost envision him an trench coat. He reads like someone straight out of the old Hollywood movies. His role in this installment is equally important. I love that he is played as intelligent, hard working and capable. Often in novels the detectives/police are portrayed as either clueless or everything comes too easily for them. This feels more realistic in how he gathers evidence, sifts through things, and takes the time to verify his information.
The ending, of course, left me wanting to read the third novel immediately. Things have gotten more complicated and I can’t wait to see what is next for Maddy, Jacks, and the rest. The tension has hit it’s breaking point, and I feel that we are in for an explosive finale…if indeed this is only a trilogy.
A novel I enjoyed for it’s political aspects, and characters, but left me missing what I truly loved from the first book. - that gritty, noir feel that haunted it’s pages. Fans of angels, and the glitz and glamour of Hollywood will devour this series.