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ARC Review: On a Dark Wing

On a Dark Wing

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Purchase: Amazon | BookDepository
Release Date: December 27, 2011
Publisher: HarlequinTeen
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Source: NetGalley
Rating: Guilty Pleasure
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About the Book:
The choices I had made led to the moment when fate took over. I would learn a lesson I wasn't prepared for. And Death would be my willing teacher.

Five years ago, Abbey Chandler cheated Death. She survived a horrific car accident, but her "lucky" break came at the expense of her mother's life and changed everything. After she crossed paths with Death—by taking the hand of an ethereal boy made of clouds and sky—she would never be normal again.

Now she's the target of Death's ravens and an innocent boy's life is on the line. When Nate Holden—Abbey's secret crush—starts to climb Alaska's Denali, the Angel of Death stalks him because of her.

And Abbey finds out the hard way that Death never forgets.
I had countless excuses for missing the bus that afternoon, five years ago.
In the grand scheme of the universe, what was five minutes?

After The Statistical Probability of First Sight, we all know that a few minutes can morph the rest of your life. Although in Abbey's case, five minutes are the springboard for the horrible teen years of her life that follow. A story that unfolds in multiple perspectives, Jordan Dane elegantly threads teenage angst, grief, love, loss, and second chances into the words of On a Dark Wing. What may surprise other readers about my feelings on this book would be my liking Abbey, the main character. I've taken notice that in a lot of reviews people seem to be really averse to her. But my perception of her character is grief-stricken as opposed to moody; uncertain, guilty, and insecure rather than bratty and mean. I can only imagine how difficult it might be walking around with a burden the size of a boulder, and then being expected to communicate these jumbled, shifting feelings to the most important people in your life, people who may misunderstand. Abbey's lash-outs generated a genuine take on how self-inflicted blame due to overpowering grief can dull what should be a bright soul and cloak a caring heart.

Abbey is lonely, because she hasn't quite figured out how to unseal the door to her heart and let people sink in to see inside. She's insecure, borderline frumpy, and an overall negative person. We don't catch beautiful long-forgotten images of the mother she knew, a means of dredging up a kindness and sympathy toward Abbey's situation. But Abbey's emotions and the way they are stretched out for our viewing makes her a believable, sympathetic character, though she demands no pity or understanding. Like so many, she yearns for acceptance and love. Dane has a way with describing the darker spectrum of our emotions, and she doesn't hesitate on just Abbey. A similar loneliness and curiosity plagues the the keeper of the dead, the Angel of Death himself. Although I couldn't get into Death as a character, I felt a reluctant compassion toward him, as he is taking action propelled by the need to experience the depth of human emotion and attachment.

However, despite the easy character connections and beautiful imagery of a snowy world I've never met, the plot had unattractive sections and the scattered romance was completely unbalanced. The story itself partially worked for me because I responded well to Abbey's plight and emotions, but I couldn't enmesh myself with the other characters as well, nor could I conjure feelings of awe for the death-defying mountain climbing that sucks up portions of the book. All I cared about was Abbey and her connection to Death and hated being interrupted! Unfortunately, the romance repelled me as well, not because of Abbey's very teenage boysession with Nate Holden, but because Abbey's entanglement with the three guys (somewhat) in her life is tucked into craziness, therefore the turnout in the end wasn't believable, and so I couldn't gush and squeal over that sweet final development as I would've liked.

Though not every page is wrapped in unpredictability, there still is a substantial amount of suspense to keep you entertained and curious enough to want to keep turning those pages. While I wasn't unquestionably impressed by On a Dark Wing, it jabbed at my attention through the end.


Jaskirat@SeeitORreadit said...

On a Dark Wing sounds like a major dissapointment! The suspense makes me want to read it but I don't think I will be able to over look the romance and the ending...However I think I will still try this one! Great review :)

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Liz. R said...

Hmm, I'm not sure about this one! The romance definitely puts me off (things need to be believable for me) so I don't think it's be one I'd enjoy - thought the concept does intrigue me. Thanks for the review, I think I'll leave this for now.

Sarah (saz101) said...

Oh, yay! I'm SO glad you liked this one!
I really liked it... but I was dissapointed in it, too. I agree with you about it being unbalance, in some aspects?
I really love your review--it's the best I've read so far. Ah, I wish I could be half as articulate!

A. Knight said...

Jaskirat- Yes, it just... wasn't enough, you know? I had such high hopes for this one and it let me down in some ways and in some ways not. It's one of those in-between reads.

Liz- exactly! But, yes, the concept and the MC is what kept dragging me back.

Sarah- Aw, thank you so much. Believe me, it's no picnic *lol* Especially when I want to just sometimes be like, OHMYGAWD OHMYGAWD OHMYGAWD, I READ THIS AND IT WAS, LIKE, TOTALLY MADE OF EVERYTHING GOOD AND IMPORTANT IN THE WORLD. And just kind of sign off there.

But, this one was a disappointment. I liked some parts, and others I didn't.

Anne said...

I hate when a love story I enjoy is constantly interrupted by the plot ... *lol* I know that's a stupid thing to say, but some books are meant to be just stories about love between two people and nothing else. :)

Anne (from Living in a Fairy World)