Sara’s Review of Broken Flight by Elle J Rossi
Publication Date: February 28th 2013
Publisher: Black Poppy Books
Series: Angels of Punishment #1
Anna James never planned on dying at age nineteen or ending up somewhere other than heaven. Five years later, her heart is still on Earth with her soulmate Grey, while the rest of her struggles to survive in Beyond. Not quite heaven and a lot like hell, Beyond is a proving ground where only the strongest souls are allowed to move on. With no way out, Anna keeps her head down and plays by the rules… Until she learns Grey is about to die.
Grey Wilson would give anything to go back and stop the accident that ripped Anna from his arms. But when Anna appears on Earth again, he quickly realizes things can never be as they were. Death and Beyond have changed her; brought out the dark side and dimmed her inner light. Before they can even revel in this semblance of a miracle, Grey and Anna find themselves in the middle of an angelic civil war where sabotage and danger lurk around every corner.
Anna’s dark side is exactly what Azrael – the leader of the Angels of Punishment – craves. When Azrael lays out his demands, Anna will have to make the biggest decision of her life.
This was a book that I have mixed feelings for. On the one paw I liked the plot and the secondary characters a lot, but on the other I couldn’t get past my dislike of the main characters. As a result of this, I found myself struggling to read it. With that in mind, allow me to say that I believe that this is a story where your mileage is going to vary on whether you like it or not.
Let’s just get the main problem I had with the story over and done with so that I can then focus on the good stuff. I really didn’t like the main characters and I tried too, believe me I tried too, but I couldn’t do it. Grey in particular rubbed my fur the wrong way. While I could overlook his tendency to purposely put himself in harm’s way in order to feel closer to Anna (something I don’t approve of, but can understand), I couldn’t stand how he judged her for the clothing and make-up she chose to wear when they got back together. And if she didn’t act the way that she once used to around him, he judged her for that as well. It seriously bugged me to the point where I wanted to slap him with my claws fully extended. Toss in the fighting with her one moment and then trying to make-up with her afterwards, and yeah, I didn’t have a great deal of respect for Grey. He strikes me as being the type of guy with a lot of issues that he needs to come to terms with before he could ever have a healthy relationship with someone.
As for Anna, the only times I liked her were when she was actually standing up and fighting for herself and what she believed in. When she wasn’t doing this, she was questioning where her new-found anger had come from (personally I think a little bit of ruthlessness is a good thing every now and then), upset over fighting with Grey, or couldn’t keep her hands off of him (I get that they are “soul mates” but come on, every other chapter it seemed like they were getting it on). One minute she’s a kick-ass character who I could get behind and cheer on and the next she’s completely helpless and pathetic. Mind you, this is my interpretation of the characters and as I said above, your views might be completely different from mine should you choose to read this book.
That being said, let’s talk about the things that I enjoyed, one of which were the secondary characters. Mickale, Sarafina, and the rest of the AOP, including Azrael, were fascinating characters. They had a lot of depth, great personalities (I love that most of the angels I got to meet in this book were dark in nature), and were much more engaging than Grey and Anna. I wanted to learn more about them and I really wish that there had been more of a focus on them in this book. I loved Mickale’s story arc, found Sarafina’s and Zeke’s relationship to be rather comical, and just greatly enjoyed the scenes where they showed up. I don’t often find myself loving the antagonists much, but this book was an exception.
Another part of the book that I enjoyed was the underlying plot. This idea that there is a darker side to heaven, a Beyond, where you have to prove yourself in order to eventually advance towards something better, was interesting to me to say the least. Rossi puts a spin on the preconceived notion that Heaven is all love and light and does a magnificent job of making it more seedier and dark in nature. It creates so many possibilities and directions for future books to go in, I just loved it. This and the main plot, the search for the Sword of Peleus (I do so love mythology, even lose-based mythology), was what made me want to keep reading the book and seeing where things would end up. I guess I should also mention that the mystery surrounding Anna’s death also kept me reading though I will admit that it took way to long to find out what had happened.
Honestly, if it hadn’t been for the secondary characters and the plot, I probably would have put the book down by the fifth chapter and called it done because I really wasn’t connecting with the Anna and Grey story arc at all. So when all is said and done, this turned out to be a “meh” story for me. I didn’t love it but I didn’t completely dislike it either. It was just “meh”, and as a result all I can say is, you are going to have to just try this book for yourself and see where your feelings stand at the end.