Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Book Review of #3 Until Angels CLose My Eyes by Lurlene McDaniel

Name of Book: Until Angels Close My Eyes

Author: Lurlene McDaniel

ISBN: 0-553-57098-6

Publisher: Laurel Leaf Books

Part of a Series: The Angels Trilogy

Type of book: Cancer, Amish, 1990s, relationship, choices, belonging, home, family, young adult

Year it was published: 1998

Summary:

Be sure to read this summer's highly anticipated companion to Angels Watching Over Me and Lifted Up by Angels:

Until Angels Close My Eyes

When Neil, Leah's warm and loving step-father, reveals that his cancer is no longer in remission, Leah finds comfort in a visit to Amish country to see her true love, Ethan. When Ethan chooses to leave his life on the farm, he moves in with Leah and her family. But once Ethan arrives, they realize that his Amish values are quite different from those of Leah's complex "English" world. Will their love help, or hurt, Leah as she faces the complex hurdles that await her?

Characters:

The characters felt flat and somehow predictable to me. For me there really wasn't anything surprising about their actions or thoughts. I was confused about something though; I could have sworn that in the first book Leah wanted to be a nurse like angel who looked after her, but in this one she doesn't want to be a nurse and has no idea what she wants to do? The personalities aren't explored and its more action rather than anything else. I also wasn't happy that a lot of things were left as cliffhangers and would have wished for a modified ending. For the most part, I feel, Ms. McDaniel's novels end without cliffhangers; that is when I read about April Lancaster, I never wonder what happened to the characters left on earth because she tied everything up.

Theme:

When things go awry, turn to family or home for comfort.

Plot:

This is written in third person narrative from Leah's point of view. I honestly found myself not caring about te characters in this book. First of all, I felt that the author should have used actions to cause me to care about Leah's stepfather Neil; perhaps Leah is in distress and Neil comforts her or hugs her or something like that. In the second book, when one of the characters  has passed away, I cared about her because I got to see the interaction and whatnot between her and Leah, but for the last two novels Neil has played a background character thus when I'm asked to care about him, I can't. The part where Ethan finds and discovers a long lost relative lacked tension as well as climax. I didn't understand how it benefited either of them since that thread is left hanging in the dark. When I first learned of the ending by reading some reviews on goodreads, I was a little surprised, but looking more and more at Leah's relationship with Ethan as well as tribulations, the ending that others hope for would have taken a miracle straight from G-d to make it right.

Author Information:

Lurlene McDaniel began writing inspirational novels about teenagers facing life-altering situations when her son was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes. "I saw firsthand how chronic illness affects every aspect of a person's life," she has said. "I want kids to know that while people don't get to choose what life gives to them, they do get to choose how they respond." Lurlene McDaniel's novels are hard hitting and realistic, but also leave readers with inspiration and hope. Her books have received acclaim from readers, teachers, parents, and reviewers. Her novels Don't Die, My Love; I'll be Seeing You; and 'Till Death Do us Part have all been national bestsellers. Lurlene McDaniel lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee. (From inside flap)

Opinion:

I had hoped to like this book, but unfortunately the story grew somehow worse when comparing it to the first book, Angels Watching Over Me. The characters didn't feel fleshed out and I was sad that I couldn't care about any of them. I wasn't sure whether or not to give it two stars, but in the end I decided to settle for three stars because it wasn't that bad. The first two books ended in a somewhat hopeful note, but I felt the last one was commercially written and there wasn't much soul to it unfortunately; yet its the longest one written! If you have read the previous two novels, I would suggest reading it just to see how the story ended, but other than that, I wouldn't recommend it.

3 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

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