Ellspeth Faneuil has always known she was a little different, thanks to her ability to read people's thoughts and feelings through a simple touch. Yet, she never quite realized how different until she met Michael Chase. Michael knows something about Ellie that she's refused to acknowledge for years: Ellie's nighttime dreams of flying aren't dreams. They're real, which can only mean that Eliie is more than different -- she's inhuman. But Michael doesn't know the whole truth, and as they search for answers the two teens get tangled in a cosmic mystery that will ultimately determine the fate of the entire world.
Fallen Angel by Heather Terrell begins very slowly. The narration is jarring -- Ellie's supposedly teenage voice sounds far too old and academic to be believable, and constantly pulls the reader out of the story with her excessively prim mental language. Though Ellie's intelligence is a refreshing trait, she comes across as stodgy rather than smart. The world and characters also feel a little flat. Ellie is confined to her one best friend, Ruth, and the two take on the rest of the stereotypically catty girls at their high school. Even when Michael enters the scene, he doesn't make much of an impact since it's clear from the beginning (and the title) that something otherworldly is afoot in the tiny town of Tillinghast. The interactions between Michael and Ellie seem rather forced and staged, and it was difficult to connect with the heroine on an emotional level when she seemed to be playing a part throughout much of the novel. However, the opening of the novel does pique some curiosity, and thankfully part of the mystery is revealed towards the end. Once the truth of Ellie's past and future began to unfold, the mythology of the world became captivating. Unfortunately, it takes most of the novel to reach this interesting plotline. The conclusion, though, will leave readers with high hopes that the sequel will further develop the promising thread that arose late in this first installment.
Disclosure: I received an advance review copy of this novel from the publisher. This did not affect my review in any way.