Verdict: HEART TO HEART is a very original story set in an intricately-woven world with an enjoyable heroine. Despite the lack of balance for the many conflicts, Oshun’s writing style is vivid and engaging.
HEART TO HEART features the return of a smart, savvy, and talented heroine on a very original journey of self-discovery but the story loses momentum due to the ease at which she deals with the multitude of problems in her life.
In Book Two for the Angelica Brown series, protagonist and newborn immortal blood drinker Angel faces challenges as a teenager in an incredibly distinct bifurcation of the fantasy and real world. Her rise to fame as the lead singer in a burgeoning pop girl group parallels her own intricately conflicted coming-of-age journey and she experiences a unique path in a story that only encounters bumps with an imbalance of obstacles that seem easily overcome.
The story opens with Angel’s mother entering “The Great Sleep,” which is the immortal equivalent to being close to death. Not only will her mother remain asleep for an indefinite amount of time, but Angel’s father has to watch over her body. Suddenly parent-less, Angel moves to Los Angeles to navigate the music world with her girl group, Kat Trio. She soon finds herself entrenched in a love triangle, caught between her music producer / wizard-medium boyfriend, Sawyer and immortal blood donor, Justin.
The way in which Oshun interweaves the moments from Angel’s human life and immortal life is quite creative and seamless. Oshun portrays her imminent double life with interesting and well-thought-out details, dropping in unexpected fun tidbits as Angel balances her worlds. For example, when Angel has to get ready for her appearances with Kat Trio, her stylist also has magical inclinations so she can work at an immortal speed and she’s able to get Angel’s nails, hair, and make-up done in mere seconds.
The most fascinating parts of this novel come from Angel’s double life and her foray into the music scene. Oshun describes the preparation, appearances, parties, and red-carpet events with the clarity of an insider’s eye to the industry. The fly-on-the-wall aspect is exciting and fast-paced, giving insight into Angel’s whirlwind career as a pop star. When Kat Trio attends a national awards show, Angel realizes, “There were people directing us where to walk, when to stop, and people yelling questions. It was utter chaos. Never again would I watch people walk the red carpet on TV and think it was easy, unplanned, or that they even had enough room to maneuver…Then there was what I call the Wall of Death. We stood against a wall, and rabid photographers yelled at us while taking pictures.”
However, it soon starts to feel like there’s so much turmoil and turbulence in Angel’s life that none of the conflicts gains real traction. There’s almost too much being thrown at her all at once. Angel already possesses such a strong sense of self that it doesn’t seem like the challenges have the potential to seriously derail or endanger her. For example, she learns to drive in the city of Los Angeles easily, adamantly insists on making all of her own decisions, and is not afraid to stand up to anyone around her. She is a headstrong heroine, but she almost seems too capable of handling every hurdle in her path. Her situation also constantly swings from everything going too well or everything going wrong at once.
HEART TO HEART is a very original story set in an intricately-woven world with an enjoyable heroine. Despite the lack of balance for the many conflicts, Oshun’s writing style is vivid and engaging.