Verdict: This paranormal, kind-of-romance, urban-fantasy about an eighteen-year-old girl and her encounters with angels rises above others of its ilk with crisp writing and careful plotting.
Lucinda “Lucky” Monroe has just had to put her grandmother — the woman who raised her after her mother died giving birth — in an assisted care facility because the older woman’s Alzheimer’s has made looking after her too difficult. So when Lucky starts seeing wings on some of the people she passes in the street, she puts it down to stress and guilt. But then she meets one man whose very glance sends pain shooting through her head. And the handsome lead singer of a local band sprouts wings of flame that are too vivid to write off as an hallucination.
It’s no exaggeration to say there are way more paranormal novels out there than any one person can be expected to read, and a lot of them have angels in them. So I hope I’ll be forgiven when I say I approached A Gift of Wings with a considerable feelings of doubt. Stamm’s writing, though, soon had me setting my misgivings aside — while it’s not perfect prose, it’s definitely good, and it’s very evident the author has spent a lot of time honing her craft. I was very surprised to learn in the acknowledgements that this is Stamm’s first novel.
I was not surprised, however, to learn the author has studied religion and literature. The depth of her scholarship is evident in the way she uses actual ancient belief to construct her version of angels. (And anyone hesitant to read this book for fear of heavy religious content need not worry — it felt more like ancient myth come to life than anything explicitly religious.)
At times the pacing did feel a little slow — and this is a fairly hefty novel — but for the most part, the author did an admirable job of working in necessary information and revealing plot elements. In fact, she very skillfully left some things unanswered long enough to keep me reading, but not so long it was frustrating. And just when I thought the ending was dragging on just a smidge too long, the book wrapped up on the most perfect note.
Reviewed by Niko Sylvester for IndieReader