Monday, September 14, 2015

Dark Hope (The Archangel Prophecies #1) by Monica McGurk

Release Date: July 29, 2014
Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group
Series: The Archangel Prophecies, Book 1
Author Website:

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

After living with her overprotective, religious father since her parents' separation, Hope thought living with her mother might just be the thing she needed. She was more prepared than the average teen to live with the long absences her mother's job demanded. That was until she was blindsided by Michael, a good-looking, well-talking guy who gave her more attention than she knew how to handle. He became a shield against the guys tormenting her on the bus and throughout her school day.

Once assigned to pair up with another student for a paper, Hope's life turned upside down as secrets about her past surfaced to impact her present. She and Michael set out on a journey to discover the answers before time ran out. Putting their lives on the line to fight prophecy and mankind's own type of evil, they traveled across country on the promise of answer. Can she keep herself safe as she followed her heart? Will they be able to save the world without killing themselves?

One of my favorite things about NetGalley has always been the emails they send to entice you to read something outside your usual genres. This book, as well as the sequel, were available for reading. These books intrigued me by their delving into the fallen angel theories. I anticipated the teenage hormones and angst that came with the setting of a high school, but was a little surprised to find Hope more mature in some ways and really naive in others due to her upbringing.

The very beginning of the book laid the groundwork for her past - a victim of a child abduction found safe inside a hotel room as the abductor was found dead within the bathroom. The only reminder was a tattoo on her back, near her neck. From that moment her parents took two different paths. Her father went overboard to keep her safe from further harm, going so far as to quit his job and research any and all friends. Hope's mother wanted her to have a normal childhood, unmarred by the abduction. When they couldn't find common ground, they separated. Hope lived a fairly isolated life with her father due to the long work engagements that her mother's job demanded. There weren't very many people in her life, so these characters became distinct, reacting in different ways to the events of the story. Other characters appeared toward the end of the story, impacting the book in slightly-anticipated manner. Still, I found most of the characters held their own as the action moved toward that ending. Hope and Michael's characters began to blend somewhat near the end, but I do think that was in response to some of the events and my remembering that she was a teenager unaccustomed to life as an average teen.

I found the book contained something for everyone - romance, action, hormones, prophecy and angst to spare. However, that wasn't all there was to the book. The author used both Hope's abduction and one of her classes to open the discussion about human trafficking and how widespread the issue grew to include men, women and children here in the United States. While the voices on behalf of these victims grew louder over the past decade, there remained more work to be done in order to help those trapped in some very serious situations. I could tell how passionate the author was about the subject by the way Hope devoured whatever information she found and stood resolute in helping one victim regain her freedom. A portion of the proceeds from the author's book sales goes to helping end human trafficking and the victims left behind.

While I enjoyed a good portion of the book, I did find one aspect of the story more disturbing than entertaining. There were many layers within this story as the author combined theology, prophecy and real life issues to create a world where one teen girl might make a difference. Her rich descriptions of places and people helped Hope's world to come alive and to deliver the emotional roller coaster expected in today's YA books. Despite many good things, I found the relationship between Hope and Michael to be on an abusive collision course. To be honest, I felt disheartened when I reached that point in the book, because I'd enjoyed the story until then. Reading the rest of the book, I understood why some actions were taken, given their situations, but overall, it left me feeling really mixed about the book. I was glad that one character picked up on the same feeling. I'm interested to see how the sequel deals with all the groundwork that's been laid. If you enjoy your YA with a hint of darkness, prophecy and what-the-heck action sequences, then I would recommend this book for your TBR list.

Dark Hope (The Archangel Prophecies #1) by Monica McGurk is currently available at several online retailers including Barnes & Noble, Kobo and Amazon. It can be found in paperback or digital (Kindle) formats. The link provided below is for the book's Amazon page.
Dark Hope (The Archangel Prophecies #1) by Monica McGurk

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