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Book Review: Strange Angels: Betrayals by Lili St. Crow

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I picked up Lili St. Crow’s first Strange Angels entry because I’d read some of her adult urban fantasy books. I enjoyed those for the quick-paced, no-brainer reads that they are, a pleasant romp through near-pulp, and wondered if she could pull the same thing off in the YA market. Apparently she can because the older teens (and a number of adults, evidently) are flocking to her new series. So far the series hasn’t dipped into the sex scene, but we’re definitely in hard-R territory when it comes to language, which some parents might not realize.

I’ve enjoyed Dru Anderson’s character. She’s turning out to be a lot of fun. Part Appalachian transplant with “granny woman” magical abilities and part vampire that’s just now beginning to “bloom,” Dru was also brought up by an ex-military father who declared war on the Real World (anything supernatural). As a mix of all these things, Dru tends to be strong-willed, vocal, and independent.

Betrayals seems to wander around a bit, though, and I was a little disappointed. On the surface, a lot was potentially going on. Characters and situations got introduced, some history was revealed, but nearly the whole story was confined within the walls of the school where Christophe dumped Dru and Graves in the last novel.

I liked the school setting overall, but weirdly there just wasn’t enough of it. The school itself didn’t seem to be well thought out beyond being some intriguing ornamentation and outlying area that never got completely explored to my satisfaction. A lot of the book remained inside Dru’s head as she tried to figure out who to trust and when she could trust them. Personally, I already know what’s going on in her head and I just want to see more of this world.

In the first book, there was a lot of action and movement. In this book there are several physical encounters, including the gym classes that got out of control, as well as attacks on Dru and the school.

I did like the way Graves came into his own in Betrayals. Unfortunately, I’m beginning to believe that was more to complete the romantic triangle that will soon be Dru’s life. But I have to admit, the idea of her hooking up with Christophe — with him old enough to be her great-grandfather — isn’t what I want to see. The whole Edward and Bella and Angel and Buffy thing soured me on that because you just can’t have people with that big of a discrepancy between life experiences truly hope to make it.

As always, St. Crow’s writing is easy to read. The pages turn easily and quickly because you can just look at a page and see the story taking shape there. I picked up the third book to read as well since it was at my local library, but I’m willing to wait a week or so before I sit down with it.

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