Angelborn is the first in the Eternal Flame series by L. Penelope.
Finished on: 20.1.2021
Caleb is angelborn – his mother was an angel, his father human. He risked everything once for finding love in the human world, but didn’t succeed which sentenced him to spend eternity in the Wasteland. But he manages to escape together with another Wasteland resident, Wren, and knows he has another chance to find his soulmate and convince her to share her soul with him.
Maia has always seen ghosts and it hasn’t been easy, but she has learned to live with it. Only the ghost that is haunting her roommate at college claims that he isn’t a ghost at all, but alive. Maia doesn’t know what to believe when it comes to Caleb, but she knows that she shouldn’t be feeling about him the way she does.
As I was reading Angelborn, I wasn’t too sure whether I actually loved it. But I couldn’t stop reading and was absolutely engrossed, so it’s safe to say that I really enjoyed it.
I don’t remember anymore how this book was recommended to me (probably because it was written by a Black author and has Black protagonists), but I had either not looked close enough at it or forgotten that it was a world that builds on the concept of soulmates which is usually not so much my cup of tea – rather than destined for love, I find the idea that one makes the choice of love a lot stronger. That being said, the way Penelope handles the trope was very nicely done, even for a soulmate grouch like me.
Equally, she manages to mostly skirt past the religious elements that will necessarily come with any novel that features angels, making it also very nice for non-religious people like me. (Writing all of this out, I wonder how it came that I decided to buy this book when it seems so little up my alley? Oh well, I’m here now.)
So, despite these stumble stones in the book’s and my path together, I really enjoyed it, but those things are probably the things that gave me pause and left me wondering how much I really loved it. But that’s not everything, I also struggled with Caleb just a little. He definitely sounds hot and I could totally understand the predicament he is in and why he believes so desperately in his one soulmate, but that later part got on my nerves a little. He never even considered whether he might be wrong about how soulmates work and if he had ever actually found his.
I can say without any “but”s, though, that I really loved Maia. How she reacts to Caleb, how she tries to handle things, how she has handled her life so far: she is a great character that I wouldn’t have minded spending more time with. Helix ditto, in an entirely different way. It’s a pity that he makes his appearance so late (and that he is such an ass in such a hot way, dammit).
Penelope crafts the story in such a way that it’s hard to pull yourself away from the page, and since it’s a very short novel, too, it is a really quick read that kept me engaged at all time. And even as I was still debating with myself how much I liked the book, I went out and bought its sequel (that focuses on Wren, the other Wasteland escapee). That really must mean that I liked it just fine.
Summarizing: a good read.