Well, I managed to find a book more disappointing than Andrew Grant’s Even. This book was a horrible mess. Warning: this review contains a spoiler for the book!
Angel’s Advocate by Mary Stanton
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
I rarely rate books as one star. Most books have enough to recommend them that, even if I didn’t care for them, they deserve at least a couple of stars. But the flaws in this book were so sufficient as to make finishing this a trial instead of an enjoyment.
I like the concept of this series - the idea of a celestial court, where a soul condemned can file and appeal or ask for a retrial. It’s a neat concept. And the fact that the main character, Brianna “Bree” Winston-Beufort, is a lawyer in the “temporal realm” as well means the potential for some interesting legal cases in the living world. Unfortunately, that potential isn’t fulfilled in this book. The living people Bree is working for are mostly uninteresting, and lack complexity. The case that she tries to build for her deceased client is poorly-fleshed out - lacking in details, it loses much of its appeal. Add that to the unnecessary complication of dealing with a dead spirit rising from the grave to harry her, and this book is a mess. It gets bogged down in too many details of the wrong kinds of things (why would we care that Bree salts the egg, separates out the bacon, and then eats the black olives from her salad?).
Another issue is that the author throws in details that can’t be correct. As a non-spoilery example: This book was published in 2009, and Bree is mentioned as being 29 years old. She goes to visit her family home, and goes up to her old room, which still contains some of her things. “Copies of her best-beloved childhood books were still there: Lad: A Dog; The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; Philip Pullman’s Dark Materials trilogy; and a whole slew of Anne of Green Gables.” Philip Pullman’s The Amber Spyglass, third book in the Dark Materials trilogy, was published in 2000. When the main character would have been 20. Hard to call that a best-beloved book of childhood.
The other huge issue is a spoiler:
A very important plot point hinges on blood typing. Bree gets medical reports on three people, a couple and their child. The mother, Carrie-Alice, is noted as having type O- blood, and the father, Probert, is also noted as having type O-. The daughter, Lindsey, has type AB-. This is used as proof that the mother had an affair and that Lindsey isn’t Probert’s daughter. However, what this actually proves is that Lindsey is the child of neither Carrie-Alice nor Probert. A parent with type O blood can have a child with type A, type B, or type O, but never type AB. It’s medically impossible, and something that is taught in high-school Biology courses. If an author is going to make blood typing such an important factor in the climax of the book, then she needs to do her dang research!
So, for all of those reasons, I cannot recommend this book.
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