Angel On The Ropes by Jill Schultz
Published: 1st June 2013, Jill Schultz (Part of the Independant Book Publishers Association)
Length: 287 pages (eBook edition)
Genre(s): Science Fiction, Fantasy, GBLT, Romance
Where Did I Get It? Copy received for review from NetGalley
Summary (from NetGalley): Dazzling trapeze artist Amandine Sand leads a perilous double life. Will her secret—and her choices—save her planet or ruin it?
Amandine walks a high wire between two lives—hobbled by a life-threatening secret. She’s a “leopard,” one of the spotted humans wrongly accused of being a plague carrier. Leopards like her are hunted by zealots to protect their offworld colony from the scourge. Despite this threat, Amandine spends her days guiding other leopards to an underground shelter run by the pacifist Seekers. At night, with her own spots hidden, she takes to the air, the one place this extraordinary artist feels free and gloriously alive.
When the persecution of leopards explodes into widespread violence, the Seekers demand more of her time. But her circus is teetering toward bankruptcy and desperately needs her, too. She has no time to breathe…and then she meets a stranger who leaves her breathless. And might just be the biggest risk of all. If her trust is misplaced and she’s unmasked, everyone she loves—and everything she’s fought for—could crash.
In her darkest hour, Amandine must draw upon everything she’s learned from the circus and Seekers to bring peace to her fractured society. Can a reluctant angel fly beyond her limits to save her life, her love, and her world?
When she was eleven, a crazy old man taught Amandine how to breathe backwards.
Review: I broke all the rules again and picked a book for the prettiness of its cover. The colours and intensity caught my eye and I immediately requested it for review before even glancing at the blurb. Naughty, I know.
The first chapter was intriguing and drew me in. The sort of slightly confusing disorientation that you get at the start of any book set in an alternate world or time was gentle and I settled into it fairly easily, interested to learn more.
Then the story jumps forward in time and I lost the plot. Literally. I had no idea what was going on for ages. It was only around the 40% mark that I began to get a proper grasp on the proceedings and started to enjoy the story again – up until that part I was forcing myself through.
That said, from the moment everything began to click, I really enjoyed Angel on the Ropes and found myself immersed in a bold world similar enough to our own to be familiar but different enough to be exciting. I loved the danger and the secrecy and the constant fear of discovery in the life of Amandine and her relationships with the other characters were rounded and full.
I think this is what was missing at the beginning – depth of character. Everyone was introduced fast and fleetingly to make sure they were all there right at the start, but that just meant that I didn’t really care about any of them because I barely knew them and didn’t understand who they were or why they were around. This was sad because some of the characters turned out to be both important and really engaging, I just feel they could have been introduced slower or slightly differently to bring out the best in both them and the storyline. A small niggle but one that almost had me giving up on a book that I eventually enjoyed.
The scenes involving Amandine in action on the trapeze were beautiful. It is clear that a lot of careful research and study was done and each routine was minutely planned out and presented as if the reader were there in the circus audience. I loved it, the flow and swing and gymnastic prowess was magical and had me utterly enthrealled. I do fear a little though that the scenes may lose other readers becuase they were quite lengthy and used quite a lot of technical jargon which anyone with even an interest in gymnastics would know but could alienate others more unfamiliar it. Luckily gymnastics is close to my heart so it all appealed to me and the scenes were light and entralling to read – easily some of my favourite moments in the book.
The romance was a bit of a funny one. I adored the relationship that built between Amandine and Nikos and believed every second of it as they ebbed and flowed from lust and love to jealousy and back again but in contrast the relationship between Amandine and Malaga felt flat and forced. I know this relationship is supposed to be faltering and ‘not right’ for Amandine but it felt a little shoe-horned in for the purposes of the storyline. By the end it was acceptable and understandable but by then it was almost too late and I had lost my faith in Malaga as a character overall, which is a shame because she was almost my favourite. Almost.
I enjoyed Angel On The Ropes once I got well into it. With a bit of tweaking and rearranging it could have been a brilliant science fiction romp that I loved from start to finish but as it is, I nearly gave up on it really early on.
My Rating: 3.5/5*