Book Review: On A Dark Wing by Jordan Dane

10508775Title: On A Dark Wing
Author: Jordan Dane
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Young Adult, Angels
Publisher: HarlequinTEEN
Publication Date: December 27th 2011
Rating: 3,5 stars
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The choices I had made led to the moment when fate took over. I would learn a lesson I wasn’t prepared for. And Death would be my willing teacher.

Five years ago, Abbey Chandler cheated Death. She survived a horrific car accident, but her “lucky” break came at the expense of her mother’s life and changed everything. After she crossed paths with Death—by taking the hand of an ethereal boy made of clouds and sky—she would never be normal again.

Now she’s the target of Death’s ravens and an innocent boy’s life is on the line. When Nate Holden—Abbey’s secret crush—starts to climb Alaska’s Denali, the Angel of Death stalks him because of her.

And Abbey finds out the hard way that Death never forgets.

Abbey Chandler cheated Death, and all she remembers of that fateful day is hearing her mother’s voice for the very last time. From that point on, everything is a blank. But that doesn’t mean that Abbey didn’t spend the last five years feeling guilty over her mother’s death. The accident was her fault. She was the one who purposely missed the bus so her Mom would pick her up. And now all that’s left are the pieces of her life, the broken shell of the man who was once her father, and an overwhelming sense of guilt. Whereas this adds a peculiar and intriguing dimension to the character – we’re all too often greeted by characters who seem to show little emotions towards their parent’s death – and made me feel instantly sympathetic to her, Abbey isn’t a likeable character. While I was reading about her mood swings, which are as common as changing clothes for her, or about how detastable she asks towards her father, I recognized a lot of myself in Abbey. At least, back when I was in the midst of puberty, and struggling to come to terms with the death of my father. Even though my dad died of a brain hemorrhage, and I had no reason whatsoever to feel guilty about it, I did go through the entire guilt phase as well. It may seem irrational, but I think it’s like that for a lot of people who lose one of their parents while they’re still a child, and then when they have to deal with it again through puberty. It was nice reading about a character I could relate to for once.

That said, there are a lot of times when Abbey goes to far, even for my tolerance level. She is obsessed over this boy named Nate. That would be nice and all, if it were for the fact that she actually talked to Nate, was a friend of him, or even had any connection to him. Unfortunately that’s not the case. He doesn’t know her, yet she swoons over him to the point of becoming a stalker, as she and her friend Tanner try to find a way to keep track of Nate’s journey as he goes to climb a mountain. I had my fair share of teenage crushes – although I had most of my silly obsessions when I was thirteen, not when I was sixteen – but this goes a bit far. Very far, in fact.

Let’s talk about Tanner first. Tanner is Abbey’s best friend, and he’s the one supporting this entire story. He’s the only character who actually make sense and contributes something interesting to the book. I liked Abbey up until the point that she proved to be just another brainless teenager in a long line of brainless Bella lookalikes. Tanner is in a wheelchair due to a freak accident when he was younger. An accident that cost him not only his life, but his friends as well, since they soon moved on and forgot all about him. He isn’t a character you’d expect in a young adult book. Not because he’s in a wheelchair, but because he’s actually very mature and grown-up. He’s the voice of reason throughout this entire book. It’s obvious from page one that he has a thing for Abbey, as he tries to protect her from nasty photoshopped pictures posted on a website by one of their class members. He’s a true friend: caring, protective, and always ready to listen and help. Imagine how angry I was when I heard Abbey go on and on about Nate, who she doesn’t even really know, when she had Mr. Right standing next to her, being the best friend possible. I don’t want to spoil anything, but…Let me just say that Abbey might have more brain than I gave her credit for.

Nate is a bit of an odd character. He’s the golden boy, good-looking, friendly, caring and intelligent. But he has the most boring hobby ever, namely climbing mountains. Now I don’t think the hobby is boring in real life (I for one would love to climb an actual mountain one day) but when you read page after page about mountain climbing equipment, preparing the journey and how they struggle through a snow storm, it gets boring soon. There’s a lot of yargon I only half understood. This part is dull, and boring, and I rushed through the pages to go on with the story.

The story itself is enjoyable and the writing is fluent, but it isn’t very original. Girl cheats Death. Death falls in love with her. Death takes over the body of a mortal boy she happens to have a crush on so he can be with her. It sounds surprisingly familiar, but it’s well executed, and that’s what matters. Death actually has feelings, an opinion and genuine emotions. He’s not stereotypically evil. In fact, he’s more of a victim himself than anything else. He wants to be human, but because he’s well, Death itself, he can’t. He wants to experience feelings and emotions, but can only do so when he’s inside Nate’s body.

All in all, I did enjoy On A Dark Wing. I wouldn’t call it my favorite book ever, but it has its strong points and its weaknesses. The characters, safe for Death and Tanner, aren’t that interesting. There’s the cliché love triangle, and the supposed golden boy falls in love with outcast girl cliché. But the bonding moments between Abbey and her father are sweet, the way she’s coping with her guilt is genuine and very well described, and the writing itself is descriptive and powerful. I would recommend this book to all fans of young adult paranormal romance novels.

This book counts towards the Speculative Romance Challenge, the TBR Reading Challenge and the Fantasy Challenge.

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