First Lines: The first creatures to seek me were the insects; my parents cleaned the bassinet free of dead ants the morning after they brought me home from the hospital. My first word was “dead.”
This was on my to-read shelf since 2009. It was one of those books that I always wanted to read, but I just never really found it anywhere. Until it cropped up at the library. After probably 5 years of neglecting it, I had to read it.
For her entire life, Meridian has been surrounded by death. Insects, mice, and toads (among other creatures) would find their way to Meridian’s bed at night and die by her side before morning came. She’s been a freak ever since her classmates noticed death following her like a faithful dog. On her 16th birthday, a car crash occurs right in front of her and her body explodes in pain even though she wasn’t hurt. She’s quickly hustled away to Colorado to live with an old aunt who tells Meridian she’s a Fenestra–a half human, half angel meant to usher souls on to the next life. Of course, a dark sect of Fenestra known as the Aternocti are determined to turn Meridian dark or kill her. With the help of her protector, Tens, Meridian is going to find a way to survive…if she can.
It took me a long time to decide what I wanted to rate this book. Let me see if I can show you why I struggled.
I thought the premise was really cool and original. Sure, I’ve read angel stories before. I’ve read stories where souls were helped into the next life. But there was something about this that felt really different. I think part of it was because Meridian was actually, you know, alive while helping souls. A lot of stories have legit angels, reapers, or something else already dead/never alive helping souls. So that was a nice change.
The characters were also worth the read. Meridian has never fit in anywhere, which is understandable when she constantly has dying animals finding her and dying at her feet. Creepy, right? But even though some people treated her horribly, she really seemed to have a kind heart. Tens certainly lived up to his duty as a protector. I thought he was very sweet while still being tough when he needed to be. But Auntie was probably my favorite. While physically unable to harm a fly, I’m pretty sure this woman could scare the sin out of the devil if she wanted to. I loved that.
Now, here’s what wasn’t so great. There’s a plot line involving a Reverend who may not be what he seems. And he brings a lot of religious lines to the story. I wouldn’t necessarily have had a problem with that except that that plot line seemed to take away from the story. Meridian is completely lost in trying to figure out what she can do and who she’s supposed to be now to deal with the Reverend. It was too much for the story to handle effectively.
And the romance, if you can call it that. While there was definitely a connection between the two characters, I did not feel love blossom in the sunshine of their affection. It was actually about as corny as my last sentence was. Really, it just seemed to come out of nowhere. Like the story needed to have a love story for some reason and it was forced upon them. I actually would have preferred the story if that wasn’t there at all, if it was building up to it in later books.
Overall, I thought it had a good premise. It was interesting and unique enough to keep me reading for long periods at a time. The characters were really great too, but I could have done without the romance. Definitely some room for improvement.