Title: Until Next Time
Author: Amy Lignor
Publisher: February 1st 2012 by Tribute Books
Format: ebook, 255 pages
Series: Book 1 in The Angel Chronicles
How does a girl choose between the one who steals her heart and the one who owns her soul?
Matt and Emily were created for a specific job. Raised and trained as the ultimate angel/warrior team, they are sent down to save, defend, judge and forgive, depending on the ‘life’ they’ve been assigned. What they don’t realize is that the power of human emotions, such as love, anger, passion and fear can take over even the best of souls, causing them to make mistakes and follow paths that lead to confusion and heartache.
When the reason for their training is finally revealed, the angel/warrior team find themselves thrust into a world they know nothing about. Matt takes over the life of Daniel, a young man with a great deal of baggage. Emily becomes Liz, a girl living in a remote village who relies on nothing more than her own strength to survive. A violent storm erupts one night, and framed in the window of Liz’s establishment is a frightening face. Let in by the soul of a Good Samaritan, the two visitors bring with them a past full of secrets that could literally change an angel’s path and a warrior’s plans.
From murder to redemption, this angel/warrior team must find a way to keep the faith they have in each other in a world that’s ripping them apart.
Until Next Time was the first book I’ve read featuring angels and I found the premise interesting. Emily and Matt were created to be together forever, to work in tandem every time they are sent to earth to do “a job.” They are sent down into human bodies (also called shells) when the soul inside is ready for a break from earth. Or tried and failed to commit suicide. I think. I’m a little unsure about that one. The twist is that they don’t initially remember who they are when they wake up in their new shells. They have to figure out who they are and what their purpose is while still thinking they are the original people whose bodies they have taken over. (Which leads to one of my many questions after finishing the book: Why do they have to lose their memories when they go to earth? Wouldn’t they be better at their jobs if they could remember why they’re there in the first place? I didn’t think that was explained very well.)
I’m going to come right out and admit I was confused during a lot of this book. A huge part of that was because the point of view jumped often. Between Matt (the warrior angel), Daniel (his human counterpart), Emily (the angel), Liz (her human counterpart) who was sometimes called Beth, Faith (her human friend), Jason (Liz’s romantic interest), Charles (Faith’s romantic interest), Michael (another angel) and more… There was rarely an indication that the POV had changed, you just had to figure it out from the context.
Emily was a strong character, very sure of her mission and her place in heaven, as was Matt. They were destined to be together forever, though Emily only wanted to remain friends and Matt wanted more. Why would things be set up that way, I wondered? Why would God create a couple to be together for all eternity if one would never return the others’ feelings? Plus, if they were meant to be together, why would Liz fall in love with Jason, and talk about seeing him again in another life? (That was mentioned in the prologue, so I’m not spoiling anyone.) Matt’s human shell, aka Daniel, was a lovesick young man who mooned over Liz even though she made it clear they weren’t going to be a couple. Matt took over Daniel’s thoughts very quickly, so we never learned much about Daniel’s character. (Why was he able to remember who he was so much faster than Emily/Liz? Another unanswered question.) Liz/Beth was also a strong person; an orphan, she and her friend Faith had built up their town’s local pub and it was the hangout spot. Faith was a major player in the story, but I felt she lacked something. She was a cute character with a sassy attitude, but she didn’t have any real depth to her. Jason and Charles showed up one stormy night conveniently, they happened to be perfect love interests for Liz and Faith. They were running from their pasts and we learned more and more about them along the way. They were okay characters, though I felt they were clearly created to be the perfect match for each girl. Some of the characters we met later in the book were almost like caricatures of evil people. Too big and bad to be believable.
The dialogue was okay. I liked the way Liz and Faith talked to each other, like they had known each other forever and were totally comfortable being snarky with each other, but you could also sense their deep bond. There were a lot of references to various angels and their ‘jobs.’ There were also unique descriptions of heaven and the different rooms therein. In the beginning there was quite a bit of Irish-speak and that was fun to read with an Irish accent. In my head. Definitely not out loud just to hear how it sounded. Every once in a while, there was a leap in thought, like the scene below which describes a character who was literally looking around as they passed a forest:
Maybe the trees reminded him of his family; the gnarled limbs representing the evil ones who wanted to slice him until he bled to death.
That was quite a leap, from the guy looking at the passing landscape, to her thinking the trees reminded him of people who may or may not have wanted to attack him. There was a lot of religious talk, as expected in a book about angels, but I thought it approached the preachy side, especially near the end.
There was nothing I would call sexy or hot. There was sex, but it was off the page and happened between a married couple. Two other characters slept in a bed together but there was no hanky panky. There were accusations of prostitution (willing and unwilling) and an affair between 2 people of very different ages was talked about. There were a few tender moments that I thought were very sweet.
The cover is unique and I like it. I didn’t at first, but it kind of grew on me. I like the muted earthy colors and that her wings aren’t all white and fluffy. I like the texture change, how her hair is windblown and she looks human, but then her chest is wooden and carved.
The interesting premise and creative descriptions aren’t quite enough to counter the confusing dialogue, jumpy plot and lingering questions.