For the life of me, I just could not get into In the Arms of Stone Angels. From start to finish, my interest in the story and characters was mild at best - it was easy to put down, and I went days at a time between readings without the urge to pick it back up again. Even after finishing it, In the Arms of Stone Angels hasn't made a terribly strong impression on me; I'm left more with half-interested observations than any strong praise or even IMPASSIONED RAGE. I wonder if that isn't almost worse...
Anyway, despite having eight published books to her name, In the Arms of Stone Angels is new territory for Jordan Dane: it's her first YA novel, and apparently her first paranormal as well (most of her previous stories were in the mystery/thriller genre). And...well, it shows.
I'm not shocked Angels is her first YA - there are a few tell-tale signs. Her protagonist, Brenna, is unevenly written, sounding alternately too young or too old for her sixteen years. When she's in "teen" mode, Brenna generally resides in the PC Cast land of "I-speak-in-slang-and-say-duh-therefore-I-must-be-young", but there are occasions where not only her narration, but her interaction with other characters give the impression that she's ten years older.
Brenna is also an incredibly obnoxious heroine, thanks to the resoundingly inauthentic ~tortured~ and ~rebellious~ personality Dane tries to give her. Brenna and I got off on the wrong foot right away, right around the time she decided to grace us with her thoughts on style: she "isn't your average Abercrombie girl" and doesn't wear advertising brand names, which is "a life choice and a religion", okay? She doesn't care about fitting in with the masses because she's just different, way more different than normals like you could ever understand.
Ugh, can I smack this girl now, please? It's not that she dresses "like a bag lady" - I could care less what the heroine wears - and it's not even her desire to be different, I'm sure a lot of teenagers and adults can relate to that. No, it's that attitude - the pretentious, self-serious way she describes her beliefs and motivations. Brenna is the kind of misfit cliche who talks back to her mother because she could never understand her ~pain~, who loudly declares herself ~different~ and looks down on the kids who aren't, who feels like she and the other ~different~ boy she finds when she is fourteen share such a ~deep connection~ and ~understanding~, that no one else could ever ~understand~, because they're just so much deeper than normal people, you know, and they know what it's like to be different. She's the kind of kid who cuts herself and then runs off in the middle of the night to sleep in graveyards because that's where she's thinks she's most comfortable. Yes, she literally sleeps in graveyards. UGH.
In short, Brenna fits into the same sort of mold as characters like Raven from Ellen Shreiber's Vampire Kisses series (who, just for the record, I hated with a fiery passion) - both are teenage misfits written by authors who just don't get the difference between the behaviors of attention whores and actual misfits.
There is a difference between Brenna and Raven, though, and it's a vital one that keeps In the Arms of Stone Angels from delving too far into Vampire Kisses territory...
Read more at You're Killing.Us