Saturday, April 28, 2012

Writer's View: Angel Fire by L.A. Weatherly

From Goodreads: Only Willow has the power to defeat the malevolent Church of Angels, and they will stop at nothing to destroy her. Willow isn’t alone, though. She has Alex by her side – a trained Angel Killer and her one true love. But nothing can change the fact that Willow’s a half-angel, and when Alex joins forces with a group of AKs, she’s treated with mistrust and suspicion. She’s never felt more alone…until she meets Seb. He’s been searching for Willow his whole life – because Seb is a half-angel too.

The Writer's View

This is the second book in the Angel trilogy by L.A. Weatherly. I was absolutely gaga over the first book in the series, Angel Fire. I love the take on evil angels invading from an alternate plane. And I loved the relationship between Alex and Willow. I was so nuts to get my hands on this second book, Angel Fire, that I tried to buy it from an EU website. Unfortuantely, the internet is very smart, and it apparently knew I was not in the right country, and would not sell it to me! LOL.

In both novels, Weatherly employed a similar technique for creating tension.

Tension via Relationships

I'm always trying to figure out new ways to create tension in my own writing, so of course I always try and pay attention to how other writers do it.  Even though Weatherly has created some super creepy powerful Big Bads, they're actually not the main focus of the stories. These stories are about relationships. Mainly, the romantic relationship between Willow and Alex, the two MCs.

In the first book, the tension is created as we witness Alex and Willow's relationship develope. I have to say, I stayed up late reading several nights in a row, trying to get to the scene where they actually smooch. But I loved that anticipation of the first kiss. Made for a good read.

In the second book, the tension is still about the relationship, although it shifts to the difficulties Alex and Willow have in remaining a strong couple. A rather complicated love triangle / love square is employed. For a while, this technique was very effective -- I kept reading, wanting to see if the couple could pull through. But then it got to a point where everything just exploded, and the fighting got so ugly that I quit reading. I was bummed out and distressed, and I've got enough stress in my life. BUT, I have to hand it to Weatherly -- clearly I care about the characters, to get so upset over their quarrels. She definitely succeeded in creating tension. Then again, I did quit reading -- what fun is it to watch your beloved characters yell and scream at each other?

I am wondering what other folks think about relationships as a means of creating tension? (I see this all the time in TV -- it often takes ten thousand episodes for love interests to finally hook up; the technique is so common that it's become cliche in television. I find it annoying.) That's not to say it's not effective. Like I said, I stayed up late so I could get to the scene where Willow and Alex first smooch. Do you think there's a point when the market will be over-saturated with relationship drama, and it will no longer be an effective techinique?


  1. That's a good point to make. I don't like it when plots revolve around relationships and romance because it does seem to cheapen the excitement over seeing those relationships taken to the next level. But, when I love the characters, I'm very onboard with it. I could care less about stupid characters and their relationships with each other. Romance is thrown in my face constantly and I just don't want to see characters I don't like smooching, anymore than I like to see real people I don't like smooching.

    I think when you delay the evolution of the relationships with characters you do care about, when they do take it to the next level, it's incredibly satisfying. I highly doubt that technique will ever lose its effectiveness.

  2. @ Cathy - I agree, plots that revolve around romance are getting a little boring. But when characters and their relationships evolve naturally, it's just awesome.

  3. I've been unsure whether to read this series but your review has pushed me over the edge. I've got to go find it now! I'm not sure how feel about tension through relationships. On the one hand if it's done well and isn't the focal point of the story then I'm much more willing to accept it. If a book is meant to be a dystopian and all it focuses on is a romance the I'll check out. In fact I've read many books recently that claims to be urban fantasy or paranormal when they may as well be straight out romances. I've never read a convincing love triangle before. I just don't think they really exist. Either a person has many lust interests and don't really care about any of them, or they're in love with one particular person and the other doesn't have a shot in hell but is there simply as a plot device or to keep the tension going. I can suffer through a love triangle if I like both the characters but when it turns into a weird love square there's no way I could keep reading. Having said that, the romance bit is so popular I guess you'd be silly not to exploit it as a writer.

  4. @ Lan - I have the same feeling about teen romance and love triangles. Personally I am getting a little bored of them as a reader, but they seem to flourish in the marketplace so it does make sense to explore them as a writer. I definitely recommend Angel Burn. I also liked Angel Fire, just got a little worn out on the negative relationship drama.