A Temptation of Angels

A Temptation of Angels

3.9 37
by Michelle Zink

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When her parents are murdered before her eyes, sixteen-year-old Helen Cartwright finds herself launched into an underground London where a mysterious organization controls the balance of good and evil. Helen learns that she is one of three remaining angelic descendants charged with protecting the world's past, present, and future. Unbeknownst to her, she has been… See more details below


When her parents are murdered before her eyes, sixteen-year-old Helen Cartwright finds herself launched into an underground London where a mysterious organization controls the balance of good and evil. Helen learns that she is one of three remaining angelic descendants charged with protecting the world's past, present, and future. Unbeknownst to her, she has been trained her whole life to accept this responsibility. Now, as she finds herself town between one of the brothers protecting her and the devastatingly handsome childhood friend who wants to destroy her, she must prepare to be brave, to be hunted, and above all to be strong, because temptation will be hard to resist, even for an angel.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Touched by steampunk and Harry Potter, Zink’s (the Prophecy of the Sisters trilogy) paranormal romance about angels is an enjoyable if by-the-numbers read. Ostensibly set in late-Victorian London, the action has little sense of place, and the history is so “alternate” that, in effect, it is pure fantasy. The eternal struggle between light and dark is staged between the angelic Keepers and the demonic Legion, with two corresponding sets of human proxies—the Dictata, who oversee the angels, and the Syndicate, who collaborate with the Legion and monopolize the world’s economy. Sixteen-year-old Helen Cartwright knows nothing of this when her home is invaded and burned, leaving Helen the only survivor. All she has is a paper her mother shoved into her hand, which leads her to the Channing brothers, Darius and Griffin. It is up to these strangers—especially attractive, sympathetic Griffin—to keep Helen alive long enough to enter into her angelic destiny. The pacing and drama are slightly lacking, so while events abound, the narrative never achieves a memorable level of tension. Ages 12–up. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Mar.)
VOYA - Kate Conklin
Helen Cartwright is roused in the middle of the night by her mother, who hands her a bag of clothing and toiletries and sends her into a door in the wall. Standing in her nightshirt outside the address Helen's mother slipped into her hand, sixteen-year-old Helen has her first glimpse into a world she never knew existed. She is a Keeper, an angel guardian of the earth and protector of the balance of good and evil. Unfortunately for Helen, this also means she is being hunted by an assassin, the same one who killed her parents and burned her house to the ground. Helen is quickly trained and just as swiftly begins to fall in love with one of the brothers, both of whom also bear the burden of being Keepers. Deciding between her childhood friend, Raum—who has fallen out of favor with the Dictata who control the Keepers—and Griffin—who, like Helen, is striving to restore the balance—is not going to be an easy task. Michelle Zink combines angels and steampunk in this novel without a clear setting. The introduction of a computer-like information database into a story where the main character dresses in long skirts and corsets requires readers to suspend disbelief. Plot and characters are well developed and teens are sure to enjoy the action and romance, as well as the supernatural elements of the story. Reviewer: Kate Conklin
VOYA - Alissa Lauzon
One night changes everything in Helen Cartwright's life when her parents are murdered and her childhood home burns to the ground. Helen discovers that she is a Keeper, one of three remaining angelic descendants responsible for protecting the world, and she has been training for this her entire life, though she has not yet reached the Age of Enlightenment. Helen and the Channing brothers, Griffin and Darius, the sole surviving Keepers, set out to discover who is murdering Keepers and their families, and what it is that they are trying to accomplish. Fans of Zink's Prophecy of the Sisters series will not be disappointed with her newest story. Zink returns to a Victorian-era setting, adding a twist of steampunk to her blend of fantasy and romance. Zink's writing is fluid, elegant, and engaging; although the story has an intriguing premise, it does not quite live up to its potential due to holes in world building and character development. Also, the love triangle between Helen, Griffin, and Raum feels forced. Though the story starts slowly, it quickly picks up steam as the central conflict unfolds and hooks readers. Zink leaves many questions unanswered, particularly regarding Enlightenment, the roles of the Dictata and the Syndicate, and the character of Raum. With no major cliff-hanger, it is uncertain as to whether there will be more books to answer these questions, though fans will definitely want more. Purchase this where Zink's series or Cassandra Clare's Infernal Devices series are popular. Reviewer: Alissa Lauzon
Children's Literature - Judy Silverman
Late 19th century London—or is it? Helen's mother awakens her in the middle of the night and begins to pack a small suitcase for her. In the background, she hears voices raised in anger. "I know you won't understand," she says. "Not yet. But someday you will, and until then you must trust me...Take this (a crumpled piece of paper) and sit very quietly, until you know they're gone...There is a stair that will lead you beneath the house and back up again further down the road. Join with Darius and Griffin...You must be silent as you make your escape. If they hear you, they will find you. And if they find you, they will kill you." Helen, who is used to obeying her mother, does remain quiet. Eventually she hears footsteps, and a man's voice saying "Burn it." But still she does not move until she hears a crackling that indicates fire. Still in her nightdress and barefoot, she opens the door, finds the stairs and the passage that leads her to the street—one with which she is familiar. This is a good thing; when she looks at the paper her mother had given her, she knows exactly how to find the address. A young man comes to the door before she knocks—as if he had been expecting her. He introduces himself as Griffin, and brings her to meet his brother Darius. Although the brothers feel she is too young to work with them, they have no choice (she is the only one available). It seems that both families are part of the ancient race of Guardians who keep humanity safe. Now, of course, the Guardians are under siege; their enemies are everywhere, and Darius, Griffin, and Helen are their first line of defense. This is only volume one, and the reader (this one, at least) is left hoping for more. Recommended. Reviewer: Judy Silverman
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Helen Cartwright is 16 when her mother awakens her in the middle of the night and hurriedly rushes her into a secret passage in the wall, telling her that she must save herself or everything will have been for nothing. Thus begins the teen's mysterious adventure and education into who she really is and what this means. Helen is a Keeper; she is descended from angels and given the task of protecting the knowledge of the past, present, and future for the mysterious Dictata. Zink does a marvelous job of blending technology and magic together to create plausible explanations for many fantastical possibilities like traveling via beams from light sources due to the particulate nature of matter and energy. The use of gadgets and inventions lends a steampunk air to several scenes. Two brothers, Keepers whose parents were also murdered, take Helen in. While investigating the deaths, Helen discovers that one of her childhood friends is connected to this mysterious new world and that her loyalties are going to be tested like never before. This is a compelling read, but it differs greatly from other recent "angel fiction" in that these beings don't have wings and, aside from being on the side of good, there is little connection to the typical Heaven and Hell. There is a hierarchy of demons and the Dictata, of course, but this may not satisfy fans of the emerging angel genre. It stands alone, but a sequel could help to flesh out some of the details of this world and hopefully build upon Helen's emerging romantic possibilities.—Genevieve Gallagher, Charlottesville High School, VA
Kirkus Reviews
Zink heightens the pile of heavenly sagas. Like most heroines in these stories, Helen loses her parents before they can explain her unique legacy to her. In Helen's case, however, they prepared her for it throughout her childhood, using games to train her for her calling as an angelic guardian. A council of demons kills without discrimination, on a mission to destroy those like Helen in order to tip the balance of the world toward evil. Obeying all the tropes of this genre, Zink allies Helen with male counterparts, two brothers who are also lesser angels and who have also lost their parents. Griffin wins her heart, though Darius conveniently spurns her in what seems to be an attempt to lend additional adversity to Helen's life, since Helen doesn't much mourn her parents' recent deaths. Given how few people share their unique backgrounds, Darius' scorn doesn't make sense. A childhood friend whom Helen has not seen in many years presents the only real complexity in the book; once a playmate, he has grown up to perpetrate grave crimes, and yet he holds the keys to thwarting the forces of evil. A formulaic and slow-paced tale combining too many conventions to excite savvy readers who have likely seen it all before. (Paranormal romance. 12 & up)

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Penguin Young Readers Group
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12 Years

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