Unwelcome (Archangel Academy Series #2)

( 17 )

Overview

Lesson 2: The people we love most may be the ones we know least. . .

Archangel Academy is more than a school to Michael Howard. Within its majestic buildings and serene English grounds, he's found friends, new love, and a place that feels more like home than Nebraska ever did. But the most important gift of Archangel Academy is immortality. . .

Life as a just-made vampire is challenging for Michael, even with Ronan, an experienced vamp, to ...

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Overview

Lesson 2: The people we love most may be the ones we know least. . .

Archangel Academy is more than a school to Michael Howard. Within its majestic buildings and serene English grounds, he's found friends, new love, and a place that feels more like home than Nebraska ever did. But the most important gift of Archangel Academy is immortality. . .

Life as a just-made vampire is challenging for Michael, even with Ronan, an experienced vamp, to guide him. Michael's abilities are still raw and unpredictable. To add to the turmoil, the ancient feud between rival vampire species is sending ripples of discord through the school. And beneath the new headmaster's charismatic front lies a powerful and very personal agenda.

Yet the mysteries lurking around the Academy pale in comparison to the secrets emerging from Michael's past. And choosing the wrong person to trust--or to love--could lead to an eternity of regret. . .

Michael Griffo is an award-winning writer and one of six playwrights whose career will be tracked by WritersInsight.com until 2010. He is a graduate of New York University, has studied at Playwrights Horizons and Gotham Writers Workshop, and has written several screenplays.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Sherrie Williams
Midwestern teen Michael enters his second semester at the English boarding school Archangel Academy in a much different fashion than his first, when he was a lonely newcomer to the school. Now he is in a committed relationship with Ronan, his broodingly handsome classmate. More importantly, Ronan has transformed Michael into a water vamp, a subspecies of vampire with roots in the lost city of Atlantis. The water vamps have their physical and emotional source in The Well, to which they must return to maintain their lives. The new headmaster at the school is secretly a traditional vampire, unleashing an attack on the water vamps and seeking to destroy their beloved Well. Michael and Ronan are thrown into the middle of this fight, struggling to understand their changing relationship even as they fight for their very existence. This second volume in a planned trilogy continues in the occasionally overwrought tradition of the previous book. That style, however, complements the tone of the series, and this book also features enhanced character and plot development as the story delves further into Michael and Ronan's relationship. The blend of a deepening gay vampire boarding school romance thrown into an all-out war between violent subspecies of vampires will appeal to fans of the first book, but those who have not read the first volume may find the going a bit muddy. This book is recommended for older young adult and adult readers seeking a touch of melodrama in their supernatural or GLBT fiction. Reviewer: Sherrie Williams
Kirkus Reviews

An almost unreadable morass of supernatural creatures, double crosses and internal monologues.

Michael Howard, who accepted that he was both gay and a vampire in Unnatural (2011), now lives with his boyfriend Ronan among humans and a variety of beings disguised as humans at Archangel Academy. Michael and Ronan are water vampires, a web-handed variety that feeds on blood once a month and then drinks from the Well of Atlantis. Non-hybrid vampires, however, including Archangel Academy's evil new headmaster, want the water vamps destroyed. Meanwhile, both Ronan and Michael come to terms with truths about their families, an efemera (similar to a guardian angel) falls in love with a human, Ronan's estranged sister comes to town—and those are only a few of the novel's numerous and convoluted subplots. Readers are thrown into the book's world with little introduction, presumably expected to remember the paranormal mythology and large cast of characters from the first book. The third-person narrative voice jumps briskly and dizzyingly among points of view, even within a single scene, but characters' motivations often remain opaque. Most uncomfortably, ethically questionable acts, such as Michael reading Ronan's personal correspondence and the two boys feeding on a suicidal woman as she jumps to her death—go oddly unremarked upon.

Literature for teens could use more vampire stories with gay protagonists; it's a shame this one is such a slog. (Paranormal romance. 14 & up)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780758253392
  • Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 9/1/2011
  • Series: Archangel Academy Series , #2
  • Pages: 392
  • Sales rank: 339,499
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Unwelcome

AN ARCHANGEL ACADEMY NOVEL
By michael griffo

K TEEN BOOKS

Copyright © 2011 Michael Griffo
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-7582-5339-2


Chapter One

After the Ending

Michael was being watched. He liked how it felt and so he kept his eyes closed even though he wasn't sleeping, hadn't been sleeping since he crawled back into bed a few hours before. He could feel the sunlight on his face, not strong, but enough to remind him it was morning and he could smell the fresh chill of rain that lingered in the air. January was colder than the locals had predicted, snow had already made several appearances, so Michael, like most sixteen-year-olds, preferred to stay in bed on a Monday morning rather than be up and about, getting ready for class. Especially since he had an audience.

Ronan loved watching Michael. It didn't matter if he was talking to friends, swimming, reading a book, or as he was now, pretending to be asleep, he cherished the view. And even though Michael's attempt to get a few more moments under the covers would result in his being annoyed when he'd ultimately have to scramble to get dressed and get to class on time, Ronan smiled at the boyish trick. He then decided one boyish game deserved another.

Leaning over Michael, Ronan let his tie dangle an inch over his boyfriend's face, swaying in the air like a benign pendulum, casting a thin horizontal shadow across Michael's cheek. Michael lay still. He could feel Ronan's presence, he knew what was coming, but he didn't move, because that would ruin the game.

Bending over even further, Ronan's tie scraped the tip of Michael's nose, but Michael still didn't respond. He didn't move until the endpoint of the tie brushed against his lips, then he smiled. He felt the silky material glide over his lips, his chin, his cheek, as if to say hello, good morning, it's time to get up. Then the tie began to fold and bunch up as Ronan lowered himself and brought his face closer to Michael's. Both boys were smiling mischievously now, knowing how their game would end, but Michael kept his eyes closed; he knew the rules.

"Who's there?" Michael said, purposefully adding a nervous tremor to his question.

Ronan lowered his voice as low as he could and growled, "It's the big bad vampire."

Michael opened his eyes and feigned a look of fear, but forced himself not to laugh. "Oh no, not again."

In one fluid movement, Ronan whipped off the blanket and sheets and jumped on top of Michael, his naked body now practically hidden by Ronan's larger frame. Then he did his best Dracula impersonation, "I've come to suck your blood." Instead of inciting fear in Michael, Ronan's imitation of the legendary icon made him laugh out loud, which it always did, and so Ronan continued to speak the way the count was portrayed in all the old movies. "You are not afraid of me? You do not fear my power?"

Ronan was many things, Michael thought, but a mimic was not one of them. "Not when your accent sounds more Jewish than Transylvanian."

It was Ronan's turn to laugh, hearty and buoyant, and he kept laughing while kissing Michael, wishing they could stay in bed all day exploring and enjoying each other's bodies, but they had to get to class, couldn't start the new semester off by being late for first period. Before he could drag Michael out of bed and make him get ready, however, he noticed something in his eyes, resistance perhaps. Could it be sadness, disappointment? "You're not still upset about your father, are you?" Ronan asked quietly.

Michael looked surprised and shook his head before he spoke. "No. I didn't expect him to call on Christmas, not after I told him I didn't want to spend the holidays with him in Tokyo." As usual, Michael's father changed their plans at the last minute and informed him a few days before Christmas that he had to go out of town on a business trip to oversee yet another crisis at one of his factories. Far from being upset, Michael was relieved. He was not looking forward to spending his break with Vaughan, not after the endless series of arguments and disagreements they'd been having lately. He was much happier spending every moment with Ronan. But Michael was bothered by something and he found it curious that he was actually still a bit disappointed by his grandfather's inaction. "You know, I kind of convinced myself that he would call either on Christmas or New Year's Eve," Michael confessed. "I am the only family he has left."

"Age doesn't make people wiser, Michael," Ronan said, brushing the smooth side of his tie against Michael's cheek. "Just makes them older."

Luckily, age was not something Michael and Ronan were going to have to worry about. And for that matter, Michael thought, neither should education. "Hey, why don't we go see Germany today instead of hearing a lecture about it? Or what the hell, why not Tokyo?" Michael suggested. "I'm sure it's really exciting even if, you know, my father's there."

Oh, I can't wait to travel the globe with you, Ronan thought, country by country, but those kinds of adventures will have to wait. "We have forever for me to show you the world," Ronan said. "First we have to learn about it."

Underneath Ronan, Michael sunk deeper into his pillow, one hand pressing into the back of Ronan's neck, the other into the small of his waist. "That's 'cause you have a crush on Old Man Willows."

Taking the bait, Ronan pushed his body closer into Michael's, making the mattress bend even further under their weight. "No, but McLaren's bloody hot."

"I knew it!" Michael cried out in mock jealousy, slapping Ronan on the shoulder. "That's the only reason you like to read!"

"And if you want to read past a tenth-grade level, you need to get up now and get dressed," Ronan declared. "You've world history in fifteen minutes."

Thanks to his preternatural speed, a minute or two later, Michael was completely dressed, his clothes a bit unkempt yet presentable, and ready to leave, but still he was without his usual enthusiasm for education. "Seriously, Ronan, why do I need to go to school anymore?" Michael moaned.

The question surprised Ronan. "I thought you loved school."

"I did, but that was, you know, before, and, well, now ..." Michael stuttered, then announced, "I'm a vampire."

"Um, so am I, mate."

"And you're also a student, which just doesn't make any sense."

Tucking Michael's shirttail into his pants, Ronan looked knowingly at his boyfriend. He understood his questions, his desire to be an active part of the world and not just read about it in a textbook, but he also understood that outside of Archangel Academy the world was different, it wasn't as safe, it wasn't as receptive to their kind and so, for now, this is where they needed to remain, to learn and prepare themselves for the world beyond the academy's borders. "We may be immortal, Michael, but we're not infallible," Ronan said, aware that his tone was dangerously close to patronizing. "If we want to prosper and lead, we can't be ignorant prats; we have to study, learn everything we can."

"You can teach me everything I need to know," Michael said.

Ronan blushed and thought how wonderful it was to have someone need him so much, someone who revered him, but no, he was forced to acknowledge that even he had limitations. "About being a vampire, yes, but Double A will teach you how to become educated." Michael couldn't stop his eyes from rolling. "And trust me," Ronan whispered, his lips a breath away from Michael's, "there is nothing sexier than an educated vampire."

Sitting in world history, listening to Professor Willows drone on about some military skirmish that lasted for a couple weeks over a century ago, Michael thought he would risk being the most unsexy vampire who ever walked the earth if it meant he could escape having to hear another one of his monotonous lectures ever again. Now that he was equipped with the armor of immortality, he shouldn't have to act as if he was like everyone else, like he had to follow rules. Oh, but maybe Ronan was right. He has been a water vamp longer than me, but still, Willows's voice is just so grating, especially when he asks a question.

"The Serbo-Bulgarian War, Mr. Howard," Professor Willows said. "Which side emerged victorious?"

Michael had no idea, but luckily he didn't have to know everything when he possessed other skills. Because of his inhuman dexterity, no one saw him flip through his history book and in less than a second find the answer. "That would be Bulgaria, sir, winning on November 28, 1885," Michael replied. "In just under two weeks, or, um, a fortnight."

If the professor was impressed that his student, who he felt certain was daydreaming, answered his question immediately, correctly, and with added information, he kept all thoughts of surprise to himself. His expression was as unexpressive as his speaking voice. "Hmm, yes, quite right." Just as Willows opened his mouth to continue his oratory, the bell rang signaling the end of class and mercifully, Michael thought, the end of his pain. Shoving his books into his backpack, Michael smirked. How thankful he was to have his vampire skills; it would have been a lot more painful if he failed to answer Willows's question correctly. His smirk grew as he silently remarked, You may think I'm ignorant, Ronan, but I'm not stupid.

"What do I think?"

Startled, Michael turned around to see Ronan standing behind him. "What are you doing here?"

Not exactly the greeting Ronan was hoping for. "I thought I'd walk you to your next class," he explained. "But what were you saying? I never said you were stupid."

Damn that telepathic connection. Michael would have to be more careful if he wanted to keep his private thoughts private. Smiling the way one boyfriend should smile at the other, Michael said, "I didn't say that." He kept smiling as he tried to think of a plausible explanation for his words, but couldn't, so he flirted. "If you're going to eavesdrop, sir, please do it right."

Whatever Ronan thought Michael had said no longer mattered, not while his beautiful green eyes were sparkling, not while it was clear that Michael really was happy to see him. "Well, sir," Ronan replied, "next time I'll be sure to try harder."

On their way across campus, Michael continued to smile, in part because he was walking alongside Ronan and in part because he was getting a little bit smarter every day.

Someone else who boasted a nontraditional kind of intelligence was Fritz. He may not be aware that creatures other than humans also called Double A their home, but when it came to social networking and interaction, knowledge acquired outside of the classroom, he was the smartest kid on campus. Running through the parade of students, Fritz finally reached Ronan and Michael and wedged himself in between the couple, pausing a moment to pant from his sprint. When he finally spoke, tufts of cold air emerged like crowns above each word, which was appropriate since his words were a proclamation: "At tomorrow's assembly they're going to unveil the new headmaster to replace Hawksbry," he announced.

"Really?" Michael asked. "So it's official, then; he isn't coming back?"

"Nope, just up and left town, the old sod. Not a bleedin' word to anybody."

Ronan knew that wasn't the truth, but he wasn't about to share the information. Let them believe that Alistair was simply irresponsible and grew bored with being sequestered in the countryside, or could no longer take the stress of being in charge of so many young lives so he left unannounced and without explanation. Better that than the truth, that he was either killed or, worse, transformed into one of Them, one of Brania's people. Ronan hoped it was the former, though based on one of the last conversations he had with the Headmaster, where he alluded to the fact that he knew the truth about Ronan and was disgusted by his presence, Ronan was led to believe that he had been turned into their kind. No need to mention any of that. He would keep those beliefs to himself and instead offer a new suggestion. "Maybe he finally found a totty and ran off to Las Vegas to get married."

Michael appeared confused. "Totty is, um, British for girl, right?"

"You're starting to catch on," Ronan said, happy that Michael could make him smile no matter what he was thinking.

"But you're not, mate," Fritz said. "Hawksbry's a pouf, you know that. We caught him red-handed with his hands all over that chauffeur bloke."

An image of Alistair and Jeremiah walking arm in arm down an alleyway in Eden pierced Michael's memory. "That's right, Ro, we did."

"If he ran off anywhere to get married, he and the chauffeur would've driven to Canada, which is like Vegas for you people!" Fritz laughed so hard at his own joke that his whole body shook and he slipped on a piece of ice on the walkway in front of St. Joshua's. If it weren't for Michael grabbing his arm and steadying him, he would've fallen flat on his back. "Quick reflexes, Nebraska," Fritz said. "I owe ya one."

Another change. Michael noted to himself that Fritz was becoming a real friend. Ever since Penry's death, they had been getting closer. And the closer they got, the more Michael realized his loud, abrasive exterior hid a loyal, thoughtful guy. He wasn't as innately kind or amiable as Penry was—very few of the students he met were—but he was proving to have worthwhile qualities all his own, the most obvious one being the ability to make Michael laugh. But unfortunately, thinking about Penry inevitably made Michael think about his girlfriend, Imogene, which wasn't a laughing matter. "So, do you have any news about Imogene?"

Fritz shook his head, his smile gone, in its place a look of concern and apprehension, his dark bronze complexion growing pale. "Looks like she really did run away." Once again, Ronan remained silent while Michael and Fritz discussed how out of character that seemed. Imogene was not the type of girl to run from something. Whether it be a problem or an opportunity, she ran toward things. Even still, the police investigated the situation and concluded that that's what had happened; Imogene ran away from the trauma center either because it was something she had always planned on doing or as a result of Penry's death. It didn't make sense to either boy, but since the only other alternative—that Imogene could also be dead—was too painful to consider, both Michael and Fritz chose to believe the police department's official statement.

Let them believe in their own hypotheses, Ronan thought. Sometimes ignorance is preferable. It wasn't a luxury he could embrace, but he had learned to hide darker secrets; one or two more wouldn't matter. And what did he really know anyway? Only that Alistair was definitely not on his honeymoon, and Imogene wasn't a runaway. Ronan shrugged. "We may never know where either one of them is."

How did we get to talking about such unpleasant things? Fritz thought. Isn't the first day back to school unpleasant enough? Must change the subject and must change it now; luckily, I always save the best piece of information for last. "True, but I do know where one of our friends has been spending all of his time lately," Fritz declared proudly. "And the new and much older boyfriend he's been spending all of his time with."

* * *

What was that horrible smell? For a terrible moment, Nakano thought it was coming from him. He'd dressed quickly this morning, but he did remember to use deodorant, didn't he? Yes, of course he did; he wouldn't forget, not when he had an early morning date. Could the odor be clinging to his clothes? No, he just had his whole uniform washed; he felt like making a good impression for the first day of class. Oh, that was such a lie. He couldn't care less about his classes, about Archangel Academy even. The only reason he remained enrolled was because Brania told him that her father revered education and rewarded those who demonstrated academic excellence. No, the only reason he washed his clothes was to impress his boyfriend. And despite whatever that offensive smell was, he seemed to be doing just that.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Unwelcome by michael griffo Copyright © 2011 by Michael Griffo. Excerpted by permission of K TEEN BOOKS. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 17 )
Rating Distribution

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(9)

4 Star

(4)

3 Star

(2)

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Sort by: Showing all of 17 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 5, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Well-written genre novel is pehaps a bit too convoluted for most readers.

    Michael and his lover Ronan are both students at Archangel Academy, a boarding school in the secluded UK countryside. And they are both "watervamps" ... kind of a hybrid between a regular vampire and a creature of the sea ... which seem to be less menacing and dangerous as the (pardon the pun) "full-blooded" vampire, although there are many of the latter species at their school as well, both as students and faculty members. Oh, my.

    This is a continuation of Griffo's first novel in the series ("Unnatural" - I think I notice a trend here), and really should not be attempted unless you have read the first book, since many of the numerous characters have "back stories" carried over that would be necessary to understand what is going on here.

    And what is going on is quite a bit. Michael is having doubts about whether Ronan is being fully honest with him, although Ronan feels he is simply being protective of his lover by not mentioning things that might worry him. We find out that Ronan has a sister, who is a mortal, and Michael has a disturbing vision about the actual circumstances of his mother's death. And did we mention that the new headmaster of the school is secretly a vampire who seeks to destroy the watervamp colony, and has an unexpected familiar relationship to some of his students?

    This novel, like the first, is an extremely ambitious, detailed and generally well-written story, obviously geared toward young gay male fans of the "Twilight" film series. Unfortunately, its main flaw is that it is somewhat overly complex, with numerous characters interacting that are not really that essential to the story, making this a somewhat tedious read for all but a diehard fan of the genre. While I am significantly older than Griffo's target audience, I don't think they'll stick with the series either, unless he tones down the complexity a bit (and the length; both books are close to 400 pages each.) Three stars out of five.

    - Bob Lind, Echo Magazine

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 25, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    an enthralling and totally entertaining entry that teenage readers and adults will appreciate and put on their keeper shelf.

    In the English town of Eden, Archangel Academy resides on consecrated land. The vampires known as Them are able to walk around the campus in sunlight. However there is another subspecies of vampire connected to the sacred Well, who in their other form has webbed feet and hands as descendants of Atlantis.

    The water vampires can walk outside in daylight and only eat once a month. The new Headmaster David Zachery is one of Them and vampire American Michael Howard and his lover Ronan are water vampires. Ronan knows who and what David is because of his relationship to their family. David and his kind want to destroy the Well and kill the water vamps. The headmaster has a plan to ethnically cleanse the world of the enemy. He uses his children as foot soldiers to carry out his scheme. Michael and Ronan lead the opposition along with their allies so who will prove victorious remains to be seen.

    The second Archangel Academy (see Unnatural) teen urban fantasy is a terrific tale with a beautiful star-crossed romantic subplot that accentuates the two combative subspecies. The expatriate Cornhusker has come a long way from Nebraska in a short time but his journey even with Ronan to guide him remains difficult as he must be Unafraid of his full essence for his deep psychological need to feel accepted and belong to happen. The key to the exciting story line is that readers will accept the existence of vampires as a natural species with issues and disputes as Michael Griffo provides an enthralling and totally entertaining entry that teenage readers and adults will appreciate and put on their keeper shelf.

    Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2014

    Oh dangit ._.

    Im not welcomed...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2014

    Quest of morgan le fay

    This is morgan le fay to all my daughters you have to find a note that i lost to merlin a hundred years ago. But watch out for demons those will stop you to get the note.................................but before you start your journey...................you need a powerfull wand of ancient spells but you need to find the ancient book also. Signed by ~ morgan le fay

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2012

    Pay attention!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Doesnt anyone notice the covers resembalane to twilight new moon eclispe and breaking dawn movie poster?????????????

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 31, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Chapter by Chapter's review of Unwelcome

    Alrightie then! The second novel in Michael Griffo’s Archangel Academy series (and I am starting to love all the “UN*insert word here*” titles. Very rememberable if you ask me) which I have been looking forward to reading for the past few months. After the note that Unnatural left off on, I was sure that Griffo would give us something that would top the first novel and become unforgettable. But before I get into what I love love loved about the novel, I want to bring up the one issue I had.

    The only thing that I didn’t enjoy about the novel was all of the sexual content between Michael and Ronan. It felt overdone and it made me really uncomfortable really, really fast. It wasn’t like it was descriptive or anything, it was just that there was a lot of: They made out and then they did “it” or he was naked and then Michael got into the shower with him, scenes. That being said, the second Archangel Academy novel might only be for those who don’t mind the repetitive amount of “those” scenes. If you catch my drift.

    However, I did find the constant romance found in the novel admirable. Not only did Griffo get into the growing relationship between Fritz and Phaedra, but he also showed that love is in the air for almost all of the characters. Should it be Nakano and his French lover boy or Michael and Ronan, romance definitely played a major role throughout the novel. Which I loved (kind of punny, no?). But not only was there romance but there was also the constant use of the challenges that couples have to go through to become stronger. Hint, hint, I am talking about Ronan and Michael. And it isn’t just romance that is messing around with their relationship, it’s also Michael and his adjustment to being a water vamp/vampire hybrid (which played a key role in the novel as well) and the regular vamps who want to know the secret to walking in the daylight.

    As if things couldn’t get any worse for the water vamps at Archangel Academy, there’s a new headmaster with dark secrets of his own. And he isn’t human. Not one bit. He’s David Zachary a.k.a. Brania’s father a.k.a. the big bad head vampire in charge of the normal vampires a.k.a. the guy who wants nothing more than to see all of the water vamps dead. I feel like I’ve forgotten to mention that he’s a total creeper. Yeah, there’s that too.

    As the novel progressed, I found that the novel would begin to go into backstories of most of the vampire characters like Brania and David. Personally, my favorite is Ronan’s flashbacks of the night that his father was burned. And throughout the novel Edwige would also bring up the subject of her being raped as the reason behind Ciaran’s existence (this felt like a really deep part of the novel).

    Secrets were unveiled, characters true intentions were established and I was finding myself falling deeper into the world of Archangel Academy. If you loved the first novel in the series you won’t be disappointed with the sequel. I know that I can’t wait for the third novel (which I am reading as we speak *la winky face*). Oh and “go team water vamps”!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2011

    Highly Recommended!

    A great book for someone who is into the vampire series books or even just fictional romances. The story is continuing to develop through this second book and is getting better and more thrilling. I would certainly read more books by this author after reading the first two books in this series!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2011

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