Speer, a music video director, makes a solid literary debut with a romantic thriller set against the backdrop of a transformed Los Angeles, a true City of Angels. A century ago, angels revealed themselves to the world. Soon after, they began charging (exorbitantly) for their protective services and have become the ultimate celebrities, commanding immense wealth, power, and popularity. When hottest-of-the-hot angel Jackson Godspeed meets waitress Maddy Montgomery, it’s a Cinderella story with a twist. The media goes wild, but their families forbid the burgeoning romance for reasons that hark back to the angels’ darkest secrets. Accurately hitting on celebrity-obsessed culture and the dichotomy between the glitterati and everyday people, Speer blends romance and mystery to deliver a fresh take on the “angel novel,” first in a planned trilogy. The author draws on several of the more well-trod aspects of the paranormal genre (hidden destinies, forbidden love), yet strong writing, well-rounded characters, and an enticing hook in the form of the mercenary/celebutante angels breathe life into the world Speer has created. Ages 12–up. Agent: Claudia Ballard, William Morris Endeavor. (Apr.)
"Strong writing, well-rounded characters, and an enticing hook [of] mercenary/celebutante angels breathe life into the world Speer has created." — Publishers Weekly
"An intriguing premise...with an action-oriented mystery sure to entice readers."
— Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)
In present-day Los Angeles (known as Angel City), Angels live as celebrities, saving humans who have the money to be protected. Unlike most of Angel City, seventeen-year-old Maddy is oblivious to the gossip blogs and television networks that follow every move the Angels make. When Jackson Godspeed, "Jacks," comes into her uncle's restaurant late one evening, Maddy does not recognize him as the famous, golden boy Angel about to be commissioned as a Guardian. Maddy sees Jacks for who he is instead of his celebrity status, and the two instantly make a connection. In an unprecedented move, Jacks saves Maddy's life, an act that could have him mortalized and killed for saving an unprotected human. But the Angels are not the only beings after Jacks; he is also being hunted by a demon summoned to kill Angels. It is up to Maddy to save him. Immortal City is the first book in a new series with an intriguing premise. It is a supernatural romance with an action-oriented mystery sure to entice readers. While the plot is fast paced, the writing style can be confusing. Immortal City follows three story lines in third-person limited narration by Maddy, Jacks, and a police detective who leads the hunt for the demon. As the story lines converge, the narration often switches from limited to omniscient within the same chapter, causing the writing to seem choppy. Even so, this book will be popular and is recommended for middle and high school libraries. Reviewer: Stacy Holbrook
Gr 8 Up—As residents of Angel City (aka Los Angeles), guardian angels are more famous than Hollywood stars. Constantly trailed by paparazzi, they throw lavish parties, wear designer clothes, and even have their own TV network. Jackson Godspeed, a hunky angel from an influential and wealthy archangel family, is about to become the youngest Guardian in history. But when he saves Maddy, a high school girl who is not assigned to him, their instant attraction causes turbulence in their very different worlds. Though their relationship is forbidden, the pair is determined to stay together despite the flashing bulbs, disapproving relatives, and the fact that Jackson is a suspect in a spree of angel murders. The protagonists are better developed as individuals than as a couple; their abrupt romance smolders despite them not knowing anything about each other. The angels are not at all religious, and God is completely removed from the equation. The premise is interesting, but the slow-paced story will appeal only to the most die-hard fans of angel-centered novels, such as Lauren Kate's Fallen (Delacorte, 2009) and Becca Fitzpatrick's Hush, Hush (S & S, 2009). The characters, events, and plot elements are typical of paranormal romances, complete with flawless immortals, a seemingly normal human girl, instant attraction, an annoying best friend, a jealous ex-girlfriend, a spoiled little sister, and insufficient parental guidance. The murder mystery seems tacked on simply to add intrigue to a story that reads more like an extended episode of TMZ. A complete miss.—Leigh Collazo, Ed Willkie Middle School, Fort Worth, TX
A world that worships not angelic Hollywood stars but actual angels proves familiar. Guardian Angels exist, but they only help people with enough money to pay for their exorbitantly expensive contracts. They lead the lives of the glitterati in Angel City, the Hollywood of this celestial-infested world. Jackson Godspeed is Angel City's favorite, a hunky 18-year-old A-lister whose every date is featured on the celebrity programming of both A! and the Angel News Network. When Jacks and his Ferrari wind up in hiding (from the cops, from his ex-girlfriend, from the media) in a scruffy diner in a bad part of town, he meets Maddy, a gruff, high-school student and waitress. The connection between Maddy and Jacks is electric and inevitable. Through the rest of their adventure--running from serial killers, fighting demons, posing for cameras, discovering corruption among the ranks of the Guardian Angels, learning the truth about old murders--they dance around each other, admitting then denying their sexual tension. Maddy's early commentary on the classist structures making up her world are entirely subsumed in the sensual reveling in celebrity: brand names and sports cars; powerful male Angel leaders and sexy female Angel models. The necessary revelation of Maddy's deep, dark secret (no everyday girl, she) will surprise no one. An overfull crossover between paranormal romances, hard-boiled–detective stories and Gossip Girl novels. (Fantasy. 13-15)