Everything you think you know about angels is turned on its head in David Estes’ Angel Evolution.
This fast-paced story grabs your attention with Taylor’s dream of two strangers and a snake, and just takes off. The plot moves quickly as Taylor enters high school and establishes a group of friends, which includes her high school best friend, Sam, Gabriel, and Christopher. The story is set up so that it appears that the boys and Taylor will end up in your typical love triangle, but you quickly see that little about the world Estes has created is as it seems. The interactions between Taylor, Gabriel, and Christopher are defined by the author’s new take on angel and demon lore that even removes God from the equation. It is difficult to know who Taylor can trust, since everyone seems to want something from her.
Angel Evolution also features an atypical heroine. Taylor is written how female leads should be written–she’s offbeat, possesses great inner strength, and is completely likeable. Like most teenagers, Taylor is still finding herself and sometimes doubts her inner voice and intuition, but that is part of growing up and even when she makes mistakes Taylor tries to ensure that she is staying true to herself as much as possible.
Gabriel starts out as very mysterious, but I also thought he was kind of a jerk. Many “bad boys” do unlikeable things, but secretly have a heart of gold. Gabriel, however, isn’t introduced through unkind actions or words, but his intentions toward Taylor are clearly not in her best interest. It’s a nice spin on the typical strong girl meets bad boy story line we’ve come to expect.
Readers who do not appreciate the second male in a triangle will likely not take to Christopher, who comes into the story later. The plot is not set up for the reader to like him initially, but I found myself flip flopping between routing for Gabriel and routing for Christopher. This pair provides an interesting reversal over the black and white/good and bad/angel and demon dichotomy that has become a cliche in our culture.
If you’re looking for a novel packed with action and a fresh spin on angels, Angel Evolution should be on your to-be-read list.