Author: Paula Weston
Publisher: Text Publishing
Publication Date: May, 2013
Pages: 419 pages
Copy: Paperback, courtesy of Text Publishing
My Rating: 4.5/5
I almost wished I still had the blood-soaked dream of the nightclub.
At least then I'd be asleep, not lying here in the dark chasing thoughts I'll never catch. The jacaranda tree outside is still in the warm night; the moon casts a slight shadow of its twisted branches against the wall.
It's the quiet moments like this that get me, when its impossible to pretend I have a grip on everything that's happened in the past week. In the daylight, in this bungalow, I can fool myself into thinking I still have control over my own life. But here, in the dark, I know that's a lie. And my life already has too many lies. For a year I believed four things: that my twin brother died in a car accident; that nothing in my life would matter as much as that; that my violent dreams are not real; that my memories from before are so faded because I was badly hurt in the accident that killed Jude.
It turns out none of these things are true and it's the truth that keeps me awake. The biggest truth of all: Jude might be alive.
Gaby Winters used to be normal. She worked in a library and lived with her best mate. She was an average teenager. The only unusual thing in her life was the death of her twin, Jude. But she was slowly coming to terms with that. The gory, violent dreams she had? She was coming to terms with those too. After all, they were only dreams, weren't they? And dreams can't hurt you.
And apart from Jude, and the dreams, there was nothing out of the ordinary about Gaby.
That is, until she met Rafa. Then the dreams stopped, but the rest of her life became even more blood-soaked and terrifying than they had ever been.
Oh, and one more unusual thing?
Turns out Gaby Winters isn't a regular teenager after all.
Turns out she's an angel.
Well, to be more precise, Gaby is one of the Rephaim – half angels, descended from fallen angels. Wingless but far from powerless.
And hunted. Let's not forget, Gaby is now hunted.
All of which means, even if Gaby was still having the dreams, she wouldn't know it because now she can't sleep.
I mean, how can you sleep when you know demons are after your blood. And that your dead brother might, actually, be alive?
“Angels. They're so 2009.” Said nobody. Ever. After reading this book.
For a long time, YA fiction was all about “the hot trend right now”. For a while, it was vampires (“Oh, really? I never noticed!”). Then fairies, angels, elves, zombies, even mermaids had their turn. Then came Katniss, and it was all about dystopia and bleakness and kick-arse female heroes.
Well, there's much debate about where we're headed. Most people seem to think contemporary, realistic YA is the way of the future (a la John Green). I tend to think we're in a bit of an “anything goes” phase. A phase where angels can definitely still be hot. If they're written well, which the definitely are in this fine novel.
The sequel to last year's Shadows, Haze is every bit as compelling as its predecessor. It is witty, smart and tense, with a mystery that draws you in and keeps you on your toes for every one of its four-hundred-plus pages. Packed with multiple plot lines that keep you turning pages and never slipping into boredom, and written with an, at times, almost poetic style that shows why literary publishing house, Text, added it to its stable of classy books, Haze is a tour de force. Weston is a true talent who is sure to provide us with many great works in the future – angel-themed or otherwise. And that's what sets Haze apart from all the other, arguably much more mediocre books. This doesn't feel like a “bandwagon” book. It doesn't feel as though Weston wrote an angel novel because they were the creature du jour. It feels like she's written a great work that just happens to feature angels.
Gaby's character is now more developed. She is more fiery and determined and brave than she was in book one. Maggie is a great sidekick, but doesn't fall victim to the clichés that often surround best friends in YA fiction. She'd make a great protagonist in her own right. Rafa is arrogant and sexy and funny and all the things you're looking for in your bad boy romantic lead. The romance itself is also more convincing than many in this genre. Weston's dialogue is snappy and genuine and the exchanges between Gaby and Rafa were some of my favourite moments in the book.
Weston's take on angel mythology is similarly distinctive, and I hope we find more about their world and history in Book Three as, to me, this is one of the most intriguing facets of the series.
In all, Weston has produced a superb second instalment with Haze, one that doesn't fall victim to the dreaded “middle book” syndrome, and one which proves angels are not dead. Well, at least, in literary terms, anyway.
I'll be hanging out for the final chapter.
No matter what literary trend we happen to be in the middle of. Good writing defies trends and marketing. And this is seriously good writing.