Publisher: Greenwillow Books (2011)
Format: Hardcover | 430 pages
Format: Hardcover | 430 pages
Genre(s): Young Adult, Urban Fantasy
Description (Goodreads): "Eden didn't expect Az.
Not his saunter down the beach toward her. Not his unbelievable pick-up line. Not the instant, undeniable connection. And not his wings.
So long, happily-ever-after.
Now trapped between life and death, cursed to spread chaos with her every touch, Eden could be the key in the eternal struggle between heaven and hell. All because she gave her heart to one of the Fallen, an angel cast out of heaven.
She may lose everything she ever had. She may be betrayed by those she loves most. But Eden will not be a pawn in anyone else's game. Her heart is her own.
And that's only the beginning of the end."
WARNING: Contains Spoilers!
It's books like "A Touch Mortal" that make me mad when I finish reading them. And frustrated. So very frustrated because I feel like I should have enjoyed them a lot more than I did.
The book opens with the main character, Eden, alone on a beach thinking dark thoughts. Over the last few months of her life, people seem to be forgetting her more and more. As such Eden feels depressed. And then she meets Az. He comes onto her with a corny pick-up line but she finds herself falling for him. And he for her. This all happens in the space of three or four pages (although in the book two weeks pass), so I kind of figured the romance wasn't that important to the story (I was kind of wrong) and that the author was just setting things up for the main events.
The story mostly focus on Eden, who ends up dead shortly after meeting Az, under mysterious circumstances... but she doesn't stay dead: she turns into a "Sider".
And this was where things started to go downhill. After reading the entire book it is pretty clear the author has a very definite idea of her world and its rules; she isn't just going with the flow... she has mapped the mythology of her world perfectly. The thing is, all that splendid world-building stayed... in her head (or notebook, or whatever).
As for the readers, we are confronted page after page with new concepts like "Siders" and "Touch" and the author's particular take on angels, but as the characters all know about these concepts they aren't explained properly to us; they're just mentioned. Even now I don't know exactly what "Touch" is or where "Siders" came from, why they appeared and all that. And strangely enough the newest Sider on the block, Eden, doesn't seem interested in learning the answer to these questions either... she is more into being a brat and seriously annoying.
On to "Az" and "Gabe" and all things related to them: I noticed some weird inconsistencies and fallacies in the 'system' so to speak. Apparently in Clifford's version of Heaven ("Upstairs") the "Bound" (good angels) won't know of your sins unless you confess them. It just didn't seem very logical. And don't even get me started on the name shortening... UGH!
So while I thought the author's idea had potential, I think she 'spent' her pages writing about things that... well, didn't matter that much (Eden and her boys and their life, etc) and should have probably taken up less space. She should then have used those extra pages for world-building.
I also had a major problem with Eden. I didn't like her. I thought she was bossy and bitchy most of the time, very emo and angsty (maybe searching for answers would have helped eh?). When you don't like the main character it is kind of hard to read the book. Plus there weren't any other characters that stood out except for James and Jarrod. Adam was one-dimensional and annoying, Gabriel was confusing, and Az was your typical "dark and tortured" guy. I'd have loved it if her characters were as fresh as her base idea.
As for story, as I said before, Clifford focused her writing on the wrong events while in the background it seemed like Gabriel was running around looking for answers (but did he ever find them? Who knows).
On a more positive note, I thought the writing was pretty engaging and kept me reading even as I was frowning at the story and character development.
Overall, "A Touch Mortal" could have been a new and fresh approach to angels. It is certainly different from the usual fare - "Hush Hush", "Fallen", etc - and much more imaginative. Pity the author didn't explore her idea in the best way (at least in my opinion) and gave us an unlikable (although I think she was going for "strong") heroine. Still curious about the world the author created (or had in mind), though.