Tuesday, January 22, 2013

CSFF Tour - Angel Eyes Day 2

Is Angel Eyes the Christian version of Twilight?
I hope that sentence doesn't scare anyone off! I aim to explain. 

Yesterday I introduced the January CSFF feature Angel Eyes by new author Shannon Dittemore. She takes an intriguing nugget of an idea and runs with it. 

Becky Miller addresses somewhat the idea of the similarity between Angel Eyes and Twilight. Both books feature a wounded girl moving to be with a single father in a rural area, and both girls end up meeting a mysterious guy who is also very good looking and intrigued with said female. Becky was surprised about the comparison. 

I wasn't. 

Because I *ahem* read the Twilight series. 

Okay, I guess I will hand over my man card. Won't be the first time. I was bored and had a lot of time to read that year. But I digress. 

The trick is that anytime there are similarities, people are going to call it. And in the Christian market, where we do have a reputation (often deserved, but not always) of copying a trend or style in the mainstream market, it is going to come fast and furious.

So here's a main difference:

Angel Eyes is way better. 

I kept reading Twilight because I did like Stephenie Meyer's voice. But aside from the questions the plot offers, her writing needs some severe editing. I'm not sure I could read it again after four more years of studying writing under my belt. Meyer gets too thick with her description, going on and on about how perfect Edward is.

Dittemore hits the right notes. Sure, there are points where someone who's read both will see comparisons. I don't think it was intentional. There's nothing new under the sun, remember. Her Brielle is not a whiny wimp that doesn't feel good unless she's around her hunk, and even then she's a bummer. Brielle is damaged, like any good fiction character. There's issues that create conflict, but they don't drag her into a quagmire of blah.

The book has great description. For instance, in the book Brielle is always cold. She can't get warm. It is a plot point, and it has to be repeated a lot. To me an idea that gets repeated over and over can really bog down a book if it is done poorly. Dittemore reminds us enough about this particular detail without being overly repetitive or boring us with the same words.

Another similarity is the attraction between Brielle and the mysterious guy, Jake. Now, I probably wouldn't have used the name "Jake" (Jacob the shirtless werewolf, anyone?), but there is no love triangle in this book. There's no sparkly vegetarian vampires. I repeat, NO SPARKLES. One criticism of the book I have is that Jake is sometimes too good - he doesn't seem to be a fully three dimensional character. But again, the comparison between the romance is superficial.

Ultimately, this is a Christian novel. It deals with faith, doubt, suffering, and other real world issues in a touching and believable way. Believable considering a girl can see the supernatural and there are angels and demons. But the angels know their place. They serve the Lord Almighty, and that is brought out in the book in a very strong way. Not preachy, but it isn't hidden either.

So, I do not believe Angel Eyes is the Christian Twilight. It stands on its own, with some shared conventions since they are both YA, both romance, and both supernatural in nature. But I would not hesitate to recommend Angel Eyes to a young woman who likes to read or anyone who enjoys speculative fiction. Which I would hesitate with Twilight with some people. 

Well, shoot Becky. You forced my hand early. I'm going to have to get creative for tomorrow's post. In the meantime, Becky keeps a tab of all of the posts for this tour, so check them out for more opinions and info. 


  1. Wow, admitting that in public and everything...you've got guts. ;D Actually, I know my dad read at least the first one (with a young man he tutors). So your man card might be safe. :)

    And I think you did a good job pointing out where some of the major differences lie.

  2. I love this. Made me laugh. I applaud your bravery for admitting you read Twilight. ;)

    One of the first things I learned in college creative writing is that there are no new stories. When I heard that, I was bummed, I will admit, but I couldn't argue with it. There truly is nothing new under the sun. As authors our job is to put a unique spin on things.

  3. Hey, I've made myself a fool before on my blog. This isn't the first. Won't be the last.

  4. I'm impressed that you've read the Twilight series. Very brave of you! *applauding alongside Jessica*

    Great post! And thanks for the insight. It was very helpful.