Publisher: Hot Key Books
Released: August 2nd 2012
My Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads
Would you move heaven and earth for the one you love? ANGEL DUST is a powerful, gritty and utterly modern tragic love story with a twist. When Serafina, the brightest and most beloved of all God's angels, is sent to collect Marcus Montague - the original badman - and take him to Hell, she finds herself powerfully drawn to him and makes a decision that places her in the middle of a war between Heaven and Hell. Can Serafina fall in love without falling from grace? Can Marcus's soul be saved? And just who is the mysterious and ever-so-helpful stranger Harry? (from Goodreads)
Angel Dust was an interesting take on angels and humanity and how the two interact – it was actually a little darker than I expected, which I liked, and was mainly about trying to solve the age old mystery of how to save a life.
The main character Serafina was the angel in this story, and the love interest was just a regular human. This intrigued me because we got to see things not from a normal human point of view, but from the perspective of a celestial being, an immortal who knew nothing of human life and human struggles. Serafina described human actions and emotions in such a way that it made me realise how much we humans take for granted. I tried to imagine how Serafina must have lived, but I found it pretty hard to picture anything other than a human existence. Our emotions seep into everything we do, our lives are short so we have to live them how we see fit – and these were things Serafina found fascinating and extraordinary, though to us, well, it’s just normal. Serafina was, however, a little naive (though I feel this actually added to the book, because it just showed the extent of her ignorance of the human world and sin and why humans do the things they do). While I did think she was brave and selfless at times, she was an angel, she hadn’t been hardened by human strife life most people on Earth and was too trusting. She fell for tricks so obvious that I couldn’t do anything but shake my head. I put it down to her angelic nature. She wasn’t used to be deceived, and while I saw it coming from a mile away, she was clearly used to trusting people and didn't see things as too good to be true.
Marcus was a character I struggled to like. I could see he wasn’t a horrible, evil person and I could understand why Serafina didn’t want him to go to Hell (he didn’t deserve to be damned), but he was just...eh. He didn’t do much to suggest that he liked Serafina until the very end, I really didn’t like the slang, and I just don’t see why Serafina went so far for him. I don’t get how she fell in “love” with him in such a short period of time after barely speaking to him – what exactly did she like about him (except his humanity)? And why would she risk everything for someone she hardly knew? She rushed into things without thinking and then was surprised when it went wrong – well what did she think would happen? I did like the fact that she was making her own decision, and was breaking the rules that had confined her for so long – it took a lot of courage and I like that she voiced her opinion that things weren’t perfect, even in Heaven. But I feel like it almost wasn’t worth it. Marcus was a virtual stranger, a human, one in billions, and she didn’t know anything about him. I just didn’t feel the romance.
That being said, the romance didn’t take up too much of the storyline and Marcus wasn’t actually in it as much as I thought he’d be. And though I didn’t love him, I did like his sister Jasmine who was really kind and warm, and I also liked Kamuel, one of the Archangels. Kamuel really intrigued me and I really would have loved to know more about him. He was also understanding and seemed to know what Serafina was going through and helped her out when he could.
The plot was well-paced, and things really started to serious in the second half. I did guess quite a few things but I was surprised at the way things ended and it didn’t go the way I’d thought it would. I liked the end a lot and feel most of the loose ends were wrapped up (though I wouldn’t say no to a sequel!). I think Serafina learnt a lot about humanity and ultimately about what she truly wanted from life. The way the angels were portrayed was really interesting, and I liked that they had their problems too, just like humans on Earth.
Overall, Angel Dust was an enjoyable and stirring read, and I would definitely recommend it to fans of angel books.
Interview with author, Sarah Mussi!
Hi Sarah, thanks for being on the blog!
Hi Liz – thanks for having me!
Can you tell us a bit about Angel Dust?
ANGEL DUST is the story of a seraph, Serafina, who is a teenager in angel years and has spent her early life – up to date - in the Cloisters, a secluded school for God’s brightest and best angels. When Satan declares a new offensive on Heaven only God’s most trusted angels are allowed out of Heaven to do work on Earth.
Serafina is allotted the task of Collection Duty. She must go to Earth to collect the soul of original badman and boy gangsta Marcus Montague. But instead of killing him she saves his life. She then must save his soul too. As she tries to do this she finds that turning someone around is not as easy as it looks – even for an angel. Serafina must sacrifice everything she is to fully understand why Marcus has made the life decisions that he has - and only then does she stand a chance of saving him.
ANGEL DUST is a tragedy and yet an affirmation of the power of love.
Why did you decide to write for a young adult audience?
I guess I’ve always written for YAs. I’ve spent my working (day-job) life being a teacher at secondary schools: agonising with young adults about their studies, their futures, their diets, their passions. I’m with them 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. five days a week and then I come home to my own young adults too: my kids! It’s only natural that they are my audience. I probably know them better than adults!
(Plus I like to think the key words here are ‘young’ and ‘adult’. ANGEL DUST is for the ‘young’ at heart where ever they are – however old.)
What inspired you to write about angels?
I guess the story isn’t really about angels. Serafina is a seraph – that’s true – but it’s her engagement with humanity that is at the core of the book. The story really is more about being human – being mortal and living and dying.
What research went into the book – did you spend much time looking up angel mythology?
I did lots of research – mostly on the genre today. I’ve got a literary back ground (day-job is an English teacher) so I know most of the classical mythology around angels. I love the genre, though – so research was no hardship. What better than to immerse yourself in Rachel Vincent’s My Soul to Take!
Can you tell us about any other projects you have coming up?
In March next year I’ve got a book called SIEGE coming out! It’s a YA thriller with a tiny bit of romance, lots of urban angst and it’s quite scary. It’s also about a girl trying to save things but not the soul of a gangsta this time!
Thanks so much for answering my questions and visiting the blog!
Thanks again for having me ☺
Thanks so much to Sarah and Hot Key Books for making this interview possible!