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Review: Angels of Destruction, Keith Donohue

One snowy night, a small girl named Norah appears outside Margaret Quinn’s door.  Margaret’s daughter Erica ran away ten years ago to join a cult with her boyfriend, and in the meantime Margaret has lost her husband to illness and now lives alone.  Unwilling to lose the girl that God seems to have given to her in response to her prayers, Margaret decides to pass Norah off as her granddaughter.  A mysterious and magical child, Norah tells people that she is an angel, and that her mission is about to begin.

Angels of Destruction is not a book that is immediately appealing.  The first third or so focuses on Norah, who is very difficult to tack down and label.  The following third goes back in time to witness Erica’s viewpoint when she left her parents, and the end constitutes an interweaving of these two narratives, seemingly brought about by Norah’s actions.  This is a book that could epitomize winter; whenever I think of it I imagine that cold snowy night when Norah entered Margaret’s life, and the grief that pervades the book easily adds to its slightly melancholy feel.

While I enjoyed the way the book was plotted and I liked its final message of hope, I have to conclude that this isn’t really a book for me.  It’s woven through with this concept of angels and faith, but it’s hard to tell whether or not Norah actually is one, or if she’s just a crazy little girl.  I’d like to think that it was a message of faith, but I wish the author had been a little more concrete with what she was, rather than having her just up and vanish.  I feel like it could have been more powerful that way, if the knowledge was there rather than just the wondering.  As it was, however, I was left wanting.

Overall, I’d have to say that Angels of Destruction was mostly fine.  I enjoyed reading it, particularly the section about Erica, I wanted to find out what happened at the end, and I was occasionally touched by its beautiful prose and family connections.  I was left with questions, though, and I never felt that I really was loving it or was compelled to go back to it.  It’s hard to describe why I feel so lukewarm about this book, but unfortunately the fact remains.

I am an Amazon Associate. I received this book for free from the publisher for review.

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