Angels have been a paranormal obsession long before vampires, but it’s always seemed like angelic fantasy novels were not only controversial, but difficult to come by.
I’ve always been a big fan of angels as a supernatural platform of choice for fantasy. Maybe it’s because when I was a child my mother bought me this series of children’s books with angels and the illustrations were the best part. It was all glittery and cute and the angel kids seemed to have a lot more fun. Plus they had wings. That’s just cool. (I totally wish I could find it again! Or I’d put a link for you to see!)
Then in high school I was excited when I found Maximum Ride by James Patterson. I was slightly disappointed when the angels turned out to be more a result of a science project than some mystical or divine transformation. And to support that, a subtitle was later added to the book that said “The Angel Experiment.” Maximum Ride reminded me of Animorphs in that way. (Sorry all the James Patterson fans who just cringed.)
I worked in the ancient civilization known as Borders when I was in high school. I kept a look out for more angel type books that were actually good. I did eventually find Archangel by Sharon Shinn which was pretty close. It wasn’t quite a “YA” type book, but it was well written and had a fantasy-feel world that I was looking for.
Finally, just in the past few years, I’ve started seeing “real” YA angelic novels. They’re a bit more urban fantasy, kind of how Twilight was, but I suppose that’s what makes them popular. Unearthly (Link to the AJ book review) is undoubtably my favorite, about a girl who’s part angel and is struggling between following her divine-given “purpose” and her heart. (Of course, her heart has a thing or two to do with a cute boy.)
My next favorite is Angelfall, a post-apocalyptic YA love story that’s really unique and awesome. (Link to the AJ book review) And I would be remiss not to mention Daughter of Smoke and Bone. You can’t get more beautiful writing than with Laini Taylor.
And finally, Fallen, the closest in my list to a Twilight-vibe. This book will be made into a $40 million-budget film in early 2017. (Source.) I read this series and was really into it, so I’m super excited about the movie!
So, does this mean that angels are “in?” I sure hope so, because my debut angel fantasy novel comes out December 2nd. But I wasn’t trying to hit the trend at all. I started drawing angels when I was in my teens, and began writing about them shortly after, and never quite stopped. Below are some of my angel sketches from the good ol’ days.
Some people tell me I should keep working on my art, but I only have enough creative juices for either writing or art. So I chose to write. I feel writing is so limitless! Art can be limitless too, but not quite in the way literature can be.
Anyway, back to the topic on hand, I do believe that angels are “in,” contrary to what some people might say, although I’m not sure how long the trend will last. It might be a flash in the pan, but I can vouch that this has been a few years coming and I’m not surprised at all.