Verdict: It took me quite a while to finish reading this one because I felt like I had to take a break every few chapters and process. I've seen reviews talk about how religious people won't like this book. I'm religious and I adore it. It takes traditional perceptions of Heaven, Earth, and Hell and warps them into a completely tangible, wonderful world where Jael's story makes sense. An immense amount of research was done for this book... either that, or Jon Skovron is a history god/demon. One or the other. I found this world where demons are only demons because that's how we perceive them to be both beautiful and startling. The writing is gorgeous. Detailed without being verbose is a hard task to pull off.
At the beginning I felt like I was reading two books simultaneously, one about the teen half-breed Jael and one about her parents and how they met and made her. Again, in reading some reviews, I found that people didn't like that. I have to say, it's one of the main reasons I liked the book. Both sides of the story were poignant and both were necessary for you to understand Jael's struggle and the depth of conflict throughout the story. If you ignored the adult angle, you missed out a ton. And I thought that the third-person omniscient voice was imperative to Skovron's success. At times you even get to glimpse inside what air and earth are thinking and I think it's brilliant.
A book that makes me think this much? 5 stars for sure. It was scary good. And by scary, I mean paradigm-shifting, enlightening, and horizon-broadening, while satisfying my desires for paranormal romance. *shakes hand in air* It was hot.
Now. I have a bit of a warning for parents. IF your teen is going through some sort of a religious struggle? This book could make a difference. And depending on your teen, it could make a difference for the better or for the good. This is definitely one you'll want to read at least along side them if not before them and have discussions about with them if you have a particular religious philosophy in your home. I'm saying that this could strengthen a strong belief or weaken a weak one. Other than that, there is not a lot of graphic violence, but there is violence. And there is a brief, but not detailed description from Jael's best friend about losing her virginity.
And since I've found out that kids and teens use my blog to cheat on book reports, I'm discontinuing the Gauntlet portion of my reviews. Because honestly? I don't like getting bombarded with emails at 6:30 in the morning asking about what the theme of a book was or how it's characters grew because they got the rest of the info from my gauntlet portion, and then getting a reply to that email saying that I suck for not getting back to them in a fifteen-minute window. READ, dudes, READ. And yes, it's happened more than once, even this week. *sigh*
But I will say that if you know who Milo Rambaldi is, you'll appreciate this work. And if you don't? You still might appreciate this work.
Find out more about Jon Skovron at his website. Also, you can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and buy his book(s) at Changing Hands or Amazon.