Thursday, October 6, 2016

Traitor Angels by Anne Blankman

Title: Traitor Angels
Author: Anne Blankman
Genre: Young Adult, Historical
Source: Balzer + Bray via Edelweiss

Six years have passed since England’s King Charles II returned from exile to reclaim the throne, ushering in a new era of stability for his subjects.

Except for Elizabeth Milton. The daughter of notorious poet John Milton, Elizabeth has never known her place in this shifting world—except by her father’s side. By day she helps transcribe his latest masterpiece, the epic poem Paradise Lost, and by night she learns languages and sword fighting. Although she does not dare object, she suspects that he’s training her for a mission whose purpose she cannot fathom.

Until one night the reason becomes clear: the king’s man arrive at her family’s country home to arrest her father. Determined to save him, Elizabeth follows his one cryptic clue and journeys to Oxford, accompanied by her father’s mysterious young houseguest, Antonio Vivani, a darkly handsome Italian scientist who surprises her at every turn. Funny, brilliant, and passionate, Antonio seems just as determined to protect her father as she is—but can she trust him with her heart?

When the two discover that Milton has planted an explosive secret in the half-finished Paradise Lost—a secret the king and his aristocratic supporters are desperate to conceal—Elizabeth is faced with a devastating choice: cling to the shelter of her old life or risk cracking the code, unleashing a secret that could save her father…and tear apart the very fabric of society.
Review by Nara

Traitor Angels was basically one of those intellectual thrillers- or more simply put, a treasure hunt. Elizabeth, daughter of the notorious John Milton (of Paradise Lost), is sent on a quest to discover a secret that could topple the monarchy. She does this with the help of two companions, one an Italian scientist, the other an English nobleman.

While there was a flavour of being unrealistic, for example, in terms of how Elizabeth is brought up (I doubt that a girl would have been so well educated in the 1600s), Blankman masterfully weaved real events with fictional, so much so that it was at times difficult to tell which were which. I must admit my knowledge of history is generally shaky at best, but I did actually have more knowledge than usual about this particular time period because of this awesome show named Horrible Histories (it's pretty funny, would recommend). In any case, I feel I can say that Blankman had clearly done a lot of research, and it showed.

The novel was very well paced, with the events flowing from one into another without it feeling rushed or slow. The writing was also very easy to read- while it did have that historical feel to it, it was simple enough that it didn't slow down the rest of the read. I do have to admit that the plot itself was somewhat simplistic and linear, without many twists and turns (and those twists that were included weren't overly shocking). Still, it was a quick enough read that that didn't concern me too much.

I suppose one thing that the book has made me want to do is actually read Paradise Lost. It's been on the TBR for long enough...

Liked it
Overall: 7/10
Plot: 3.5/5
Romance: 3/5
Writing: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Cover: 4/5