Book Review: Stone Faced Angel
ashley | Stone Faced Angel by Marie McKean is a book about a boy who talks to an angel statue in a grave yard, a statue that at some point turns into a living, breathing girl. Simplified like that, I’m not sure whether my first impression was a good one or not, but the description – “I died, a long time ago” – is what caught my attention and I was intrigued enough to see what kind of story a death, a survivor and an angel statue was going to build.
Maura is a lost soul, picked up on the side of a highway not knowing who she is or where she came from, though it’s not difficult to draw your own conclusion given the prologue. While she was a warm character, Maura was also a bit of a structural mess. She accepted her displaced life rather unquestionably and seemed pretty placid just sitting and waiting for the local cop to find her family, though even that was only mentioned briefly and not really followed through on. She was quite accepting of the differences in modern society compared to what she initially seemed to remember… referring to a car as a horseless carriage gives the idea that she’s from a time long ago, but she doesn’t question any advances in modern technology and doesn’t blink twice at the cell phone she is given. There are a lot of inconsistencies like this throughout the story and Maura adapts too quickly to it all without any acknowledgeable adjustment. She was all over the place and this was really hard for me to look past.
There are some interesting characters, though. Leona, who takes Maura in, is a sweetheart. She’s kind and lovable, the kind of character you feel blessed to get to know. And Brandon, Leona’s grandson, does make for an intriguing love interest. He’s that football player with a sensitive soul kind of guy, the hunk you see in a lot of chick lit/chick flicks, and he builds great chemistry with Maura. Their young love is a carefree, lighthearted tryst that makes for a nice comfort read, exactly the kind of thing you want from a love story in a YA book.
Sadly, the writing wasn’t spectacular. It wasn’t horrible, but there were some flaws with the flow and some annoyances with the dialogue. Coupled with the inconsistencies and other frustrations I had throughout, I definitely struggled to get through this right from the start. It went from having an interesting premise to kind of forgetting all about the fact that Maura doesn’t know who she is and that there was supposed to be this whole angel aspect.
The bulk of the book basically just recounts dates she goes on with Brandon, which would usually make for an easy and fun read but this gave the impression of being more than just a boy meets girl kind of story and it really lacked in that aspect. It just seemed unfocused and all over the place to me and I had to force myself to finish it.
The ending packed a punch; it was really intense really quick, which totally conflicted with the tone of the rest of the book. I can see what was trying to be done with this book and looking at the pieces of it there is still a good, intriguing story to it, but I just really didn’t like how it was sewn together.
Sometimes you win some, sometimes you lose some and while this did have its moments, unfortunately I can’t say it was a winner.