This review is based on a complimentary book I received from NetGalley. It is an honest and voluntary review. The complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.Toward a Secret Sky by Heather Maclean
Genres: Fantasy, young adult
Release Date: April 4, 2017
Format: ARC, E-book
Purchase at: Amazon ◊ Barnes & Noble ◊ Book Depository ◊ Google Play ◊ Kobo ◊ IndieBound
Shortly after 17-year-old Maren Hamilton is orphaned and sent to live with grandparents she’s never met in Scotland, she receives an encrypted journal from her dead mother that makes her and everyone around her a target. It confirms that her parents were employed by a secret, international organization that’s now intent on recruiting her. As Maren works to unravel the clues left behind by her mother, a murderous madness sweeps through the local population, terrorizing her small town. Maren must decide if she’ll continue her parents’ fight or stay behind to save her friends.
With the help of Gavin, an otherworldly mercenary she’s not supposed to fall in love with, and Graham, a charming aristocrat who is entranced with her, Maren races against the clock and around the country from palatial estates with twisted labyrinths to famous cathedrals with booby-trapped subterranean crypts to stay ahead of the enemy and find a cure. Along the way, she discovers the great truth of love: that laying down your life for another isn’t as hard as watching them sacrifice everything for you.
Toward a Secret Sky was a like-dislike book for me. What originally excited me about this book was that the main character, Maren Hamilton, was ignorant to the fact that her parents were spies until she was sent her mother’s encrypted journal. Then throw in labyrinths, booby-trapped crypts and romance and I was desperately looking forward to this book! It just did not pan out the way I wanted it to.
Let’s start with the “like” part of this book. I liked the story being set in Scotland and I enjoyed how the author took the time to develop the setting. Although I am now permanently turned off to Scottish food 😏, kidding. The idea of a secret organization tasked with finding humans that have special talents to team up with angels was unique. There were also demons which gave it a nice good versus evil conflict. The pacing of the story was fast and had mysterious elements that kept my interest. There was also a DiVinci code vibe to this book that was most enjoyable.
Now the “dislike,” so much could have been done with the entire angel-human collaboration but it was killed by insta-love. The plot was moving along nicely then it became all about the attraction and all the cool stuff was smothered by ridiculous dialogue about said attraction. Normally I am not a hater of instant attraction but there was no basis for the attraction. The angst of it all – don’t like me, I can’t like you, we can’t be but I love you. The attraction was not built upon anything. I did not get the Gavin-Maren connection. Their interactions and swooning for each other just made my eyes roll. Unfortunately, it also did not improve as the story went on.
What I wish was that the story would have focused on Maren and the secret society angle. Then build up the smolder between her and Gavin. A nice smolder would have gone far in building the attraction between these characters. It would have given a real yearning to see their relationship develop in the next book in this series. I am assuming that this book is going to be a series as it is left with a cliffhanger which does promise some interesting times. Anyhow, I wanted to love this story, I really did, but the romance angle between the two main characters was so overdone that it overshadowed the part of the story that I did enjoy.
*Thank you to NetGalley & Blink for this eARC of Toward a Secret Sky*