Title: Aquila from the Darkness
Author: T. L. Searle
Release Date: January 1, 2014
Seventeen year old Aqua Vickers lives a secluded life in the English countryside. She keeps herself that way, hiding in plain sight, out of fear. She has no idea where she came from or what she is, she just knows she isn’t human. Her mother is convinced she’s an angel, but does having wings make you an angel? Sharp, angular and intimidating black wings?
The only other person Aqua has let into her life is Aaron, her best friend. They’ve grown up together, shared every milestone and Aqua’s feelings for him have developed into something more. In a moment of impulse, Aqua revels her true nature. Aaron freaks, hurting Aqua so badly that she flees into the night.
Lucas has been watching and waiting. As an Angeli Tail it is his job to be a spy; and he’s been ordered to watch Aqua. Lost and vulnerable above the clouds, Aqua is reaching exhaustion. When Lucas offers her the answers she seeks, she follows him impulsively.
In a city, carved into the rock of a mountain, Aqua discovers she’s not as alone as she thought; and her life has been rooted on a bed of lies and deception. In her absence, her home is attacked and her mother taken. With this new enemy intent on her capture and new family who aren’t all welcoming, Aqua must integrate and train with the Angeli Guard if she has any hope of rescuing her mother from the hands of the Dragone.
The Angeli Guard Master is unforgiving and ruthless, allowing Aqua little rest from his relentless and painful training exercises. Aqua can barely stand to look at him, but can’t seem to exterminate the butterflies she feels when he’s around.
War is coming but Aqua’s battles may need to be fought closer to home.
I don’t want to start on a negative note, because this is a fantastic book. However, I’m not gonna lie; the beginning of this book was kind of odd and there were some things I felt were awkwardly written. Those things did eventually get cleared up, though, and then the story and the characters got a lot clearer, too. For example, I didn’t really understand how Aquila wasn’t human until she was actually flying, and so I was kind of thrown for a loop when she was saying how she felt like a freak and I didn’t know that she had wings, and then the whole webbed and oddly formed feet thing came out even later. However, after I understood that, everything moved a whole lot faster and I got totally absorbed into the story.
I liked her original relationship with Aaron, although after his reaction to her wings I just didn’t like him that much in general. In my opinion, a friend would have understood, and honestly? He seemed kind of dense to me, especially later on when he just didn’t seem to get the hint. He acted pretty stupidly, and I hope to God that Aquila’s feelings don’t go back there! Meeting Lucas after that was probably the best thing that could have happened to Aquila, despite the chaos that her life became afterwards. I really liked him; he definitely acts like the older brother she doesn’t (exactly) have, and she needed someone steady and reliable in her life who could just listen. I also think that Robyn could become a great girlfriend for Aquila, and although she wasn’t as involved in the story, I still liked her a lot and hope to see more of her in future books.
The whole brother thing also was kind of vague in the beginning with her mother and Aaron, and (without giving too much away in the review), I feel like it could have been explained a whole lot better. I get that some things are left open-ended to be explained later and intrigue the reader, but some of the writing felt like it hadn’t been finished at certain points and so my intrigue was replaced by confusion, especially since it wasn’t really talked about for a while afterwards. The reading got a little slow at those points. However, towards the middle and end, everything was explained in full and I was absolutely in love with the story, the characters, and the book as a whole.
The romance was great, the action and suspense even better, and the way that Searle ends the novel? Geez, cliff-hanger much!? The transition to the end was a little abrupt, but the only thing, when I realized the book was over, that kept me from giving loud and obnoxious voice to that “OMG-I-need-more” feeling that every booklover will understand is the fact that there was a sneak peek chapter from the next book, Aquila Into the Light. It also sounds fantastic, and I can’t wait to read more about this strangely endearing girl and her misadventures! I feel like it will be even better than this one, especially since there will be less getting-to-know the main character and more digging into the deeper plotline that we just began to touch on.
And, despite what I’ve said about parts not being fully explained, the language that Searle uses in her writing is beautiful: dialogue or just plot writing, the words invoke a certain imagery that stirs the imagination. The characters, particularly Aqua, made me laugh and definitely got me invested in the book.
So, do I think the book was perfect? No. However, I do think that it is amazingly creative and that I will most definitely be 1. recommending it to anyone who loves a good fantasy adventure, and 2. be on the lookout for the next book!
*Disclaimer: I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. My views on the book are entirely my own and have not been influenced by the author or publisher in any way.