A couple of weeks ago I was sent the book Dark Hope, the first book of the Archangel Prophecies series, by Monica McGurk to read.
Here’s the synopsis of the book from the back cover:
For years, Hope Carmichael, survivor of a shocking child abduction, has lived a sheltered existence under the protection of here fanatically religious father. Now, liberated by her mother, Hope prepares to start life over as a normal kid in an Atlanta, Georgia, high school.
Normal, that is, until Hope meets Michael, a gorgeous emancipated teen with a mysterious past and a strong interest in her. Soon, Hope’s life is filled with questions. What’s behind the angry looks she gets from Lucas, leader of a gang of students? Who’s responsible for sending strange valentines inscribed with Bible quotations? How does this relate to the sinister business of human trafficking that operates on the periphery of Hope’s suburban world? And is Michael really a protector, or something more sinister – and just why does he seem so familiar?
In an epic narrative that takes reader from the back streets of Atlanta to the height of Vegas penthouses and beyond, Dark Hope introduces The Archangel Prophecies, a saga of extraordinary love, vast mythological scope, and great moral urgency.
When I get a chance to read, young adult sci-fi/fantasy books are some of my favorite titles to pick up and lose myself in. Monika McGurk does an excellent job setting up her main characters early on in the book and the reader instantly feels a connection with Hope. From her background of isolation when living with her father to the awkwardness of entering a high school where she doesn’t know anybody, you’re rooting for her right from the start. And then from Hope’s first encounter with Michael in the school office, you are intrigued.
The story elevates a notch from teenage days at school when Hope kindles a friendship with classmate Tabitha when assigned to work on a class project together. The girls decide to do the project on human trafficking, which is where that concurrent storyline topic is introduced. I love that McGurk included this important topic in the book. Too little of who is affected by human trafficking and where it occurs is known to the average person. The inclusion of it in the book hopefully will spark a desire in those who read it to find out about ways they can aid the children and adults affected by this evil in their own communities. As an added note McGurk has a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the book to be donated to organizations that fight human trafficking, especially the sexual trafficking of minors.
I really did enjoy the bones of this novel. Keeping in mind that the book is fiction, but I am always aware that as a Christian who believes that the Bible is inherently true, that when an author is dealing with subjects of spiritual matters and beings, one has to be careful of blurring the lines between fact and fiction. For me the words of the back cover “mythological scope” don’t fit into the equation.
With not a lot being said about angels and their daily lives in the Bible, I don’t have a problem with some fictionalized ideas of what they might be doing, righteous or fallen ones. However I was bothered when in the book the author said certain Biblical accounts were not true or fabricated, that did put a damper on the rest of the book while I was reading it, because at that point I was on guard preparing myself for more of that. Without giving away any spoilers of the book – Hope’s key role in the saga, from what you read in this first book of the series, from a Christian perspective is impossible. Kudos to McGurk on her terrific writing though, because she gives you just enough in the novel to want to read the next one to see how it all plays out.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.