I Love to Hate my Favorite Books

Have you read that book? It’s the book you can’t stop rereading. It’s the book you can’t stop thinking about even when you’re not reading it. It’s the series for which you anxiously await the next installment. And yet, the story drives you insane; you find yourself obsessing over the story.

It’s the book that you love and hate almost equally.

It’s not just me, right?  You have one of these too, right?

I’ve read that book; I’ve loved that series—The Premonition Series, a romantic fantasy by Amy A. Bartol.

Basically, college freshman Evie is inexplicably drawn to a taciturn Reed, an angel sent from heaven to fight fallen angels, despite meeting her soul mate. Soon, both heavenly angels and fallen angels surround the girl; some want to destroy her, but many more want to protect her. They learn Evie is one of the strongest God-made creatures in the world, but no one knows her potential power or why she was made. Throughout the series, Evie faces creatures hoping to use her power. Her true purpose is questioned until the fifth book.

Wow, right?

Plus, the vocabulary was fantastic. Nerd that I am, I highlighted dozens of SAT words that I hadn’t seen since, well, my SATs. I even celebrated every definition I remembered.

My vocabulary highlights rival my favorite bookmarked scenes and quotes. So many vivid scenes come to mind. {spoilers ahead} I grin at the predatory way Evie crawls along the dinner table to slit a fallen angel’s throat. I envision the kiss Evie blows to Brennus–the dark fairy king– when he kills her enemy. My mouth falls open as I recall Evie lashes out with her magic and gives Brennus wings. I practically hear Brennus’s Irish purr as he snarls da otha’s name.

Sadly, the story isn’t perfect.

I’ll admit it: the story isn’t that original. Heaven’s angels war against fallen angels as they both look down their noses at dark blood-sucking fairies (they don’t like the term vampires), and one special college girl can end the battle between good and evil. Cool, but three other books with similar premises were published the same year; another heroine was named Evie, too.

I read those too, but I still return to Premonition because it confounds me as much as it entertains me.

And yes, some characters seem stereotypical and one dimensional. Despite reading each of the five books at least a half dozen times, I don’t know why Buns and Bonnie (the supportive reaper angels) help Evie. Their personalities represent the fun-loving insightful, wise women who remain on the right side of the fight, but they aren’t fighters.

Like most warriors, her protector, Reed, is the silent, reserved warrior angel who’s lived for centuries, but he never experienced the small pleasures of life—Twinkies. Reed (the hero/love interest) falls in love with the heroine, but like other battle romances, their love seems born of proximity, time, and dangers; good warriors are drawn to conflict.

So why are they there?

Oddly, I can forgive that question since stereotypes calibrate my expectations.

I can even ignore the love triangle. Or is it a pyramid when three men vie for the same heroine? The soul mate seemed a bit of a jerk and interested in someone else; the angel seemed too perfect and boring; and the dark fairy was just imperfect enough to be a bad choice but incredibly loyal (or obsessed). If life settles down, will these guys lose interest?

It’s cute, but I didn’t care who won the heroine’s love although I think she chose the wrong “man.” But why must she pick a lover? Will her choice in mate make her good or evil as well? Will her mate rise to power and take over the world? Must her mate help her achieve her destined purpose?

Well, according to the plot, no. So why does the romance receive so much focus?

What I can’t ignore and often complain about is Evie’s strength. As a nephilim, she has powers that the angels and dark fairies lack. Evie can capably wield both angelic and fairy magic. She can destroy the creatures angels can’t. She can weave spells that fairies can’t. Her power seems to lure the enemy; creatures want to follow her because of her strength.

Yet, Evie is cosseted. The angels, light and dark, save her. The dark fairies save her. Random creatures and fallen angels nearly kill her. Why does the strongest power in the world need saving? When her loved ones are in danger, she surrenders to save them, so they can save her again later. Why is her greatest power, her greatest gift, surrendering?  And doesn’t she understand that surrender doesn’t help them win the battle?

Even worse, why is someone stronger than the strongest ever? {spoiler} To save her soul mate’s life, Evie infuses Russell with her power; he becomes a powerful being too, although not a nephilim, just a human with great power. And within months, he’s stronger than she is. He learns to control his power faster than she does. He learns magic faster than she can; he casts magic more effectively. He can kill faster than she does.

How is that possible?

He was never supposed to have the power, so why is Evie the weaker being?

Is she slower? Dumber? Smaller? What’s her problem?

Why? Why?!

I recently realized that that’s the real reason I love these books. Whether I love it or hate it, Amy Bartol draws me back to the story. When the story is perfect and everything happens as it should, I read it; I like it, but I don’t revisit it.

However, the imperfect plot needs more thought.

Whenever I remember a moment, the books draw me back, and I read the books again. I see new details in every reading. I formulate new reasonable answers to debate with someone, and then I read the entire series once more so I can love it and hate it again.