Finally my trend spotlight analysis on angels is coming to a close. For a brief recap of what I’ve learned, I have made another board on Pinterest devoted to angels.
Angels have always had a profound affect on society affecting many different religions. Even if you’re a non-believer, you’ve probably have came across angels in various forms of media. From Paradise Lost to Teen Angel, angels have always had their niche in secular life.
But what about today’s YA books?
They differ from the angel media of the old. Rather than being focused on faith, miracles, or angelic duty, these books often focus on the relationship between the angel and their lover. Sure, there are many ways which authors exploit this plot point. In Unearthly Clara finds love while she’s on her angel quest which ends up complicating things, while in A Beautiful Dark Skye finds herself torn between two angels as she’s learning about her own identity.
The sub genre seems to have only continued to explode in recent years. This year alone, it seems that anytime I go to a bookstore there’s a new angel book out.
While the quantity of angel books is great, the quality can vary. There are some really fantastic angel books out there with well formed characters, great use of world building, and story lines that keep you wanting more. But at the same time, there are so many angel books that have some serious problems.
In fact, it seems like there are a ridiculous amount of problem books in the angel sub genre. Even more than other sub genres in YA which has me raising an eyebrow or two.
Is it because I don’t like angels?
I don’t think so. I love angel books. If done right. Some of my favorite books are angel centric. Perhaps it’s because I love good angel books so much that I get so fed up with the sub genre.
Or maybe it’s something else.
While every sub genre has issues, the angel sub genre seems to highlight my main main issues with YA–weak heroine and abusive male hero.
The question is why?
While exploring the sub genre I think I have sort answered that question, at least for myself. I think from the various books I’ve read that the angel sub genre is prone to weak heroines and abusive situations, because the set up itself makes a book susceptible for these mistakes.
Angels are often viewed as guardians of the soul, it would be very easy for an author to take this trait and make the angel full blown Edward Cullen. Likewise, this would allow a heroine to be weak as well. Take the relationship between Nora and Patch in Becca Fitzpatrick’s Hush Hush saga. The main characters, Nora and Patch, have what I would consider to be an abusive relationship. Throughout the first book alone, Patch tries to kill Nora multiple times. And Nora forgives him with very little thought. So does heaven too, since Patch becomes Norah’s guardian angel after the accident which allows Patch carte blache stalking privileges when it comes to Nora.
Sometimes the stalking even happens to angels as well. Like in Alexandra Andronetto’s Halo the main character, a supposedly powerful angel, becomes dependent on her human boyfriend and they essentially have a dependent relationship a la Twilight.
As I said though, there are many angel books that do not fall prey to these cliches. However, the ones that do often leave a more sour taste in my mouth than other books in the YA genre.
While there have been many movies and television shows that have touched on angels, there have been no recent YA adaptions of any of these books.
There has been progress though. At one point Unearthly was in development with the CW to become a TV series and The Mortal Instruments (which could loosely be considered an angel book) is set to become a movie.
The Future of Angel Lit
Angel books have been popping out all over the place, but for how long?
Well, does forever count?
I seriously do think that this will be one of the sub genres that does last. Angels have been in the media for a long time. From having a purely religious purpose to being the love interest in a modern YA book, they have adapted to the needs of society and the book industry for a long time.
Next Time on Trend Spotlights….
I’m leaving it up to you guys. Behold, a poll I created with many sub genres in the YA market that have been getting some buzz. All I ask is that you please be gentle with me because I have to
stomach enjoy five or six of these books. Also, if you have a sub genre that you’d like me to feature but I didn’t list feel free to leave a comment.