Book Reviews

Review: “A Touch Mortal,” Leah Clifford

August 20, 2013
Review: “A Touch Mortal,” Leah CliffordA Touch Mortalby Leah Clifford
Series: A Touch Trilogy #1
Published by Greenwillow Books on February, 2011
Genres: Angels & Demons, Immortality, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 419

Eden didn’t expect Az.Not his saunter down the beach toward her. Not his unbelievable pick up line. Not the instant, undeniable connection. And not his wings.

Yeah. So long happily-ever-after.

Now trapped between life and death, cursed to spread chaos with her every touch, Eden could be the key in the eternal struggle between heaven and hell. All because she gave her heart to one of the Fallen, an angel cast out of heaven.

She may lose everything she ever had. She may be betrayed by those she loves most. But Eden will not be a pawn in anyone else’s game. Her heart is her own. And that’s only the beginning of the end.

I wish A Touch Mortal had been more than it was. I really enjoyed Leah Clifford’s style of writing, but I felt the story fell prey to many of the YA cliche’s I’ve read time and time again. If Eden’s story had taken on its own, original plotline, I believe I would have enjoyed this book a lot more. I am glad I persevered, however, as the ending did improve the book as a whole.

I considered giving A Touch Mortal three stars instead of two, but the more I though about it, the more I felt I was being too generous by doing so. There was just too much inside this book I had a problem with – a good 3/4 of it, actually. I really trudged through this one…

Despite being fairly ‘over’ angel stories, I was drawn into the series by a trailer I saw quite some time ago promoting the second book in the series. I thought ‘huh, this seems like it may give a unique spin to the overdone the YA angel genre’, and I was certainly right about that. A Touch Mortal isn’t your typical YA angel story – but much to my disappointment, it does still follow the basic formula and allows you to predict the end way before the last pages are even close.

Probably my main irk with this book was the main character, Eden. I didn’t feel sorry for her or warm up to her in any way. When I read about girls in YA novels that want to commit suicide, they all seem to be the same – loners, goths/emos… Eden falls into that trap. And even though she’s contemplating killing herself before meeting leading man/angel Az, it’s because of his ‘death’ that she decides to take the plunge… quite literally into the ocean.

Cue pink streaks in her hair, chunky boots, chipped nail polish, etcetera. when she comes back to life as a ‘Sider’ – an immortal sub-race made up from people who committed suicide and have nowhere to go after their deaths. I won’t get into the mechanics of the Siders, or their element of ‘Touch’ (because I like to review my books and not re-cap the whole plot) but Eden could definitely have been more likeable. I am really past tolerating our focal characters when they insist of barging into dangerous situations with no clue what they’re doing, or blatantly disregarding strict orders for their safety…. ya know?

Her little gang of ‘Siders’ didn’t really strike me as fascinating secondary characters, either. Libby was probably the most entertaining or likeable one, but I saw where her story was leading way before it actually happened. As for Eden and Adam’s relationship? It left a sour taste in my mouth. Especially when (trying to avoid too many spoilers here, but it’s quite inevitable) by the end of the book, Eden seemed to totally forget how his story ended. I mean, the girl didn’t even flinch or remark about the incident despite dating him for over half the book.

Kristen was an interesting character – zany and original – but not exactly likeable. Gabe, the Bound angel, was probably the most interesting of the bunch. It was his final plot twist that has actually almost convinced me to read on to the second book, A Touch Morbid. As for our leading man, Az, all I can say is ‘meh’…

Luke, the baddie, had the potential to be a really great character, but he lost it somewhere along the way.

I mentioned briefly that I really loved Leah Clifford’s style of writing. It’s descriptive and fully-fleshed out, but at times I felt it included really unnecessary things as ‘fillers’ for dialogue – case in point; Eden and her friend Jarrod are having a conversation as they walk along the street. Leah Clifford thinks it interesting to point out how a rotted newspaper piece catches in Jarrod’s shoelace, how he dislodges it, and keeps walking. Come again?

I am glad, however, that I finally finished A Touch Mortal and have laid my curiosity about the series to rest. At this point in time I’m still undecided on whether I’d like to continue on with the next book, but if I do, it will be to continue Gabe’s story. I have little to zero interest in Eden and her friends. That being said, if Leah Clifford does come out with a new book or series, I will look into it as I think she’s an author to watch.

Recommended to: If you’re looking for an angel story that brings in some new elements, and pretend-strong goth girls don’t bother you, give A Touch Mortal a go.

About Leah Clifford

Leah Clifford has been an extreme cave tour guide, a camp counselor, a flight attendant, a pizza delivery girl, a waitress, and a grocery store clerk. Now she adds author to that list. She lives outside Cleveland, Ohio.

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