Note: We were sent this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Sophie Cameron’s debut really is something special! I’m calling Carnegie and Waterstones Book Prize nominations for next year! It’s about Jaya, whose father is a Wingding, someone who is obsessed with the angels falling to their deaths all over the world, and as such has hauled their family to Edinburgh in search of the next angel. Jaya then, in secret, comes across a rose gold and pink angel who unlike all the other has survived the fall, and with the help of two new friends tried to help her get back home.
Out of the Blue is the sort of story that’s just effortlessly beautiful and sweeps you up with its easy-to-follow emotional journeys. The secondary characters were absolutely stellar, in fact, all of the characters were complex and intriguing, and I loved what Cameron did with the dad towards the end of the book.
I really love books like this where the ‘dystopian’ element feels so magically realistic – you find it more in films, but Laura Dockrill’s ‘Lorali’ is a comp title. It’s also kind of similar to the Penryn and the End of Days trilogy by Susan Ee, just pre-Rapture. We’re really seeing the beginnings of a changing world, and while the reasons behind the Falls aren’t explained, I was surprised how little that actually mattered in the scheme of things. Also, I love anything that has the whole ‘teaching the outsider how to be human’ thing. Think, the mermaid from ‘Splash’ and Eleven from ‘Stranger Things’.
The pacing was spot-on for everything: the romance, Jaya’s coming to terms with the death of her mother, the reveal of what happened to Leah. For a novel so short, it was doing a lot . The ending was really satisfactory too since it was quite overt with ‘what Jaya learned’ but at least you could tell she’s had character development!
I only have a few reasons why this book didn’t quite make it to five stars: the sibling relationship between Jaya and Rani – I could’ve spent more time on how they don’t have much in common, what it’s like to be the eldest, etc. Also, I felt like the lyricism of the story as a whole was beautifully sustained, but there were some paragraphs that stood out as more purple than the rest, which really threw me off, but I’m not the biggest fan of that style of writing, so I’m sure it’s actually a pro for more people!
I haven’t yet mentioned the diversity which covered so many aspects like race, sexuality and even medical (I think Jaya uses ableist language to begin with, but it’s part of her re-education. Still, I’ll be interested to see what other people make of that). Undoubtedly this is the best angel book I’ve ever read!