Tuesday, May 17, 2016

#Wednesday Review - Traitor Angels by Anne Blankman (Young Adult, Historical Fiction)

Series: Standalone
Format: E-Galley, 393 pages
Release Date: May 3, 2016
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Source: Harper Collins
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction

Six years have passed since England’s King Charles II returned from exile to reclaim the throne, ushering in a new era of stability for his subjects.

Except for Elizabeth Milton. The daughter of notorious poet John Milton, Elizabeth has never known her place in this shifting world—except by her father’s side. By day she helps transcribe his latest masterpiece, the epic poem Paradise Lost, and by night she learns languages and sword fighting. Although she does not dare object, she suspects that he’s training her for a mission whose purpose she cannot fathom.

Until one night the reason becomes clear: the king’s men arrive at her family’s country home to arrest her father. Determined to save him, Elizabeth follows his one cryptic clue and journeys to Oxford, accompanied by her father’s mysterious young houseguest, Antonio Vivani, a darkly handsome Italian scientist who surprises her at every turn. Funny, brilliant, and passionate, Antonio seems just as determined to protect her father as she is—but can she trust him with her heart?

When the two discover that Milton has planted an explosive secret in the half-finished Paradise Lost—a secret the king and his aristocratic supporters are desperate to conceal—Elizabeth is faced with a devastating choice: cling to the shelter of her old life or risk cracking the code, unleashing a secret that could save her father…and tear apart the very fabric of society

Author Anne Blankman's previous installments, Prisoner of Night and Fog and Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke took place during the Nazi infestation that spread across Europe while killing 6 million Jews, and others who refused to accept Hitler's nightmare. This time around, Blankman heads back in time to the 17th century, 1666 to be exact, and writes about the fictitious daughter of John Milton, the author of Paradise LostAfter reading the first two books mentioned above, it proved to me that Blankman is an author to watch. 

Not only does she have a knack for writing about a strong, capable, and fierce female protagonists that are put into the middle of an actual historical setting, but she does her due diligence when researching the subject of her novel. If you don't believe me, just take a look at the acknowledgment section of this book. Another of Blankman's strengths as a writer is making you feel as though you were right in the middle of the story with the characters as they make their way through challenges, secrets, and yes, even a bit of romance.

Traitor Angels features 16-year old Elizabeth Milton the third of four daughters of John Milton. Elizabeth loves to learn, she can speak up to five different languages, has spent years helping her father translate Paradise Lost now that he's blind, while also learning how to defend herself. Her family has been through the ringer thanks to her fathers stand on political issues. Traitor Angel's tears into Paradise Lost piece by piece looking for clues to save Milton from being hanged by the monarchy who has been calling him a traitor since Charles the Second became King. 

With the arrival of Antonio Viviani from Italy, Elizabeth finds herself in a National Treasure like search for hidden meanings, secrets that have been buried for years, clues that will lead them to something that if ever revealed to the public, would destroy the world's religion. You need to be able to put yourself into Elizabeth's shoes as she gets closer and closer to revealing something that may be so devastating to the world if it got out, that it could literally cause unspeakable deaths.

In case you have no clue what Paradise Lost is about, let me 
summarize. Paradise Lost is about Adam and Eve and how they came to be created and how they came to lose their place in the Garden of Eden, also called Paradise. If you've read Genesis, Milton pretty much expanded on it and detailed a very long and narrative poem. It also includes the story of the origins of Satan, once called Lucifer. 

Nearly every other secondary character in this book, less 4 or 5, are actual historical characters who were alive when this story takes place in 1666. This book does a whole lot to questioning. It questions science, and it especially gives readers thoughts and makes you think. Thinking is good. It allows you to become part of the story as you ask yourself what would you do in Elizabeth's shoes.

I am not taking sides between religion and science. I think there are some good and bad things they've both been guilty of. Especially the Catholic Church who were a bunch of bigoted assholes who tore lives apart, destroyed lives for the sake of protecting their virtues and their hidden treasures, and allowed Nazi's to slip away into the night before facing justice. Case in point: Galileo who they didn't pardon until the late 20th century was clearly a genius ahead of his time.

His theories were rock solid, yet he was accused of being a heretic! Can you imagine if we didn't have free thinkers or those who question everything? If we didn't we would still believe the earth is flat, and that the SUN revolves around the EARTH. Then again, we are witnessing a terrible atrocity in our schools. When schools and teachers rewrite history, we lose a part of who we are.

In the end, I am highly impressed with Blankman's story, and yes, I do recommend this book.  

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