For a while now I have been a part of the Nuts About Books Bloggers Program and I have discovered some pretty awesome books so far.
However, I have to say that The Day the Angels Fell by Shawn Smucker is my favorite so far.
We are always told not to judge a book by its cover. This one is a simple silhouette of a cat in a tree. You will not notice this cat unless you inspect it closely. The font of the title signifies something mythical. It almost reminds me of peeling bark.
The brief synopsis of the book states:
It was the summer of storms and strays and strangers. The summer that lightning struck the big oak tree in the front yard. The summer his mother died in a tragic accident–and young Samuel Chambers would have done anything to turn back time. Even today, he can hardly believe it all
happened . . .
Prompted by three strange carnival fortune-tellers and the surfacing of his mysterious and reclusive neighbor, Sam begins his search for the Tree of Life–the only thing that could possibly bring his mother back.
His quest to defeat death will entangle him and his best friend Abra in an ancient conflict, forcing Sam to grapple with an unwelcome question.
Could it be possible that death is a gift?
One of the first things I noticed about this novel was that it was broken into three separate sections as the narrator, an old man named Samuel Chambers, relives the Summer that changed his life forever.
Part One: The Storm begins with the reader being introduced to Samuel in ‘present day’. He entrances the audience by talking about still living on the farm where he grew up and how he his last living friend, Abra, had just passed away. He reflects on how it is eerie now that the farm is exactly how it was the Summer he tragically lost his mother. He continues on by saying that he will never know if he got the story of that Summer right but there was no one left to ask. All this suspense from just one chapter. How can you not continue to read?
The first part of his tale begins with a storm, three strange carnival fortune-tellers and a tragedy. This brings us into Part Two: The Tree. In this part we learn the story of a mythical Tree of Life. After meeting his mysterious neighbour Mr. Jinn, Samuel is brainwashed with the idea that finding this tree will bring his mother back. Around this same time another mysterious man, Mr. Tennin entered the picture and began working for his father. Mr. Tennin recites a tale that may seem rather far-fetched to some. Little do we know that this story later becomes a part of Samuel’s realty.
This brings us to Part Three: The Sword. I won’t give too much away about this chapter but rest assured that this sword is an important artifact in the story. Part Four is entitled The Fire. It is during this part that we learn the significance of many earlier things in the novel; the carnival fortune tellers, Mr. Tennin, and Mr. Jinn. Finally we have Part Five: The Secret. Set completely in the present day, this ties up many loose ends that we’ve all been wondering about and also sets the reader up for another book, telling Abra (his friends) side of the story.
This book had it all; mystery and suspense that left you on the edge of your seat. I couldn’t put it down. I stayed up way too late the two nights I was reading it because I had to know what happened next. I was shocked to read that this was Shawn Smuckers first novel. I’m excited to see what creative genius he comes up with next. The Day the Angels fell is a page turner.. That’s for sure!
Haunting and hypnotic, The Day the Angels Fell is a story that explores the difficult questions of life in a voice that is fresh, friendly, and unafraid. With this powerful debut, Shawn Smucker has carved out a spot for himself in the tradition of the great authors of literature for young readers.
For any person who has struggled with why bad things happen, this mesmerizing book will be both a comfort and a challenge.
Disclaimer: “Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.” I was not required to give this a positive review. All thoughts and comments about the novel are strictly my own opinion.