Until Next Time
by Amy Lignor
published by Tribute
Why Read?: Review
Challenges: YA Historical Fiction, Horror & Urban Fantasy, YA/MG Fantasy, Immortal, A to Z, Once Upon a Time, 100 Books in a Year
Amy Lignor puts an interesting spin on angels in The Angel Chronicles. Part fantasy, part historical, the first volume of the series, Until Next Time tells the tale of two partnered heavenly beings and their first foray into the lives of humans.
Emily and Matt have spent their whole lives training with the Saints in Heaven to learn how to help souls on Earth. Now it is time for their first mission, which will also be the first time these two soulmates have been separated as they will bear no memories of their lives in Heaven. Emily, an Angel, is sent down into the body of Liz, an orphaned barkeep in early 19th century Ireland. Liz and her best friend Faith run the bar that used to be Liz’s parent’s house on their own, but have the full support of the town. One of their great protectors is Daniel, a young man with some troubles of his own, which is why Matt, the Warrior, has been sent to his body. Liz and Daniel have a close relationship, but when a tragedy occurs, Liz is forced to leave Daniel and travel with Jason and Charles, two mysterious travelers who capture the girls’ hearts. But Liz cannot forget about Daniel, especially as her strange nightmares continue, always leaving her battered and bruised in the morning.
Until Next Time starts strong and fast but soon moves to a slower pace which fits fine with the historical fiction part but not so much with the urban fantasy. The middle tends to drag with not enough action or revelations to keep the reader truly engaged. The main problem is the precedent the prologue sets for the rest of the story. From it, one gets the idea that Until Next Time is a first-person dark fantasy rather than a third-person historical with just a hint of fantasy. Plus, it seems like it would fit better with the next book in the series as it takes place after the events in Until Next Time —the reason is explained as Emily is reading about her mission—and gives just a tad too much away.
That said, Lignor creates realistic characters and really transports the reader back to Ireland in the early 1800s. The trips home (aka Heaven), though, can throw the reader out of the story as they disrupt the flow. However, without these, we would not get to know the Saints with their pithy quips that they hope catch on, which really add some humor to the narrative.
With some tightening up of the genre, Until Next Time could be a great religious historical fantasy. Obviously, Lignor has more planned for Emily and Matt, and I look forward to seeing what that may be.