Friday, May 13, 2011

Review: In the Arms of Stone Angels by Jordan Dane

In the Arms of Stone Angels
Author: Jordan Dane
Publication: Harlequin; Original edition (March 22, 2011)


Description: Two years ago, Brenna did the unthinkable. She witnessed the aftermath of a murder and accused her only true friend--the first boy she ever loved--of being a killer. 

Now sixteen, Brenna returns to Oklahoma only to discover that Isaac "White Bird" Henry isn't in juvie. The half-breed outcast is in a mental hospital, frozen in time, locked in his mind at the worst moment of his life. And when Brenna touches him, she's pulled into his hellish vision quest, seeing terrifying demons and illusions she doesn't understand.

Feeling isolated and alone, she's up against the whole town, targeted by bullying former classmates, a bigoted small town sheriff, and a tribe who refuses to help one of their own. But when Brenna realizes she's as trapped by the past as White Bird is, this time she won't turn her back on him. She's the only one who can free them both.

Even if she has to expose her secret--a "gift" she's kept hidden her whole life.



My Thoughts: This book started out slowly for me but, once I got into it, I couldn't put it down. It was so emotionally intense. Brenna begins as a somewhat unlikeable person as she is so determined to be one. She is very introspective, concerned about losing her mind, and uncommunicative.


Brenna's story unfolds gradually. She is in so much pain. She is coping with seeing ghosts and with the guilt she feels because she turned her best and only friend White Bird in for murder when she saw him all bloody, holding a knife, and chanting over the body of one of the most popular girls in the school. The sheriff questioned her and tried prove that she was involved. He harassed her as did the other people in the town. Pressure got so bad that she and her mother moved all the way from Oklahoma to North Carolina.


Brenna's grandmother dies and it is necessary that she and her mother to go back to Oklahoma to settle her estate. Two years have passed. She learns that White Bird is catatonic and in a psychiatric hospital. Also, when she arrives back in town, the harassment begins again. But she is determined to help her friend no matter how dangerous that might be.


The book explores Native American vision quests and spirituality in the person of White Bird. He is an orphaned half-breed who embraces his Euchee heritage. He is also a quiet loner who befriends and accepts Brenna for who she is. When Brenna returns to Oklahoma, White Bird is trapped in his own mind. He is still living his vision quest because of the traumatic events surrounding Heather's death. Brenna touches him and is swept into his vision. She is determined to help him.


Once she is willing to open up to others, she finds help and support from the new deputy in town and from the Euchee shaman that she goes to for help for White Bird. She needs the support because the sheriff is still prejudiced against her and a group of her former classmates are determined to harass her. 


I loved the language and imagery in this story. I liked how the story shifted viewpoints so that you could see how the classmates and the sheriff were looking at things. I only wish that we would have gotten a glimpse White Bird's eyes beyond the images we saw of the horrors of his vision quest gone wrong. 


The story was engaging and engrossing. I recommend this book to all young adults. 


Favorite Quote:
I can't remember the first time I actually saw a dead person. I've thought about that tons of times, too. When I was a kid, they came to me as strangers, nothing more than faces crowding my sleep.
I received a copy of the book for review through the Amazon Vine program. It is available in paperback or Kindle format from Amazon.

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