Series: Avena #1
Author: Marianne Curley
Publication Date: March 2013
Source: Review Copy
Synopsis from Goodreads
Ebony has always known that she is different. Her violet eyes mark her out, and her protective parents have kept her in a gorgeous valley, home-schooled, safe from everything—almost as if she’s being hidden. But she’s changing: glowing, getting more and more beautiful, and stronger than anyone knows. Ebony can’t stay hidden for ever, and when she meets complicated, intense Jordan, something explodes inside her—something that can be seen from the heavens; something that changes everything. Ebony is a stolen angel, concealed on Earth. Now the heavens have found her, they want her back.
REVIEW BY GRACE 8:7
I have just finished reading Hidden, an urban fantasy novel, over a three-day period. Immediately, I associate with this book as I live very close to my best friend just like Ebony (one of the main characters) and Amber (Ebony’s best friend). Also, my favourite character is Ebony as I feel I am quite like her in some ways with her weird kinks ,being original and different to the rest as my eyes always seem to manage to get a compliment and I am known to some as a robot but in Ebony’s case she is an angel. However, that is only the start of the personal associations Ebony and I have in this novel. Hidden is unique as it mixes the real world (and how hard life is/can be) with the planned perfection angel world, Avena. Encapsulating is only one of many words I can use to describe Hidden as it drew me in right at the start. At the start I thought that Hidden could not improve but to my surprise my love for this book grew as I read further and further into the book. This book taught me about how lucky I am compared to others and how much we all take for granted.
Hidden, is written as a “dialogue format” as each chapter is either led by Jordan or Ebony two of the main characters. I feel that the title Hidden, at the start confused me but as I read on I found that it is very appropriate because another main character, Nathaniel (but also called Thane), holds a “hidden” secret that is not discovered until the last chapters. I feel Hidden does not show the reader on the front or back cover (or in the summary) that it will have an association with angels.Therefore, this is one of the downfalls as someone might not like this genre but pick up Hidden as it has no indication of it on the covers if you have not read it. Fortunately, I do like this genre and felt that the story did really engage me and trap myself in its fantasy world. On the other hand, I liked the fact that the covers did not give much away as it meant I had to read in further to find out the meaning of the title e.c.t, but others might not be so keen on this idea. I also feel that the comment on the front cover, “Three hearts, two worlds, one secret”, aptly sums up the plot beautifully.
Ebony, is adopted by “human parents”; however, her true identity is that of an angel with a pre-destined path in Avena. She has been searching for the truth for her whole life and now she is turning sixteen is adamant to find out about her violet eyes and weird kinks. Ebony knows something is wrong and she starts to question those close to her. Jordan is sent on a mission to help two worlds combine but will it work and who will find Ebony first.
The plot, especially at the end, tugs on the readers emotion of attachment and sympathy for the main characters but at the same times displays to the reader the importance of relationships ; that as humans we can often take for granted. Hidden, provides an insight into Ebony’s life experiences (noting the complexity of life’s pathways and the impact of: adoption, loss of parents, the search for your own identity and most importantly, teenagers falling in love and trusting others as we grow into adulthood. Attachment, friendship and relationship matters we all can associate with, the fragility of these aspects, in informing us of our identity is explored. The storyline follows Ebony as she is encouraged by others to consider her true identity which opens up a world of “angels” unbeknown to her. Ebony is my favourite character because she is like me as she is into sports, she likes school unlike most people and she has friends who are trustworthy and always there just like mine are. I also love the fact that she always seems to focus on the positives in life but in addition,she shows that there is a point that someone (no matter who) can always start to break down. The reader acknowledges from this that everyone is fighting their own battle sometimes with others and sometimes on their own but I feel Ebony is quite an emotionally strong character as throughout this book some of her nightmares come true.
Jordan, the other main character, is tough but vulnerable emotionally. As the storyline unfolds, Jordan realises the need in this world to stand by your dreams is very important, especially in relationships to fighting for the love of your life. Jordan’s character throughout Hidden is developed just like the others and different layers of thematic events unfold, impacting the relationships between the three main characters, Ebony, Jordan and Thane.
Ebony’s confusion of love and trust for others, even those close to her build as the storyline progresses. Hidden, highlights how as a young teenager life can be hard with the absence of both or one parent when you are trying to enter the adult world and can also place these people in vulnerable circumstances as there is no one really there to give them support every hour of every day. However, the narrative shows the reader despite the rejection of parent support, strong attachments remain and children will sacrifice their well-being to support their parents.
I felt while reading this book that there was an over load of swear or slang words used, which sometimes could ruin the atmosphere Marianne Curley created but also, it was not all necessary. In addition, the swear and slang words could interfere with the message being communicated to reader and was very repetitive which was one of the parts of Hidden I did not like. At certain moments this language could feel out-of-place in contrast of the rest of the text being more mature and thought-provoking. Also, this was only minor but still a downfall to Hidden, there was a grammatical error in the writing that must have not been found and corrected but otherwise I found the book a pleasure to read.
I would have liked to have seen a relationship between Ebony and Jordan as when Ebony would have to make the decision there would have been more tension in the storyline. In addition I did not like Jordan’s “ending” in Hidden but I feel that if it was different it would have either been predictable or an offset to the storyline therefore, this ending did make me want more information. I did enjoy the storyline but I felt that Jordan could have had something happier happen to him at the end as he had already had a hard life.
Hidden, was an excellent novel on the imagery side as it lightened the atmosphere which made the reader focus on the positive side more so than the negative side of the story. Hidden did have its moments of graphical repulsion and gore however, this was strongly counter balanced by the moments of inquisition, tension and mystery. The “unknown” being embedded into the novel’s storyline making me intrigued and interested to read on.
Ebony’s values, personality and her early years history all came together to display her being quite needy of being loved and protected. Her hardships are fully exposed. Ebony’s loyalty to her family is something most of us can relate to.
The use of a dialogue format between Ebony and Jordan in the first person and present tense, I feel helped to keep the reader encapsulated and wanting to read on. The fast pace of the storyline made it easy and enjoyable to read. The fantasy element of the storyline was thought-provoking for me about whether there is life after death and do guardian angels really exist. As I seemed to read on more deep questions kept occurring in my brain. The fictional context overlapping into reality raised other questions at times. Some of these were answered but not all as there is a sequel book, Broken, which I look forward to reading.
A character, namely, Prince Luca (The Black Prince) is the dark angel and one who you would not wan to associate with. Ebony ironically feels like she needs to protect Jordan and Jordan feels he needs to protect Ebony. Ebony’s meeting with Thane and the angels who came to support him results in a discussion regarding Ebony’s real identity. However, at the same time, Ebony explores Thane’s relationship situation and if he is using her to complete his quest for a better life that is pre-determined by the angels in Avena. The laws of the angel world reinforce that people cannot be forced into making decisions. As such, given Ebony’s questioning of Thane’s motives and that Jordan’s support has been disclosed Ebony places herself in a vulnerable situation as earth is still Prince Luca’s hunting ground for many years to come.
I think that the plot at some times was believable but Hidden is in the genre of fantasy so it would not be so believable as it included angels but I feel Curley did explain situations well for example, Ebony’s and Jordan’s back grounds and the problems that they both faced were explained in detail as the reader would have otherwise been confused as the book swaps between the real and fantasy worlds.
The reader, at the end of Hidden, comes to shock and great sympathy is felt for Jordan. The unpredictability of the ending leaves open many pathways yet to be explored. The re-introduction of a character -Adam Skinner- who was prominent at the start of the storyline, adds further intrigue for the reader. The abrupt ending leaves the reader with so many questions that are not answered which clearly indicated to myself -the reader- that a second book was to follow Hidden. Upon exploring this, I confirmed my idea of there being a second book following. I now look forward to reading the second book ,which is the sequel to Hidden, Broken and if it is as enjoyable as Hidden I know I will enjoy it!
I would recommend this to other if they liked fantasy novels but I think a lot a teens (mostly girls) would like Hidden as it also shows our society today just mixed in with the angel world but it includes aspects of romance and violence but this is not heavily focused on. I think this book is very unique and suits the age range of twelve to fifteen. It is completely different from another fantasy novel I read called Angelfall which I found it was more depressing than this book and darker however, they both mixed society with the fantasy world just in different ways. In my opinion, I think this is not similar to other novels in the fantasy genre as not many of fantasy books do included the mix of reality and the angel world ,they seem to focus on just one mostly being the fantasy world.
My rating for this book is four out of five.