Title: The Gifted One
Author: Jacob Z. Flores
Cover artist: Reese Dante
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Amazon: Buy Link The Gifted One
Genre: fantasy/ mm romance
Length: 350 pages
Rating: 3.25 stars out of 5
A guest review by Sirius
Summary: Archangels, fallen angels and a Gifted One—oh my. Unfortunately, while I loved the idea, I thought the execution of the story could have been better.
As his birthday approaches, Matthew Westlake fears more than just growing a year older. He fears never seeing another year at all. Each birthday brings a close call with death, leaving holes in his memory, recurring nightmares, and one more glimpse of his guardian angel. This birthday Matt must stand against ancient evils that have hounded him since birth, because he is a Gifted One—a seventh son of a seventh son.
Within Matt rests the unlocked potential of a force for good, but it also makes him a target. Being the Gifted One and dodging demonic attacks aren’t Matt’s only problems, though. He’s fallen in love with his protector, the Archangel Gabriel, and Heaven will condemn that love to save Matt’s soul. But Heaven doesn’t count on Gabriel loving Matt in return, defying divine law and placing them in danger from demons and angels alike.
I love stories which feature angels and demons, but I try not to read many of those with the same theme in a row, so I have not read many of them lately and was happy to try this theme again. Here we have somebody very special and very important to humanity fall in love with archangel Gabriel of all beings. I thought the plot of the story was for the most part fast moving and pretty entertaining , what with all murder attempts Matt faces and survives with Gabriel’s help.
I liked the religious setting for the story, which takes roots in Judeo Christian tradition, but definitely undergoes some very nice and enjoyable tweaking and even twisting in my opinion. I liked that the story does not portray the original fallen angels as very sympathetic beings. Do not get me wrong – I have read and enjoyed a lot of romances where we have one or another fallen angel, who did it all for love and who is often more sympathetic than the Heaven that cast him out. It was just nice to read something different for a change. I mean, maybe different in some ways and similar to others, but it was still refreshing to me.
Unfortunately the language in which the story was told was often way too flowery for my taste.
“Matt looked up and smiled into his gorgeous blue eyes. Whenever he stared into them, he wanted to lose himself completely in their rich, luscious pools”.
“Matt placed his head on______ (name hidden for spoiler reason) chest, still covered in his black uniform and gazed up into his green eyes. Like two emerald fields, they beckoned him for a stroll, but something prevented him”.
I was not very impressed with the characterizations either. I mean, obviously a story that features angels of the highest order, a story that features God (yes, it does, more than once) will have some pretty amazing beings – like beings which are so close to perfection as they possibly could be (unless they commit something sinful of course). They all were larger than life characters, I expected that and I do not fault the story for that.
But this story also has human characters and while I understand that Matt is in a sense a “Chosen One”, I still thought he was too perfect and could not help but want to see more of his “down to earth” imperfections. He was a little boring to me to read about, and so was the other important human character, whose name I won’t reveal, because his actions constitute pretty big spoiler.
I think Matt’s best friends Dee and Shane were meant to be examples of real flawed human beings in the story and I did like them, but they were not enough for me. I wanted more depth and a little less perfection in other humans as well.
I see that the story also characterized as BDSM/kink and I am not sure why at all, to be honest. I mean, I guess there is a light dominance/submission game in bed sometimes, but I think you can miss it if you are not looking for it. At least now I am wondering what did I miss besides that.
Recommended if you are a fan of the author.