Anna's Angels

Anna’s fear of flying has her and two friends making the trip on the maiden voyage of the Sunset Limited train instead, from her hometown of New Orleans to Orlando when her job requires her to travel. Unbeknownst to Anna, a celestial battle is waging, as the angel Andri-el strives to protect her from harm, while the demon Lu-seth tries to cause her harm. This battle goes so far as to become partly responsible for the outcome of the fateful train trip, as the three friends struggle to survive physical calamity.

Critic Evaluation

Cover Design Score: 6

I liked the cover; If I had seen it on a bookseller's table, I don't know if it would have intrigued me enough to pick it up. It looked like a story about a blonde girl at the beach who takes a train ride (although once I got into the story, the cover made perfect sense).

Book Blurb Score: 6

The Author's Note and Synopsis could be improved, just tightened up a bit. When I chose this book to review, I was hesitant--but it's a great story and it would have been my loss to skip it!

Formatting Score: 4

Unfortunately, Formatting, Grammar and Spelling are where this compelling story faltered a bit. Perhaps the formatting failed when it was uploaded--there are a number of occasions when the indenting is wrong and the spacing between chapters is inconsistent. Be sure to change paragraphs with every new speaker or actor in a scene,

Grammar & Spelling Score: 4

There are many occasions where commas are used incorrectly--too frequently or not enough. Be sure to use a comma before addressing a person's name. There are spelling errors--pay attention to words that appear underlined in red (Microsoft Word helps out with spelling and grammar, although there are also some words that are wrongly used such as load when you mean to say loud (p.5)). The use of dialect was fine; of course, that will all appear underlined in red, but don't worry about it! I would suggest using italics for words with foreign origins, such as etoufee (sorry, I can't use the accents in this box!). Watch out for homophones. Loose is often used for lose and peak when you mean peek. Other pairs to watch for are it's/its.  

Plot & Structure Score: 8

I thought the conflict was clearly portrayed, moving the storyline forward. Character actions and events were mostly organic and seemed natural, although I felt uncomfortable when Matt was thinking about winning Anna's affections while she was lying broken in the hospital. I thought Anna changed from disliking to liking/loving Matt pretty abruptly, but that could be explained by loneliness or boredom, I suppose.

Character Development Score: 8

The characters were sufficiently developed to keep my interest. At first I wasn't sure about male/female angels, but it was handled well. Seeing Andri-el's hair described as "bushy," though, felt like it sullied my mental image of her. Perhaps long, "flowing", "shimmering," or "glorious" hair would have been better. "Bushy" sounds messy, and not in a good way.

Originality Score: 10

I found the story most compelling. I was so interested in the way the catastrophic events were woven together, I looked them up to see what really happened. (I also found out what you meant by the train hitting the bridge support. Perhaps if you referred to the bridge railing moving out of alignment it would have been easier to picture). Often in dark vs. light stories, dark seems more powerful, but it isn't, and I am glad this book portrayed light as having the power of God upholding it.

Pacing Score: 9

The pacing was generally good, although the dialogue on the barge was almost too much, with Dex going back and forth in the midst of what turned out to be a major disaster. Dialect slows pacing, in my opinion. A little goes a long way.

Use of Language Score: 6

The use of language was pretty good, although "delicious" was used in too many uncommon areas, at least to my northern ears. Also, how can one have a "friendly tirade" (p.9)? Tirade wasn't the best word choice. 

Overall Readability Score: 7

I liked this book a lot. If the grammar, spelling and formatting are addressed, I would recommend it, but if I had spent money to purchase it, I would have wondered what happened to the copy editor. A story like this--that glorifies God and gives a reason for some situations while recognizing that we won't see the reasons for everything this side of glory--needs to be told.. I encourage you to hire a copy editor or a fresh set of eyes and resubmit it. You wove together some very dramatic situations in a powerful way.

PS. I was a little confused by the whole "Chosen Princess" reference, but I see that is addressed in the sequel. I'm not sure how I feel about that, but the story came to a satisfying conclusion.

Thank you for submitting your book to Storyteller Alley. Unfortunately, I am not recommending it to our genre curator because I believe it needs to be corrected for grammar, spelling, and formatting. 
Should the book undergo revisions or if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

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