Monday 15 October 2012

Review: The Angel and the Devil by My Side

Title: The Angel and the Devil by My Side
Author: Nicole France
Publisher: Xlibris Corporation
Released: 17th April 2012
Rating: 2.5/3 out of 5 stars

Abby Mathers sees demons.  Each appearance brings with it torture and pain, not to mention the extremely confusing matter of them calling her Casey.  Taking this information to her parents makes them doubt her sanity, and even when her parents are right there they can’t see the demons, making it seem as though she is harming herself.  All of this makes her look crazy, which is exactly what the demons want.   Placed in a mental institution, Abby must figure out who Casey is and how to survive against these creatures of hell, as well as learn to come to terms with her past.

I had...very mixed feelings about this.  In some ways it was good, in others it was extremely frustrating, and I think ultimately that frustration won out.  The first thing that I really need to get out of the way before I go on is that this book needs a lot of polishing.  I’m talking punctuation, capital letters, flow.  Exactly the same mistakes were made the entire way through, and I honestly expect more of a book whether published through a known company or through the author themself.  I was kind of able to look over it, but at the same time because those errors spanned the entirety of the book it was hard to just keep on ignoring it, especially as these were the very basics of writing properly.  I know some people don’t mind it so much, and it doesn’t always affect me hugely, but I have to say it really bothered me here.
Abby…*sigh* Let’s talk about her good points first.  She is a strong character.  Undoubtedly.  She deals with a mental asylum, she fights for Casey, she shows herself to be unselfish and determined.  Despite my understanding her parents’ doubt when she talked about demons, I still really felt for her because absolutely no-one was listening.  At all.  I  couldn’t believe that both her family and the doctors thought that all the damage her body suffered  was due to her own actions – and let me tell you, she was damaged a lot, and sometimes in ways that would have been impossible to do herself.  I couldn’t stand to see the way she was begging and pleading, and how the only apparent solution to her ‘delusions’ was to pump her full of drugs.

But at the same time, she was not acting in a way that was helping her case.  No sensible person would do what she did.  You can’t try to convince someone you’re not crazy one minute and then describe a situation with demons the next.  You can’t talk about angels and avengers.  It seemed she never really learned from her mistakes.  There was also a period a lot later on where she didn’t seem to care that other people knew what was in her best interests, that they cared and that they were giving her specific instructions for a reason.  If she’d controlled herself at this time, that would have shown even more strength, not to mention sense.

The writing, too, was a mixed bag.  There were some parts that were written quite well and that had me drawn in and muttering resentfully when I had to stop reading for one reason or another.  Parts that really had me feeling Abby’s suffering and wanting to know what was going to happen next.  But it was quite jumpy and there was one part that just left me wondering where on earth it had come from because it was totally out of the blue and just seemed a bit far-fetched.  The story also seemed to drag on quite a bit and I think there were definitely areas that could have been cut to save repetition.

And that ending.  I’m all for twists, but this one really didn’t work for me.   I was literally just left sitting there, Kindle in hand, wondering what had just happened.  How could the entire book have led up to that?  In one sense it was a brilliant plot twist, but I think overall for me it didn’t work and wasn’t written particularly clearly.

Overall, this was a very frustrating read for me.  Some parts of it I really enjoyed, but I don’t know that it was enough to leave me satisfied with it overall.  I know I haven’t mentioned anything about the romance – and that’s because there isn’t any.  That’s not a bad thing in this case, though (now there’s something I never thought I’d say).  Just be prepared for some seemingly pointless comments from Abby.  I know other people have thoroughly enjoyed it, so if you’re still not sure, be sure to check out their reviews.  For me, I loved the concept, but the execution perhaps wasn’t all that great.
Thank you to the author for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.


  1. Thank you for the honest review Aa'Ishah, this sounds like a read which thoroughly confused you, it looked like you really wanted to enjoy it as well, it's a shame it didn't work out for you :(

  2. I read the title, then I saw the cover, and I thought, WOW, why haven't I come across this before?! And then I saw your rating. :P

    For something that clearly had the potential to be an original and gripping read, this sounds like a big disappointment. I'm sorry it didn't quite work for you, but thank you for the helpful review. :)

  3. Never heard of this book, but your review make it look like a must read! May have to pick it up. Thanks!

  4. Oh,I haven't heard of this until now and the premise does sound intriguing. But with the way you described Abby and how she was treated had me already frustrated. Thanks for the honest review, A. :)

  5. The concept does sounds intriguing, but it's a shame that for the most part it frustrated you. Thanks for the honest review!

  6. Thank you for your honest review, Aa'Ishah :D I know it's always a challenge to be able to review frustrating reads and point out the things that made it not so great. Still, glad that there were good things about this book too. At least your time was still spent reasonably :D

  7. Sorry this didn't work out for you Aa'Ishah. I hate that when it happens! It feels like such a waste of time, and if you're like me, I hate having to write a review because there's not much nice to say. I thought you did a great job, btw, articulating the pluses and minuses in this story. :)


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