Ange'el Series by Jamie Le Fay
She loves Austen as much as she loves R. R. Martin. She reads young adult fiction, fantasy, and dystopia to feed her idealism, sense of wonder, and need for adventure. She dances on the fault line between deep intellectual curiosity and the colourful, but shallow world of pop culture.
She rejects Twilight and Shades of Grey, expecting the world to elevate women beyond passive, submissive puppets of the man monster that is waiting to be redeemed through their sacrifice. She dreams of her hero, a hero who stands beside her as she saves herself, a 21st-century upgrade to Darcy and Aragorn.
She yearns for narratives that express the fifty shades of womanhood and manhood and humanity and leadership and love, tales that redefine and refresh these concepts, elevating them to a new world order where gender, race, and sexual orientation no longer limit the arc of the character. Stories that feed her artistic, geeky, quirky, bookish mind with inspiring ideas that challenge the status quo.
She loves art and architecture and unique beauty. She escapes the daily grind with a trip to the Met, the MoMA, or the Louvre. She gets lost in the images and handwriting in Frida Kahlo’s diary.
She wonders what would happen if Jane Austen, Arthur C. Clarke and Margaret Atwood joined forces to write a novel that would, one day, be adapted to become a Marvel Studios film. A layered blockbuster that at first glance is fun and light an action-packed and mainstream, but as you travel down the rabbit hole, you discover the nuggets of meaning in a narrative that dissects humanity, challenging and celebrating our journey toward the singularity.
She is a dreamer and a scientist and a hopeless romantic and an adventurer and a trailblazer and a change maker. She is no longer a girl, but the girl inside her informs her womanhood. She will never become a worn-out middle-aged zombie. She will never settle comfortably into privilege and power.
She looks at all labels with a critical eye, the ones in jars and the ones that attempt to place humans in neatly packaged boxes, boxes that come with a set of instructions that are propagated by society, media, and old fairy tales. She rejects your stereotypes, society’s need to place her in a specific genre in a fine-grain categorised online bookstore, and yet she is not alone.
They are not alone; they are the largest and most powerful band of consumers of the 21st century. Perhaps it is time to acknowledge, respect them, and respond to their needs?
Jamie Le Fay is the author of Ange’el, her debut novel. She was born in Europe and spent her early adult years traveling around the world working in information technology before she left the corporate world to focus on her passion: empowering women and girls. Jamie lives in Sydney, Australia where she is involved in a variety of initiatives that hope to contribute to the safety, wellbeing and education of girls globally. Jamie is an accomplished writer and speaker that focuses mainly on topics related to girlhood, feminism, gender equality, and the misrepresentation of minorities in media and marketing.
Morgan arrives in New York, where she is speaking about her Hope Foundation at several high-profile events. When she finds out that her life is at risk, she is not sure whom to trust—disoriented by an intense attraction to a very charming and controlling Gabriel, she attempts to regain control of her life only to find herself in the middle of a war between different factions of an ancient civilisation. The people of Ahe’ey hold the key to the future of humankind within their genes. To unlock it, Morgan and Gabriel need to help them move beyond the medieval rules that are holding them back. The price of failure may be the end of the world.
"Packed with invigorating ideas and prose, Le Fay’s novel is a nuanced exploration of feminism and its potential—for good or ill. A finely grained achievement that challenges the status quo on all fronts. " - Kirkus Reviews
"In this debut romantic fantasy, a young woman learns that her nearly perfect lover is from an ancient, scientifically advanced civilization.
Morgan, CEO and founder of the Hope Foundation, has just arrived in New York City. She’s there to begin her circuit of speaking engagements that address girls’ empowerment around the world. While in NYC, she’s escorted by the sublimely charming Gabriel, who seems able to anticipate her every desire. Later, at a garden party, militant men’s rights proponents attack Morgan, and Gabriel fights them off. When Morgan learns that he works for the CIA and was assigned to protect her, she’s furious. She insists on speaking in Central Park in spite of the danger. After Morgan’s speech goes perfectly, she and Gabriel deepen their romantic entanglement. Quickly, however, she finds reasons to cut ties with her hero; when Gabriel is injured during another attempt on Morgan’s life, they both end up at the safe haven Ahe’ey—an ancient island nation populated by four genetically advanced tribes: the Ange’el, the Yi’ingo, the Ma’asai and the Hu’urei. Morgan meets Gabriel’s extended Ange’el family, who rule the matriarchal society. As an outsider to the Ange’el royals, how can Morgan hope to fulfill the dreams she shares with the deepest love she’s ever known? Though Ahe’ey initially feels like a utopia, the extreme view that no men should wield power—held by the characters Sky and Amalia—isn’t lost on Morgan as she fights for her and Gabriel’s love. Gabriel himself isn’t just a prize, but a profoundly thoughtful partner; he believes that men will one day realize that “the pursuit of perfection is a curse.” And Le Fay isn’t a preacher with a one-track mind; fascinating ideas such as that the cosmos was “a single and dynamic organism that shared common energy and information with all its beings,” bolster her main concept. Packed with invigorating ideas and prose, Le Fay’s novel is a nuanced exploration of feminism and its potential—for good or ill.
A finely grained achievement that challenges the status quo on all fronts. " - Kirkus Reviews
It's difficult to neatly 'peg' Ange'el, because it doesn't fit easily into any genre. Define it as 'romance', 'young adult', or 'fantasy' as you will … then break those defining walls; because Ange'el is so much more than any singular genre limitation.
Yes, it is a romantic story: but Ange'el will equally appeal to non-romance-novel readers because of its swift action and fantasy.
Yes, it also features fantasy and magic … but that doesn't mean its audience need be your usual sci fi/fantasy genre fans, because the underlying setting and romance move beyond standard plot and definition to incorporate many other elements of intrigue and adventure.
And to limit its audience to mature young adult readers would be doing adults a disservice: Ange'el will appeal to all these groups!
Morgan's arrival in New York as a speaker for her beloved Hope Foundation brings her into contact with both a handsome control freak (Gabriel) and a series of events that lead her to believe her life is in danger.
Ah - so it's a mystery/romance, right? Wrong; in that mystery is only one of the elements employed to lend strength and diversity to Ange'el, and the romance is a side dish to the story, not the main event.
So what is the main event? That's for Morgan (and the reader) to discover as a straightforward business trip turns into a mission involving her in a war between two ancient cultures and an impossible magic that she's believed in all of her life.
There are awakenings and revelations, there are warnings and dragons and heroes, and there are protagonist insights into the source of her strength and motivations and the wider connections involved: "Morgan felt sadness as she understood that Amalia’s and Sky’s powers came from anger, rage, hate, and disillusion. This was not the empowerment she sought for women and girls, and yet this story was not so different from many other stories in her own world. Is anger the only route for women’s empowerment? she wondered."
It is these tidbits of insight that elevate Ange'el from a simple genre read, adding inspirational insights for readers and creating a quest whereby other entities challenge perception, history, and motivation: "What reform should I expect? Where and when is my voice going to be heard? Is Sky going to listen to my people? The people she hates and despises with every single cell in her body? Is the Ange’el prince ever going to fight for us when he could not be bothered to fight for his people at a time when Sathian’s men and the dragons ravaged our land? What reform should I expect?”
The question revolves not around what kind of heroine Morgan will become; but where Morgan's place will be, in such a world. And Gabriel? Without spilling beans, suffice it to say that he, too, is much more than he initially appears - and his evolution will also change not just her life, but the world.
So if it's cross-genre reading you seek, with vivid protagonists and unexpected involvements, then Ange’el is the item of choice, recommended for its fast-paced action, super-charged fantasy, and memorable protagonists.
Review by Diane Donovan for Midwest Book Review