Ange'el Series by Jamie Le Fay
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