By Tera Kinsman 

Hi, everybody! It’s YA book review time again. This week, I’m reviewing Dark Rising, the second book in Monica McGurk’s Archangel Prophecies series. (To read my review of the first book, Dark Hope, on the blog, click here.) As a thank-you, I received compensation, and two free copies of the book (one to keep and one to give away), but all opinions are my own. Shoutout to Monica McGurk for giving me the opportunity to read and share her work!

The Archangel Prophecies series by Monica McGurk

Book summary from publisher:

Can one person upend a prophecy as old as time?

Hope Carmichael is on the run. The only question is, from whom? The mark on her neck has branded her as part of an ancient prophecy, the Bearer of the Key. But the Fallen Angels have misunderstood and think Hope is their long-awaited way to regain Heaven by force. Now Hope is chasing down the artifact that could open Heaven’s Gates, while seeking to destroy it before the Fallen catch up with her. Will the Triad crime ring track Hope and exact their punishment before she gets the chance? Is the ragtag band of angels surrounding her now there to protect her, or imprison her? And will Michael, the Archangel sworn to defend Heaven at all costs, be forced to deny his love for Hope and take her life, instead, so the artifact won’t fall into enemy hands?

The epic narrative introduced in Dark Hope continues in Dark Rising as Hope crisscrosses some of the most ancient sites in Europe and plumbs the depths of history in search of the truth about the Key, herself, and love. Exploring themes of identity, fate, jealousy, trust, and forgiveness, Dark Rising’s mythological scope and moral urgency deepen as we come to understand the choices and consequences faced by a young woman determined to follow her heart and chart her own destiny.

My Summary and Thoughts:

Sometimes, the second book in a trilogy is sort of…boring? Certain Second Books That Will Remain Nameless have fallen desperately short of the first and sometimes even the third books in their series, leaving me flipping through pages, skimming the words and waiting for an exciting part. 

But Dark Rising didn’t do that. Instead, it built on the plot in Dark Hope, and added more tension and interesting plot twists that I genuinely didn’t see coming. The stakes were dramatically raised for Michael and Hope, as they stumble through Europe, searching for the Key, often with only the slightest clues to help them.  Their circumstances grow darker, but they grow closer. As they learn new, unexpected, and tragic truths about the Prophecy and themselves, Hope decides perhaps she was wrong to distance herself from Michael. But she realizes too late that she may have taken her faith from the one person she could trust, and put it in those she never could.

Mona and Don, her parents, also grow more desperate. New leads about Hope’s disappearance are not appearing often. Though Mona and Don are driven together by their shared love and grief, they are just as often pushed apart by their differing opinions on Hope’s disappearance. Mona still holds on to the logical explanation that Hope was taken by the human traffickers that lurk in high numbers in Atlanta, while Don insists that Hope is part of a higher plan, set apart to fulfill an amazing destiny given to her by God. 

By the end of the book, Hope feels even more alone than she did at the end of Dark Hope. Both her and Mona have experienced terrible loss and sadness. Their world, and the outside world around them, has dissolved into sadness and chaos. But neither have lost hope that the happiness – and perhaps the people – they have lost will return to them.

The book ends on kind of a sad note and cliffhanger, but the sneak peek of the third book, Dark Before Dawn (coming out in 2016), gave me hope (I feel like that’s a pun every time I write it…) for Michael, Hope, and her family.

As with Dark Hope, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of these books will be donated to organizations that help fight human trafficking, especially sexual trafficking of minors. 

Giveaway time! Because free stuff is the best stuff.  Below, you can enter to win a copy of Dark Rising.

Dark Rising by Monica McGurk

Terms: No purchase is necessary to enter using the Rafflecopter form below.  Open to U.S. residents sixteen (16) years old or older. My WAHM Plan is responsible for prize fulfillment. The prize will be one (1) paperback copy of Dark Rising by Monica McGurk. Winners will be notified by email used on entry form and have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen.  This giveaway is not associated with nor endorsed by Facebook, Twitter, or any other social channel. 

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Comments! In the Archangel Prophecies books, Hope Carmichael is in love with an Archangel. So, what non-human would you be willing to date? Alien, angel, vampire, werewolf? Maybe those trolls, amirite, ladies? Or are you a humans-only sort of person? Let me know in the comments below! 

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