I met Leah Clifford in Michigan for the release of Angelfire. She introduced herself and handed me a stack of signed bookmarks and stickers for my swag bin… which I promptly dropped all over the floor. Because. I. Am. Awesome. A few weeks later I read her debut novel, A Touch Mortal. I’m currently sitting here trying to tell you about this book, and the only thing I can say is I’m pretty sure I loved it, but you’ll have to ask me again in six months, because I think it will take me that long to process the whole thing.
A Touch Mortal is one of the strangest books I have ever read that I have not hated and put down. I went into this knowing very little about the plot other than it is “very dark” and about fallen angels. Ok, I’ll bite… how is it about fallen angels? Well, it is, and it isn’t. It’s actually about this very intriguing side of the afterlife for people who have committed suicide, or “Siders”, as Clifford calls them. And this ability they have called “Touch”. And about one very compelling character, Eden, and the reason she committed suicide; Az.
I don’t want to tell you a whole lot about this book. That will completely ruin it for you readers who want a surprise… and, trust me, you’ll be surprised. Clifford has concocted an entire world of “what the hell?!” that has virtually little explanation behind it. That’s actually part of the factor that confuses me. Most writers spend the first book world building, explaining mythos, and setting up subsequent sequels for plot based character interactions. Clifford has structured this story so the reader has very little to go on but the ride is so intriguing you can’t not read it. I feel like many of my questions will be cleared up in a sequel, which would resolve the book being a crappy “middle read” of a series. It’s actually a very brilliant way of handling it – always keeping the reader wanting more. I want more and I feel like I haven’t had enough and that is always where a writer should leave the reader.
I know I am going to have to reread this. I’m telling myself this now – reread this book when the sequels come out. It’s a very hard book to wrap your brain around. However, I can’t fault it. It’s a darkly compelling novel that will intrigue anyone who loves Urban Fantasy and Young adult. It’s complex and subtle, but in-your-face in tandem. It has the potential to be one of my favourite books this year. I just have to wait for it to stop eating my brain and actually filter it. I’m kind of stunned by this. It’s very rare that I am at a total loss as to how I feel for a book.
It’s not a 4. It’s not a 5. I don’t know what it is. I’m resting on a 5 of 5 stars, but I’m going to have to revisit this one in six months. It’s just that bizarre.
– Follow the Reader –