The Second Sign (The Second Sign #1) by Elizabeth Arroyo
Publication Date: February 2013
Genres: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Bred to believe in the war between angels and demons, Gabby has come to the conclusion that love is responsible for war, jealousy, and all the other deadly sins she can think of. So when she’s exiled to the middle of nowhere for getting kicked out of her fifth school for fighting, she doesn’t expect to meet Jake. Much less fall in love. But Jake is quickly drawn to the eerie beauty of her violet eyes while Gabby is unsettled by their undeniable connection.
When a demon guardian comes to collect her soul, she refuses to give it up. She’s not a demon. She can’t be. Her father and twin brother are angels. The demon gives Gabby twenty-four hours to decide her allegiance, and then starts killing her short list of friends, leaving a message behind: She is the Second Sign.
As Gabby and Jake begin to unravel the mystery behind the Second Sign, she learns Jake may be the key to saving her soul. But it means a sacrifice has to be made that will change their lives forever. (from Goodreads)
Arroyo has written a wildly imaginative fantasy that immediately immerses you into a world where angels and demons inhabit the earth, hidden among humans, fighting behind the scenes in the classic battle of good versus evil. The plot is twisty and provocative with some intense, dark moments and a level of violence that make this an edgy YA series.
There are so many aspects of this novel that made it an enjoyable and absorbing reading experience. First of all the main cast of characters, Gabby, Max, Jake, Mir, and Pat are richly developed, complex characters with their fair share of flaws that make it hard to peg them as simply good or bad. Throughout the story, these characters continually challenge any assumptions I may try to make about them. Their motivations, thoughts, and behavior aren’t always predictable, and my feelings about them often fluctuated as their personalities emerged and their back stories and secrets are revealed.
As the protagonist, Gabby epitomizes the feelings many people have at various times in their lives, especially during the teenage years: frustration and disappointment that she can never measure up to her twin brother, Max, and a deep yearning to be understood and accepted. As the children of an angel and a human, both Gabby and Max have gradually developed their own supernatural powers that make it hard for them to fully fit in with their peers.
Gabby, with her violet eyes and reluctance to touch others, feels like a “freak.” Her brother Max has been given his wings and has already begun fulfilling his angelic duties. Max’s angel powers elevate his compassion and ability to soothe others. In contrast, Gabby is a loner, quick-tempered, prone to violence, and, overall, not well-liked or accepted among her classmates. She often compares herself to Max and wonders, deep down, if she isn’t inherently just a bad person who will never be worth of angel status.
However, her perception of herself and humanity in general begins to shift after she meets Jake, who takes one look at her and is mesmerized.
Afraid of being rejected, Gabby tries her hardest to keep Jake at a distance, but he refuses to be deterred in his quest to get to know her. Right from the start, the attraction and connection between them is so fervent even they don’t fully understand its potency. As Jake and Gabby grow closer, Jake becomes Gabby’s light, drawing her out of her darkness, making her question who she can be, who she wants to be.
Unfortunately, fate has other plans for Gabby and Jake, and no matter how hard they try, their romance just isn’t meant to be. The secrets they keep from each other only worsen their situation, and it’s heartbreaking to watch their relationship begin to unravel.
The story is told from both Gabby’s and Jake’s alternating POVs, and while this is wonderful in helping me to connect with their characters because I can understand and empathize with their thoughts, fears, insecurities, and even the torment that threatens to destroy them, it also left me just as much in the dark as they are about the major events to come. The clues are cryptic and the foreshadowing is so subtle that, at times, I had no idea what was going to happen next.
I never really felt lost as I was reading; I just questioned how much I really understood about the overall scheme of the plot in its broadest context. I was often just as surprised as Gabby and Jake as they discover the roles they have been destined to play and become pawns to be manipulated by both angels and demons. Just when I get answers about one mysterious aspect of the storyline, another mystery surfaces and I’m constantly trying to piece the puzzle together even at the end. I don’t always know who can be trusted and just how far Gabby and Jake will go to protect each other. Needless to say, this was anything but a mindless read.
The ending was unsettling for me because so many questions are left unanswered, but that is okay since the series is just beginning. Arroyo does a great job in delving into themes of free will and destiny as well as the power of love and sacrifice.
I received an ARC of The Second Sign from the author via Xpresso Book Tours to provide an honest review.
Elizabeth spent most of her younger years as an avid reader with a wild imagination which led her to write her first manuscript at the age of fourteen. Her fascination with the paranormal was influenced by the vivid ghost and demon stories her father told her as a child, scaring the crap out of her. It also led her to ask the “what if” question that propelled her down the path of the fantastical.
But, life got in the way. Elizabeth completed a Bachelors degree in Psychology with a minor in Criminal Justice at Northeastern Illinois University and works in the community strengthening families. Her love of stories held, and in 2008 she found herself back into her storytelling roots and began writing again. Since then she’s published a short story in SQ Magazine, countless musings on her blog – Chandara Writes, and completed three manuscripts.
In 2012, Elizabeth signed with Sapphire Star Publishing to release her debut novel, THE SECOND SIGN, a Dark YA Paranormal Romance, slated for an early 2013 release.
Elizabeth resides in Chicago with her family, a household of kids, and the bliss of chaos. The good kind. (from Goodreads profile)
Click on the book cover to purchase these books on Amazon
The Second Sign
The Second Shadow (The Second Sign #2)