On a Dark Wing by Jordan Dane is the story of 15-year old Abbey Chandler, a teenage girl with a dark secret—five years ago, she and her mother were in a fatal car accident on a dark Alaskan highway. Abbey should’ve been the one who died that day, but her mother selflessly took her place, and now Abbey lives with the guilt of knowing her mother is gone and it’s all her fault. Worse still, the close encounter has left her marked by Death, and he haunts her constantly in his quest for her love. She’s not the only one in danger, either—Death even goes so far as to endanger the life of Abbey’s crush, Nate Holden, in order to get closer to her.
Sounds like an epic modern story of Hades and Persephone doesn’t it? Not quite.
This book has an amateur feel to it—it reads like a fanfiction. Although the pivotal car accident is described in the first five pages, by page 100 the conflict still hasn’t materialized. In fact, much of this book seems like filler—just random, uninteresting tidbits of Abbey’s clichéd teenage life. She fantasizes about a popular jock who she’s never spoken to and even—this is disturbing territory, here—has a name for the fantasy world (“Nateworld”) that she retreats into with alarming frequency. At one point in the novel, Abbey turns on her iPod, which is full of songs that express her feelings about Nate, imagines him kissing and holding her, and then falls to sleep dreaming of him. Before that, she has her friend look up the radio frequency of the Alaskan expedition teams so they can stalk Nate via radio while he’s mountain climbing. I understand crushes, but this is not normal or admirable teenage behavior.
Furthermore, Abbey’s voice is simply not authentic; the narrative is awkward and seems to be trying a bit too hard. For example:
“I had to navigate the crowded halls like a salmon swimming upstream to get my rocks off on some eggs.”
“My life was a major suckfest, for real.”
“On my suck-odometer, chores ranked in the red zone as something seriously wrong and unnatural, like anchovies on pizza.”
I can hear the sound of millions of teenagers covering their ears and shrieking at the wrongness of it all.
Finally, the book is written from too many perspectives, with various voices chiming in at random. We hear from Abbey, Nate, Abbey’s best friend Tanner, Nate’s mom, Nate’s dad . . . but only Abbey is written in first person POV, making the transition from scene to scene awkward and confusing.
Riddled with clichés, awkward dialogue, bland characters, and a romance that made my eyes roll into the back of my head, On a Dark Wing is not recommended.
Sydnee is a freshman at Wayne State University pursuing a degree in Journalism. She is obsessed with hunky heroes, explosions, melodrama, and magic—all things that make a frequent appearance in her stories. Her blog is http://syd-dreams.blogspot.com. Find her on Figment at http://figment.com/users/62-Sydnee-Thompson.