No Angel by Samantha Summers, published September 2018
When a group of teenage assassins waged a war against the clandestine government branch that created them, their freedom came at a price. Not all of them made it. One never wanted to. This is the story of Gabriel, a boy whose angelic good looks hide a monster within. It’s the story of how he came to be there on the fateful night he sacrificed everything to save his unit. It’s the story of a moment in time, when he saw there was more to life than the death that had followed him his entire existence.
'No Angel' is a Project Five Fifteen novella. I was lucky enough to receive a copy from the author and I'm thrilled to say that I absolutely loved it! Project Five Fifteen is one of my favourite series and I'm so glad that Samantha Summers has taken another step into that world because I have been desperately wanting to see more of the characters.
The focus this time around is on Gabriel and Zach, who originally featured in the series containing 'First Light', 'As You Were' and 'Becoming'. The story shows them trying to survive on their own (prior to their later reunion). Zach wants to find a small beach town and finally settle down to a real life but Gabriel is struggling to adjust to normal life and finds oblivion in bar fights and one night stands. Anything where he can forget, if even for a short time, the things they were forced to do. Their lives are made up of this pattern, until Gabriel meets Lo. The first girl to see beyond the mask he always wears.
Gabriel was a really interesting character. He thinks he's incapable of feeling love but he protects Zach and would give his life for him. Although he has his faults, he cares about the people that matter to him and he's more selfless than he realises. I enjoyed getting to find out more about him and Zach and how they operate as a team. Survival is their number one concern but Gabriel's feelings for Lo certainly shake things up. The growing romantic relationship between Gabriel and Lo was one that I enjoyed seeing unfold over the course of the book. On the surface, they may have initially seemed like an unlikely couple but they provide some much needed balance for each other and a level of mutual trust and support that I don't think either of them has ever really had before.
The character perspective alternates between Gabriel and Zach, as we see the latter secretly meeting with a therapist. Zach is such a sweetie and is always trying to keep Gabriel on the right track. I definitely thought that he deserved the normal life he craved in the book, although he has his own demons to confront.
After reading 'No Angel', I got all nostalgic and dug my copies of the original trilogy off my shelves, ready for a re-read sometime soon. I'm a massive Samantha Summers fan and would beg you to read her books if you haven't discovered them yet. This was a fabulous addition to the series and I'm hoping (with all my body parts crossed!) that there might be more to come in the future.