Angels Take Wing
We’re being told it’s the next publishing craze: Angels are set to replace vampires as objects of desire for young readers.
Authors and film-makers are rushing to bring out books and movies starring these fantasy beings to cash in on the latest Stateside-originating craze.
Many of the winged protagonists have a darker side that publishers hope will tap into the booming supernatural genre, which Stephenie Meyer tackled with the Twilight series. Booksellers are reporting strong interest in many of the new fallen angels titles. WH Smith has tipped angels to be a “strong trend” for it next year, while Waterstone’s said that fallen angels – so called because they have had their wings clipped for being bad and then they fall to earth – had “struck a chord” with its children’s buying team.
The angels appear as normal angels but are a bit like vampires. Instead of sucking blood they suck human life force, which they need to survive.
Cindy Hwang, executive editor at Berkley Books, said: “Angels appeal because they are larger than life, more beautiful, sexier and more sensual. If someone can tame such a powerful being and get them to fall in love with them, that’s very seductive.”
Analysts expect the new paranormal love interest to buoy the young adult publishing category, which has seen sales rocket this year on the back of demand for vampire titles.
There are several Fallen Angel movies in the pipeline. Disney has picked up the rights to Fallen, which is the first in a four-part series, and Will Smith is working on an adaptation of Danielle Trussoni’s Angelology for Sony Pictures Entertainment.
Rose Fox, fantasy reviews editor at the trade magazine Publishers Weekly, said: “If these stories are particularly compelling at the moment, perhaps it’s because the world is full of questions and fears right now. Readers who blame themselves for their misfortune may find comfort in stories of angels who broke rules or failed at tasks and are given second chances. Readers struggling with uncertainty may enjoy the idea of a cosmic plan.”
That uncertainty has also rekindled interest in more traditional angel books, featuring guardian angels rather than fallen ones. The most popular is Lorna Byrne’s Angels in My Hair, which has sold about 60,000 copies. Judith Kendra, publishing director at Rider, said: “These are usually stories of great comfort that touch on all of our feelings of vulnerability now that we all live very individual lives away from our family. People like to feel there is somebody or something watching out for them and trying to help.”
Legion, in which God takes his revenge via an army of angels sent to wipe the world clean of humanity, arrives in cinemas on 5 March.
An Angel Healed my Heart was released earlier this month, is her collection of “true” stories about encounters with angels.
Covet is a bestseller in which good and evil fight for supremacy in the ultimate endgame. Fallen has a classic love triangle featuring Luce Price, an alienated girl at a reform school, who is torn between two young men, unaware that they are fallen angels. Angel’s Blood has a vampire hunter tracking an archangel gone bad. The Unfinished Angel has a flawed angel befriending a young girl in a Swiss Alpine village. Hush, Hush has a girl unwittingly giving her heart to a fallen angel, who has a dark agenda to get his wings back. Angels in my Hair is an autobiography about a modern mystic who grew up “seeing angels” such as the Archangel Michael and the prophet Elijah.
But isn’t the craze just about something else? Angels allow teenage girls to fantasise about the perfect male without having to worry about anything real, like the complications of sex, underage pregnancy or engagement with genuine relationship issues. Are they harmless fantasy novels, or an encouragement to an infantilised mindset and a lack of connection to modern society?
I may be reading too much into this, but it seems that after years of learning to empower themselves, it’s now OK for girls to become late starters and spend all their time mooning over fetishised manhood…