Tuesday, January 16, 2018

You Don't Know My Name & You Won't Know I'm Gone (The Black Angel Chronicles #1-2) by Kristen Orlando

Synopsis (via Goodreads): Fighter. Faker. Student. Spy.

Seventeen-year-old Reagan Elizabeth Hillis is used to changing identities overnight, lying to every friend she’s ever had, and pushing away anyone who gets too close. Trained in mortal combat and weaponry her entire life, Reagan is expected to follow in her parents’ footsteps and join the ranks of the most powerful top-secret agency in the world, the Black Angels. Falling in love with the boy next door was never
part of the plan. Now Reagan must decide: Will she use her incredible talents and lead the dangerous life she was born into, or throw it all away to follow her heart and embrace the normal life she’s always wanted? And does she even have a choice? 
"Like that's what love really is; that back and forth, give and take. She says one thing. He says another. She laughs. He touches her arm. If you're lucky, it's in those simple moments you find complete happiness. And that's how you want to spend the rest of your life. Forever in the middle of a conversation with the person you never, ever get tired of talking to."
This was a lot darker than I was expecting. I knew it was going to be about spies and espionage, secret agencies and double lives, but I wasn't thinking about the unpleasant aspects. That's my fault, honestly. I should have known it wouldn't be a romantic, happy and carefree story. The romance is subtle, but I wish it had been nonexistent. Their relationship just wasn't something I could get behind wholeheartedly. It never clicked for me.

As for the unpleasant aspects, the author doesn't explicitly mention the gory details, but she skillfully nudges the mind in a specific direction. She encourages certain thoughts, and those played out very vividly in my mind. 

I get that Reagan was paranoid and anxious, she had every reason to be, but she should have shared her concerns with someone. She endangered herself and everyone around her because she didn't want to look crazy. I also didn't like how much hatred she directed at herself. She always wanted to take all of the responsibility and make it her own, and then she would drown in her emotions. I wanted her to handle things a little differently, but alas... 

You Don't Know My Name captured my attention and held it. I have a few issues with the main character, her self-loathing being one of them, but they are all qualities she can grow and learn from. 


Warning: potential spoilers if you have not read the first book.

Synopsis (via Goodreads): Going rogue in an effort to rescue her kidnapped parents has cost Reagan Hillis her automatic ticket to the Training Academy. But becoming a Black Angel is the only way Reagan will be able to exact revenge on her mother’s merciless killer, Santino Torres.

When Reagan is given a chance to prove that she’s worthy of training to be a Black Angel, she also gets the first chance she’s ever had to be her true self. No aliases. No disguises.

But when her friend Luke joins her at the Black Angels training compound, Reagan finds herself once again torn between the person she was and the person she wants to be. Reagan has to prove that she's as good as her parents trained her to be, because she’ll never find Torres without the Black Angels’ help. 


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I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Luke is so frustratingly loyal and it always bites him in the ass. Raegan wonders whether or not she is selfish (she is), and Luke is unflinching in his devotion/friendship/love for her no matter the cost to himself. I honestly don't think she deserves even half of him. After what happened in Columbia, and once Luke saw how consumed she was with vengeance, he should have started doing more for himself. There was no going back, but he could have done things differently going forward. He could've been her friend and loved her from a distance.

I don't know what I would have done in Raegan's situation, but I can see how her thoughts and actions affected the people she cared about. She started to really lose herself in this book. She didn't know who she was, what she really wanted, or how to go forward. It was like she was stuck in a loop.

*highlight to view spoiler» I don't think Torres is working alone. I think someone within the Black Angels is helping him and feeding him information. It's the only thing that explains how he knew so much about things before they happened. I also think that's why Raegan going rogue allowed her to literally catch him with his pants down.

I really enjoyed the setting for this book. We also meet a few of the other trainees, which are mostly Legacies (children of Black Angel operatives), and I wish they had been expanded on a little more. They had childhoods very similar to Raegan, so I'm sure they had interesting stories to tell. 

12 comments:

  1. These books sound so good! After reading this review I need them in my hands ASAP. Thanks for putting them on my radar.

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    1. They're really engaging for the most part! There's a lot of action and sleuthing, I just had a few issues with it overall. After reading the first book, I really wanted to read the second, but I don't feel as compelled to read the third.

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  2. Hmmm, why even add romance if it’s not buyable? I love action books like this but hate when the author feels the need to add romance.

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    1. The romance might appeal to some, but it just didn't work for me. I thought they would have been much better as friends (like her and Cam). I hated how much of himself he constantly gave to her.

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  3. I read the first book but wasn't blown away enough to continue. I guess that's good because the second book sounds frustrating.

    For What It's Worth

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    1. It was extremely frustrating at times. I wanted her to grow and move forward, but she seemed stuck for the majority of the book. She's either burning up on the inside, or completely numb.

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  4. I've never heard of these books before but they sound really interesting! I can understand how the romance could detract from the story, though. I tend to be easily put off by romance plots in YA novels, so I don't think I would have enjoyed that, either. Thanks for the lovely review, though!
    claire @ clairefy

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    1. Thank you! I really enjoyed the relationship between Raegan and Luke in the beginning. They were such good friends, and I actually think I might have liked this more had they been siblings (no attraction or potential love interest). Just a few tweaks to the story and it could work!

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  5. These sound like very interesting reads and I know I've seen them around. Romance in YA books tends to drive me crazy but the other aspects do sound good. Great reviews.

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    1. I like a little romance in all of my books, lol! I just don't like love triangles, or when one of the people involved is continuously taken advantage of.

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  6. Sounds fun, I like the sound of the Black Angel operatives. sounds like Reagan can be a little rough around the edges, and poor Luke. Maybe she'll grow and be more likable in the next one. It is tough when the MC is selfish and/ or makes bad decisions like that...

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    1. I have a hard time with a book when I stop being able to relate to the main character. It's also hard when they repeatedly make the same bad decisions. The concept is wonderful, the spy aspect is interesting, I just wanted a little more from Raegan. I am curious what will happen next, but I don't know if I will continue this or not.

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