Penitence (Heavenly #2) by Jennifer Laurens
Publisher: Grove Creek Publishing
Released: April 29th 2010
My Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Seeing good and evil spirits is a gift Zoe guards with her life. Despite her guardian angel's disappearance, Zoe forces herself to accept that she still has a purpose-but how does she carry the weight of her brother's drug abuse, the hardship of living with an autistic sister, and a best friend who's obsessed with a guy who only wants Zoe? She's never felt more alone. When a mysterious spirit appears, Zoe thinks she has a new guardian angel. Instead, her brother's addiction worsens, her parents are on the brink of separation, and her best friend tries to kill her. The spirit she thinks is her new guardian isn't there to protect her: he's out to destroy her family and seize Zoe's soul. . . for Hell. Will Matthias' return mean that he is Zoe's guardian angel again? Or is their love the reason the jaws of Hell now gape open? (from Goodreads)
Penitence begins with Zoe waking up in hospital. She's been torn away from Matthias and Paradise, and finds herself in a hospital bed surrounded by her family. She’s survived the accident, but things aren’t the same. Matthias is gone, but he’s been replaced by someone else – someone Zoe doesn’t know she can trust. Just when Zoe thinks things can only get better, she’s proven wrong. Temptation isn’t the only sin, after all.
I absolutely adored Heavenly, but I can safely say that Penitence exceeded all my expectations. It was just everything you could hope for in a book; suspense, action, romance and then some. We’re introduced to a new(ish) character, Albert, and I think even though I knew there was something odd about him, he definitely intrigued me. There were tons of questions I wanted Zoe to ask him, but he’s a sly one and managed to avoid answering most things directly. And this just made me want to know even more! Especially after Matthias’ reaction to finding out Albert had spoken with Zoe. And speaking of Matthias, I think I loved him even more in this book than I did in the previous one. And that is saying something. His old-fashioned expressions just made me laugh and the way he was with Abria – ahh.
One character that I was wary about though was Weston. After the events of the first book, I started this one not liking the guy at all. And no matter how many times he apologised and despite the evil spirits that were influencing him then, I just couldn’t forgive him. But as the book went on, I actually find myself kind of feeling sorry for him. There was just something about his desperation to be forgiven that made me feel so bad. I could understand why Zoe had decided to give him another chance, and even though I was trying really, really hard not to, I found myself quite liking him. Which just shows how amazing the writing is; you can’t fight against it! However, there was definitely an issue with Weston, and that was Britt. Britt was never my favourite character to begin with but she is way, way down at the bottom of my list of favourites now. I think I sort of suspected Britt would fall out with Zoe but I never imagined it would be to this scale. Britt, to me, is almost as villainous as Albert, because she used to be a friend and it’s always harder to stand up to friends than it is to enemies (little Dumbledore quote there :P). I have no idea what’s going to happen next between them but it’s definitely going to be interesting.
As for Wes and Zoe’s relationship – well all I have to say is poor Matthias. As much as I enjoyed getting to know Wes more I couldn’t help but think of Matthias the whole time and how he must have been feeling. Zoe’s going to have to decide what she wants soon enough and I have a feeling the choice isn’t going be very easy.
Last, but most certainly not least, there’s Chase. I think I may be a minority here but I really love Chase. His crush on Zoe, though unrequited, is so adorable, but the thing I like most about him is his inquisitive mind; he’s always asking questions, trying to learn more and delve into unknown areas. He can be a bit tactless at times, but I don’t know, there’s something sweet about him.
I feel like I haven’t portrayed its awesomeness enough, but in conclusion, Penitence was amazing. I recommend the Heavenly series to anyone and everyone, and I can’t wait to get started on Absolution!