Saturday, April 2, 2011

A Cup of Coffee with Reggie (3) - Angel Romance...Right or Wrong?

A Cup of Coffee with Reggie is going to be a discussion post feature in which I discuss anything book-related. They're just normal (sometimes random) discussion posts that are named A Cup of Coffee with Reggie because it's like having a cup of coffee with me and listening (or in this case reading) about my bookish opinions. It will be a random feature here at TUBL that can pop up anywhere from twice a day to twice a year. Most likely, it will be a tri-weekly post feature on my blog.

Today's Topic:

Is angel romance in YA right or wrong? Do their religious connotation affect what readers think of them as love interests?

As a Roman Catholic, I'm pretty familiar with angels in my religion. Some YA novels like Angelfire by CA Moulton or Heavenly by Jennifer Laurens deal with angel mythology that have Catholic references. But do I get offended? Not at all. It's just that I'm always wondering whether other people do get offended by angel romance, or if they're kind of fickle about it, based on the situation. Angels are usually viewed as otherworldly, holy figures. But in YA, they do have their flaws.

A really good example is an angel in Angelfire; I don't want to spoil anything so I won't say who it is. But that person embodies a well-known angel figure even though she has her flaws. I loved this character so I have no qualms about it. In Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick, Patch is Nora's love interest and he's an angel. It's just the contradicting concepts that I find confusing; angels are supposed to be 'sinless' so why is Patch lustful? Angels are supposed to be the guardians of isn't it weird for the guardian angel watch somebody all the time and fall in love with that person? There are a lot of 'supposed to's. There are concepts and ideas that other readers believe, and others that don't.

Because angels are sort of 'holy', some people might think that angel romance is kind of gross and wrong, but I think its just a matter of opinion.

What's your opinion? Is angel romance right or wrong? I'd love to see what you think!


no April 2, 2011 at 9:07 PM  

i'm also Roman Catholic, and I actually really enjoy angels in YA and I don't find it offensive at all to religion. I do agree on the whole "lusty angels" thing. I don't get how angels are supposed to be good and sinless, yet the want to fool around with humans. I understand it when they are fallen angels, but some regular angels acting the same way confuses me.

Rhianna April 3, 2011 at 12:00 AM  

Interesting question Reggie. Hmmm, I grew up exposed to several different denominations of "Christian" and "non-Christian" so I think my upbringing honestly has very little influence on my thoughts on the subject of angels.

I'm not a big fan of angels as romantic figures in general because I just get annoyed with the religious aspects of the story really fast. Keeping that in mind I've read and liked some fallen angel romances.

I think some of the appeal is the forbiddenness or the idea that a pure and holy being would willingly go against everything that they are upheld to for love. That bit has always made me as a reader able to suspend any moral questions and just go with it as they say. I mean, biblically speaking the devils started out as angels and they chose to fall so that does imply some free will, an ability to experience sin doesn't seem too far off from that.

Lisa April 3, 2011 at 1:28 AM  

I'm Lutheran and I also really like angel stories and I'm not offended in any way. I feel like many authors are taking different views on angels than what I'm used to, but it's always interesting.

Lindsay :) April 3, 2011 at 1:32 AM  

I love reading about angels. Lately, it seems it's all I want to read about. I don't think too much about the "supposed to" parts. I just let the author take me where ever they want to. defintely gave me something to think about.

Great post!

Katie April 3, 2011 at 3:48 AM  

I'm not going to go all legalistic religious zealot here or anything, but I'll admit that angel books are a little unsettling for me. I'm Protestant Christian, so that's probably why I'm more conservative with this type of thing. For me, a fallen angel is a demon, at least that's what they are theologically. Therefore, Patch from HUSH, HUSH was a demon... I'm not going to get into if it's right or wrong; I'm just saying that if you're going to look at it from a classical point of view, that's what they are. Biblical mythology discusses angels that walked on Earth and had children with human women; these were called the Nephilim, and they were "heroes" of the time. While this piece of scripture in Genesis is pretty vague, I've never heard anyone interpret these angels as very righteous.

So, I'm not comfortable reading an angel romance book. It feels weird to me, like it's something I just don't want to mess around with. There are really blurry lines in regards to mythology/theology, and that's crossing a PERSONAL line for me. I can understand the people who are religious but are fine reading those; it's a personal choice. And my personal choice is not to read them.

Great post!

Zombie Girrrl April 3, 2011 at 5:17 AM  

I'm also a Roman Catholic, and to me, angels in romantic situations are a no-go. There are a plethora of reasons I've come to believe this, but it all boils down to two main arguments.

Reason 1: When an author makes an angel a "love interest" they're twisting the nature of a holy being to conform to our own sinful nature. Angels aren't human. They're not subject to the same brokeness of original sin as we are. They're pure spirits and don't have bodies. The reasonbale conclusion is that they don't have the same desires as us, such as lust. When an angel falls, it is due to pride--wanting their will to be done instead of God's--such is the case with satan.

Reason 2: Most authors seem to write about "fallen angels", and when they do they cast them in a positive light; as if a demon--which is what a fallen is, BTW--is somehow redeemable. A demon is a not a wayward boy to be saved by the tender love of a naive girl. They are the agents of the devil, bent on corupting souls and leading them away from God and everlasting life in Heaven, and toward Hell and eternal isolation from the One whom we were created to be with. Not an ideal boyfriend, if you ask me.

Furthermore, by using a demon as a love interest in a relationship, they are distorting love itself into being lust-driven instead of as the mutual willing of anothers every good. A demon can't love.

That's my take on the situation. Thanks for posing the questing, Reggie! That was fun. :)

Christy April 4, 2011 at 3:36 AM  

Ooooh great topic! I read a book called "Coffeehouse Angel" awhile back and absolutely loved it! It was about a girl who worked at a coffeehouse (hence the name) and fell in love with an angel sent out to deliver a message. But I found myself asking the same question, seeing that I'm a Christian. It's the same as Harry Potter...people question its other-worldly writings of witchcraft. It all depends on whether or not the reader is believing what they are reading. An angel, falling from heaven? Then falling in love with a girl? Not likely. When I first read Harry Potter back in the day, my mom continuously reminded me that it wasn't real and that was that. Just remember, it's fiction. With fiction, people can write about anything.

Cackleberry Homestead April 4, 2011 at 11:52 PM  

I'm Protestant and have no problem with angels in YA having romance. I guess I only think of God and Jesus as perfect, angels are in between. However we don't talk as much about angels as Protestants (not sure why, I just know we don't).

To me it's just fiction and the author can decide to have their angel act any way they want. I can decide whether to read the book or not based on the blurb. But all of the angel fiction I have read so far I have loved (Heavenly, Halo, Personal Demon, and I know there are others, but I'm drawing a blank).

Great topic!

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