As humans, we like to pretend that we aren’t distracted by presentation or the bells and whistles of appearance. In the book, Angel by Sebastian Michael, the main character, Damion, is the most beautiful human being on the planet. Men and women alike fall madly in love with him, and in turn, with everything about him due to his appearance. While Damion is oblivious to the attention, he soon realizes that this beauty has made life easier for him, but losing it is about to make it so much harder.
Damion begins life with two parents with different parenting philosophies. Damion suffers the loss of his best friend and his mother at a young age, leaving him and his father to wade through life together. Damion entertains feelings of love for his friend Matthew, but decides after such tragic life events, that changes need to happen for him. He decides to become a monk, seeking a much more peaceful existence, but this is where his life flips 180 degrees.
After a trip to New England with friends, Damion is one of the only survivors in a devastating fire leaving him a burnt skeleton of his former self. Previously, when anyone laid eyes on him, they melted, becoming putty in his hands. When people see him now, they cringe and gag in disgust. Damion, himself, tries to avoid mirrors at all costs. But one day, it wasn’t the burnt face that offended him most; it was what was underneath.
“He didn’t know why he was doing this, but he looked himself directly in the eyes this morning and what he saw was an ugly man. Not ugly in the way he had tried and been unable to get used to: not a man with a burnt face. That he had seen before and although he didn’t like it, the burnt face no longer offended him. No, what he was looking at this morning was an ugly soul.”
Angel explores the human desire for beauty, and the soul crushing that can happen when one realizes searching for such surface pleasures is harmful. The book starts off very slow, and although most of the language is beautifully written, there are long stretches in the book that require some perseverance. The author of this book lives in Europe, and there are some negative undertones regarding Americans, but they were playful, and seemingly harmless. Michael narrates Angel in a very unique way, which would lend itself nicely to the stage or screen. The end of the novel is satisfying, but readers do have to push through some florid language at the beginning.