Tania and her coupled-up friends live in the shadow of Black Rock Mountain where rock-god Zoran Brancusi has recently built a mansion, and invited all the local teens to a massive end of school fancy dress party and concert. The theme? Heavenly Creatures… and that’s when normal ends.
The party descends into a haze where people morph into strange god-like creatures, the teens feel as if they can fly, and no one can really remember quite what happened. When Tania’s good-natured best friend breaks it off with her long-term boyfriend to live in the mountain complex with one of Zoran’s entourage, Tania knows something’s deeply wrong with the mesmerising influence seeping into the town from Black Rock. Soon the lives and souls of her friends are at stake, but can Tania unravel the mystery of Black Rock Mountain before they are lost forever?
There’s lots of appeal here – opulent mansions, frenetic parties, gorgeous guys, realistic everyday life, a deepening mystery and a vertiginous darker side to all of the above, but the characters balance it by being realistically drawn. They don’t jump to supernatural conclusions (though get there eventually), but explore the possibility and emotion of what’s happening around them, researching and rightly worrying about drugs and cult brainwashing to account for what’s happening.
It’s an intriguing twist on fallen angels; while they may still be beguiling and sexy (a lot like the gorgeous book jacket), these aren’t the brooding, misunderstood rebels of other novels – they know what they want and their actions in getting it are unmasked as creepy and outright evil. Slick and sexy, it’s a good metaphor for the temptations facing teens and finding the courage to resist them, or dealing with the consequences of being drawn in.
This novel is a real page-turner too, once the supernatural side of the story kicks in, with a surprisingly heartening take on the messy nature of real friendships and relationships.