YOU DON'T KNOW MY NAME (The Black Angel Chronicles #1) - by Kristen Orlando

YOU DON'T KNOW MY NAME - Kristen Orlando
Published: 2017 - Swoon Reads.
Genres: Young adult / romance / contemporary / thriller
Pages: 280.
Triggers/Content Advisory:  At the end there's violence and implication of torture.
Format: eBook.
Source: Thank you so much to the publisher for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.
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 has to 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 at all?

Ever since this book came out in January I've been hyped to read it. YA thrillers can be hit-or-miss, but this book seemed to get a lot of positive reviews, and so I thought it would be amazing.
I was extremely disappointed.

I buddy-read You Don't Know My Name with my wonderful #squad: Uma @ Books.Bags.Burgers, and Di @ Book Reviews By Di. We all felt similarly about the book and were so disappointed with what we'd hoped it would be an exciting thriller.
Please do check out Di's review HERE, and Uma's review HERE.

Fighter, Faker, Student, Spy...

The writing is childish, repetitive, lackluster, bland, and uninspired. There isn't a single impressive phrase or scene or any profound language and vocabulary, and there is a LOT of telling - in oppose to showing - especially when it comes to Reagan's emotions.
The dialogue is atrocious. It's unoriginal, unrealistic, dry, boring, cheesy, and there's no wit, no subtext, no characterisation at all. It's possibly the worst aspect of the book.

The story's tedious, slow, and predictable. Many incidents are extremely hard to believe (for example, would top-notch secret agents actually allow a teenage boy to participate in and help lead a hostage rescue? Even if the excuse is "he wants to be in the military"?!) and most of the book is completely devoid of physical action. Since it's supposed to be a thriller, that's annoying.
The ending of the book is contrived and offensively manipulative - in terms of the violent content and style of the scene. It's disgusting, and made worse by terrible writing.

"I don't like it when you pretend you're someone you're not. I just want you to be you. Good. Bad. Anxious. I'll still be here."

The characters are flat. They're boring cardboard cut-outs with label-like "personalities". Despite Reagan coming across quite likeable and compelling at the beginning, she too soon succumbs to lazy writing that leaves her one-dimensional and stereotypical. It's a waste.
Reagan's parents are even worse. They're flat, annoying, ridiculously uninspired, and their dialogue is the worst. I very strongly disliked them for the duration of the novel.

There are a lot of relationships in this book that have great potential. Unfortunately, they all lack proper development, pacing, and realism, and thus come across ineffectual and bland. That also contributes to my inability to feel for or root for the characters.
Following on from that, the emotional element just isn't present either. All the emotions in the story are forced and melodramatic, and I couldn't feel for any of the characters; even in situations where I knew I should. There's just no emotional investment whatsoever.

The romance is terrible. Luke has no point in the story outside of being Reagan's love interest, and he's just as flat as everyone else's characters. Not to mention there's no realistic, solid development for his and Reagan's relationship, and the so-called "cute banter" between them is stupid, meaningless, extremely forced, and cringe-worthy.
Luke's boring - and so's their romance.

You Don't Know My Name is a contrived, poorly paced, badly written novel with a weak plot and flat characters. Towards the end it gets mildly exciting, but that's not enough to redeem the entire book.


  1. I just stopped by the other two reviews as well! I really like to read 3 reviews of the same book and read your different opinions. I like to see where you 3 all agree and what different things you saw in the book.

    This sounds like a very shallow book to me...

    1. Yay! They're so good :)

      Definitely was :(

  2. Oh no! The premise of this book sounds amazing but it seems like it wasn't delivered well at all. Flat characters and bad dialogue are THE WORST. >.<

    Great review! <3

    1. I know!!! 😭😭😭 So disappointing.

      Thanks! <3

  3. Yikes! I've been curious about this one too cause I love thrillers, so it sucks that you found those issues. I'd have a problem with those things too. That's too bad. It does have an interesting cover and the blurb sounds good. Thanks for your honest feedback.

    1. I know 🙈🙈

      I felt exactly the same before I read it. It seemed so good, but I was so incredibly disappointed.

      Thanks for the comment :)

  4. Books that do more telling than showing are one of my biggest book pet peeves ever so that alone makes me reluctant to pick this one up. That's also too bad about a romance. I need the chemistry filled, well developed romances in books so that makes me sad to hear this one is anything but. Thanks for the honest review, Amy. I'm sorry that this one wasn't for you :(

    1. Ugh so true :( And I totally agree about the romance: this was one was like the total opposite of what a good romance should be.

      Thanks Lauren:)

  5. Great review Amy. Sorry this one didn't work out for any of us, but that happens!

    1. Thanks Di :) And yeah, unfortunately it does!

  6. Oh no! I was a bit curious about this one because I'd never seen it and the cover looked eye-catching but it sounds like a big let down. I seriously don't have time to waste on thrillers that are flat, and badly written. Gonna be skipping out on this one for sure!

    1. I know! *sobs*
      Yeah that's a good idea :( Unfortunately!