While I felt that the Flowers in the Attic was a excellent book, I think that the Casteel series is overall the best (at least, the parts written by VC herself) I have read Heaven 7 or 8 times, and I never get tired of it. And this book is only the beginning of a excellent series, so if you're looking to spend a good amount of hours reading something wonderful, then start with Heaven!
You can't help but feel bad for this poor girl since she is so mistreated by her father for something that was not even her fault! You wonder why things happen the way they do, but much like Flowers in the Attic, the story of Heaven continues through a series, and the Heaven series is just as enjoyable, with VCA's writing talent but a different story from Flowers in the Attic so that this series isn't repetitive or boring. Enjoy!
At 4.5/5 stars, Dark Angel serves as an excellent follow-up to 'Heaven' - a book that I have read at least 8 times already - and is a good chronicle of Heaven's further adventures. I am just sad that Kitty destroyed Leigh's doll in the previous book, but Heaven should have confronted Tony about it, it wouldn't have hurt to press the issue (especially after finding out what Tony and Leigh had done) More of the doll's origins are revealed in the fifth Casteel book, 'Web of Dreams', but it still would have helped this story to see Heaven ask Tony about the doll and seeing how he reacted to it.
Heaven's idea to screw around with Luke's mind was a great idea. After the mistreatment he gave her, he deserved it though I felt bad about what happened to Tom. Tony's revelations about Leigh are shocking, but the truth is revealed in future Casteel books, so this makes a good installment in the series. Overall a decent continuation of Heaven Casteel's story.
Doubtless Fallen Hearts might have been a bit different if VCA had been able to finish this story before her untimely death. Neiderman didn't keep all the facts straight from Dark Angel, as the exact details of Troy's death/return, and nearer the end of Fallen Hearts, the writing feels a bit more distinctly different.
However, this is still a decent continuation of the Casteel saga. Having the truth revealed (that Leigh wasn't the little tramp that Troy made her out to be) felt good. I know some VCA fans might disagree, but it felt somehow appropriate to me that Heaven would be with Troy one last time. I was disappointed that Luke suddenly died, though. It seemed like such an 'convenient' death so Neiderman wouldn't have to work with him anymore. A definite good read even if not up to the par of a 100% VCA book.
While not as good as the other Casteel books (possibly because it was finished by Andrew Neiderman after V.C. Andrews's death), this book is still an enjoyable read in some parts. The ending felt a bit rushed, but if you read the first three Heaven books and want to see how the saga closes, pick up this book. There's not as much action in here since it's supposed to be the end of the Casteel saga so the ending might feel cliched and I definitely think it could have been better, and this just adds to the tragedy of V.C. Andrews's death.
Personally, I find the title Web of Dreams a bit off, as it doesn't fit in with the rest of the series titles. But Leigh's story is good, and gives a LOT of explanation as to how Heaven's life turned out the way it did. Tony had told Heaven that it was Leigh's fault, that Leigh was the seductress, but this book shows that not only is Leigh a victim of Tony's unrestrained lust, she is also a victim of her father's neglect and her mother's willful ignorance. In Dark Angel and Fallen Hearts, it's hard to not feel sorry for Jillian as she falls into madness, but in this book, you cannot help but think that Jillian got what she deserved, for being so selfish to Leigh.
The business with Leigh's questioned paternity was a completely unnecessary detail in this book and would have been better left out. Two other things always bothered me - that in the beginning as Annie is going through her great-grandmother's things, she finds Leigh's diary. If Leigh ran away with Luke and took the diary with her, then Jillian wouldn't have been in possession of the book (and thus she would have known of the truth), and the letter at the end reveals that Tony was aware of Heaven's existence long before she came to Farthinggale Manor, since he had a detective track Leigh down. Why did he choose to leave the baby girl up there? Yes, Tony was a slimeball for what he did, but leaving his child up in the mountains without even checking up on its welfare?
It seems that these flaws are Andrew Neiderman's making, since VCA was unable to finish this book, and Neiderman had to finish it for her. He uses the snotty schoolgirl cliche in here that he has used in future books, and in this book, the school drama was really unnecessary. These flaws are what keep this book from being 5 stars, and it would have been great if Neiderman had paid more attention to VCA's detail to make sure he didn't contradict or retcon anything, but what's done is done and you'll just have to take this book as it is. At least it was better than Gates of Paradise.