Science fiction and fantasy
by Heather Killough-Walden
Uriel sets about winning Ellie's heart. He has his angel brothers Gabriel, Michael and the dark and vampiric Azrael to back him up. But the fallen angel Samael has other ideas: he wants Ellie for himself and Uriel as his servant, and he's prepared to employ all manner of dirty tricks to get his own way. However between Uriel's high-profile alter-ego and Ellie's conspicuous abilities with the weather and healing, it's not long before they attract other unwanted and potentially deadly attention.
This novel basks unashamedly in the warm glow of wish-fulfilment fantasies. The main characters, including the villains, are all as gorgeous as models and movie stars, and all the males are as buff as superheroes. The four angels can conjure up their own clothes and clean them up with a thought. They live in a magic mansion with portals all over the world that lead to it, so they suffer neither long journeys and passport checks nor domestic tedium. This leaves their hands free for plenty of melodramatic posturing.
I found these angels far too perfect: they seemed too good to be true, and too plastic, to the extent that Uriel's character flaws had to be introduced as a temporary affliction rather than an inherent part of him. Similarly, Ellie is too nice. Samael is the one with the most bad boy charm, but even he seems a bit cardboard in places. Ellie and Uriel are a touch bland when they're not seducing or being seduced. It's fortunate, then, that large swathes of the story are focused on steamy hot romance. The angel porn is well written, kinky, and very explicit, and there's lots of it.
However the bits in between the passion leave a lot to be desired. From signing contracts in blood to running through creepy mist-shrouded graveyards, and not forgetting the Superman-style flying, there's a sense that no cliché will be left unmined in this series. I've already mentioned how uniformly rich, powerful and immaculate the angels are. They have jobs such as rock stars and media moguls, leading dream lives which seem unreal and hard for ordinary people to relate to. Far from being guardians, these angels have a guardian of their own who cleans up their messes and looks after them while they act like they're on an extended holiday lasting thousands of years. It takes a lot of drama to disrupt their playboy routines, so whilst there is a lot of action and excitement in the story it's often overblown, because these immortals don't get out of bed for less than mortal peril.
When it comes to character depth or original situations Avenger's Angel is somewhat lacking. But what it has is lots of intense hunks, some feelgood moments, and a sense of opulence. If you're looking for raunchy, escapist fantasy you won't be disappointed.
5th December 2011
If you like this, try:Abducted by Evangeline Anderson
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Kiss The Dead by Laurell K. Hamilton
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