Science fiction and fantasy
by Heather Killough-Walden
All this will seem familiar if you've read the first novel in the series: it's more or less the same plot. The evil Adarians are a race of angels bent on slaughter and stealing everyone's powers. Samael is handsome, mysterious and wicked, as before. And the four archangels fight together to protect the latest archess and to help their brother win her affections. Samael is perhaps the most interesting character because his motives are complex and he's playing a long game, so the details of his schemes don't emerge until later in the story. However he is mainly a background character. The archangel Gabriel and Juliette are much more straightforward, and even rather bland. Juliette is kind, truthful and liable to keep her word no matter what, but she has no edge whatsoever. She's a petite beauty who cares about her work even when she's beset by supernatural attackers, and I found it very hard to relate to her flawless earnestness. There was no point when it looked like she might turn around and do the wrong thing, or anything ignoble or unexpected.
I also found the attempts at Scottish dialect clunky, overdone, and not all that authentic. For example, in chapter 17 Angus Dougal says "I'm sorry tae intrude on ye withoot notice, ... but I was in the area and saw yer lights on and wanted tae check up on ye." There's a lot of this.
The setting is also a tourist brochure version of bonnie Scotland full of cosy pubs, warm hearths, atmospheric standing stones and crumbling castles. It's an advertising fantasy view of the country, and like the main characters it's pretty but insipid.
Implacable attackers come at Juliette and the archangels frequently enough to keep the novel's pace breathless. The romance is also fairly steamy, although it's a little more gentle and soft-focus than the work of paranormal romance writers like Laurell K. Hamilton or Sylvia Day. So this novel has a degree of entertainment potential. It's very much a pulpy, sweet, obvious story with a predictable dose of escapist adventure and melodramatic romance. It's an easy read that sticks to a formula of perfectly-proportioned angelic characters falling in love with other perfect characters and saving each other (or convenient helpless orphans) with no regard for anyone else's gag reflexes.
13th November 2012
If you like this, try:A Hunger So Wild by Sylvia Day
A Fallen angel is attracted to a man who should be her sworn enemy. The second in the Renegade Angels series.
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Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton
Ellie Monroe believes she is an ordinary teenager who has weird nightmares, until she meets a man who can tell her who she really is.
Review © Ros Jackson
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