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Just Finished…Angelfall


I thought Angelfall was a really original take on the ‘angels on earth’ theme – I’ve read a few so far (Hush Hush, Forgotten Self) and this definitely leads the pack.

Set in a post-apoclyptic landscape, where angels have been the bringers of destruction – as you might expect from their biblical heritage, but which I’ve not seen used particularly in other angel books – Penryn is our feisty female protagonist, fighting to survive. I found her skills and behaviour plausible in the same way I did Katniss in The Hunger Games: her motivation is protecting her family; her skills come from having to survive a difficult environment, before she was plunged into the apocalypse. The relationship she develops with Raffe (an injured angel) is based on mutual need, and had good depth.

There’s plenty of action in the book, nicely tempered with the world building, so that you see how people have changed because of the apocolypse. Questions of humanity are raised throughout and examined well through secondary characters. There are also some pretty gruesome descriptions and troubling images – they fit with the plot and the events at the end of the world, although some readers might have wished for a more ‘fade to black’ approach…particularly in the big climax at the end.

One thing I especially liked was the presentation of the angels as just another species – so you can get agnostic angels!! – rather than fixing them into traditional biblical roles as you might expect. The angel culture and behaviours are also nicely examined and explained to fit with the author’s world.

Overall – this was a great read – it gets five stars because I struggled to put it down (when I had to) and went searching for the next book as soon as I finished (and was disappointed to find that there’s nothing out as yet!). I need to know what happens! Definitely recommended for fans of angel/demon books, as well as post-apocolyptic.

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Heavenly reading challenge review at Auggie Talk

asidefromwriting

Oh yes – it gets 5* 🙂 

 

Forgotten Self is a really good read. Although I’ve not read a huge amount of books in the YA Angel/Demon field – Hush Hush series, Katherine Pine’s After Eden (good) and a couple more I won’t mention as they were shockingly poor– I quite like them when they’re done well. Forgotten Self is done very well and of those I’ve read I would rate it as the best.

The story is a good length and I read it in a couple of days in two long-ish sittings. Even though it’s not a long book it is well-detailed; the ‘angelic’ world has a good depth to it, the explanations for which are delivered nicely throughout the book alongside Abby’s ‘real’ life. The characters are very well drawn, especially Abby, whose POV we read from. And although I tend to plump for one…

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Just Finished…Bites by Ninfa Hayes

I’ve not read any ‘vampire books’ for a while now. Before I started Bites (last night at midnight, finished first thing this morning!) I was thinking to myself “I don’t really do vampire stories” but that’s not true: I read most of Ann Rice’s books, Twilight Saga, all the True Bloods (until about book ten when they got dull), Bram Stoker, dabbled in YA vampires with Blue Bloods, the first House of Night and a couple of not-so-good indie onesand I liked most of them: some I loved, some not so much…and that doesn’t stop at books because I was a Buffy fan (not so much Angel) and have been loving the True Blood TV series. Perhaps I just go through phases of reading and then find myself a little under-awed with a genre after a while?

Anyway, I realised, I do “do vampire stories” – it’s just that I like ones that are written well, have some depth, interesting and/or original ideas… And Bites does 🙂

Bites is actually a novella of two short stories: Demonica and Last of the Blood – one is a more traditional vampire story, the other a semi-demon crossover with a smattering of angelic backstory which I was hooked on by the end of the first page… Both stories read well and quickly – as short stories there is a limited amount of world building (obviously!) but they introduce interesting characters and concepts.

In Bites, Damon is a thoughtful vampire – with shades of Louis, perhaps Angel, Edward and Bill about him – in how he views the existence he has and vampire/human relationships. I liked the POV story-telling from his side and found his rather poetic voice carried me through his story with interest. The resolution the issues of the story fits perfectly with his character. Catherine also really interested me – I think her experiences and perspective would offer a good story.

Demonica was my favourite of the two stories – this was a 5* for me – I loved the origina story aspects of the beginning and found myself drawn in very quickly. Again – good characters – the female lead is a great, strong person, but with believable weaknesses and flaws. The theological basis for the ideas crossing into the author’s own mythology were intriguing and believable – i love this blending of myths and I think what Ninfa sets up here is a good basis for longer novels.

Overall, I think this is a good debut for a new writer, showcasing her skills for writing interesting characters in familiar situations for the genre, but still doing something original with them. Her stregnth definitely lay in Demonica for me as an overall package it appealled more to me….Definitely recommended 🙂

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DEMONICA 
Tonight is the Midwinter Solstice Ball, the most important night in the Daemonic Court’s calendar.

This is the night when new disciples are chosen, when demons come out to play, and all bets are off.

As it happens, tonight is also the night I become Queen.

LAST OF THE BLOOD 
When the sweet scent reaches me I know I have found what I’m looking for. My hands reach out in the darkness to the unaware girl. She’s warm and soft and doesn’t even get to scream before I’m drinking deeply from her, her struggles too feeble to bother me. Only the blood counts.

Irina is about to become Queen of the Daemonic Court and Damon is on the run from his own nature … where will their paths take them?

Two short stories that will seduce you with romance, danger, sensuality … and Vampire bites.

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