Angelfire (Dark Angel, #1)

First Lines: The devil walked into a bar.  Purgatory was a bar reminiscent of old lower Manhattan: long and skinny like an alleyway, exposed brick, faded booths and low hanging lights amidst the soft racket of dirty jazz.

I did receive a copy of this from the author in return for a review.  Just to let you know.

So when Hanna contacted me, I pretty much jumped on this.  I liked the way it sounded, and it’s been a really long time since I read a book about angels.  (My records show it could have been as long ago as July of last year…oops.)  So I thought I’d take a chance with this.

Angels have been watching over humanity for thousands of years, protecting the people of Earth.  The angels are ruled by a group called the Elders, who help them keep their city secret and give them a Code to live by.  It’s up to the angels to kill demons and keep their city hidden from everyone else.  Their warriors are given magic through the blood of higher class angels.  Alyxandria is a young warrior who is quite fond of her job and love knives.  But she has a darker past.  Her parents left the angels to become Rogues, dangerous angels who work with demons.  When Alyx saves a mortal, Israel, a boy with a special gift with just as dark a past as hers, she’s told to leave him alone and forget about him.  But she can’t.  An ancient, nearly forgotten Guardian-bond has been enacted between the two of them with one very ugly consequence: if Israel dies, so does Alyx.  As Alyx starts looking into the past for help, she stumbles across some things she shouldn’t have seen, things that make her question everything she grew up hearing.  So how can Alyx keep fighting for good and against evil when the lines are no longer clear?

Initially, when I finished this book, I wasn’t all that thrilled with it.  Like, I liked it, but I thought there were a lot of things that needed work.  For example, the first 30% or so is completely different than the synopsis I just gave you.  Mostly, it’s set-up for the rest of the story, but it drove me nuts that it took so long to pick up.  And there were some parts that I still question, though I’m not sure whether I just read over them too quickly or the information was just missing.  Either way, it made it difficult for me to grasp a few key points.

But now, I don’t know, I feel a little more like I enjoyed it.  I guess getting some distance from it helped.

The characters, like Alyx and Israel, were interesting.  I felt like we got to meet them slowly.  Mostly I think that comes from the book moving slowly, but that’s my opinion.  With the book feeling like it moved slowly, it felt like everything else moved at a slow pace too, even though it was filled with action.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  Because getting to know the characters slowly is, you know, actually normal, like how we’d meet people.  Very few times in my life have I met someone and had them info-dump their lives onto me, like the characters in some books do.  The only downside to this is that sometimes they would act out of character (or what I thought was out of character) because I was still unsure as to what their character was, even halfway through the book.

As I mentioned, there’s quite a bit of action here.  Alyx is a warrior after all with a love of knives.  And she knows how to use them.  Those parts were really entertaining and fun to read.  Forget the rest of the story, can we just have a book where Alyx fights?  She’s one of the few heroines I can think of where I would much rather have her fight than try to mentally puzzle her way out of something.

Overall, it’s a pretty good read.  It’s not perfect, but it’s interesting and different.

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