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The Angel Book Series

Cordy_Chase

Tact is just not saying true stuff. I'll pass.
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#1
Since there aren't a whole lot of threads here to discuss the Angel novels I figure this one could serve as a general Angel novel discussion thread.

I've just finished reading my first one, 'Fearless' today.
This concept came off to me as really clever and upon realizing it was Doranna Durgin was even more anxious to read as she blew me away with her beautiful and perfect portrayals in at least two 'Ghost Whisperer' series novels.

Unfortunately I wasn't as impressed here. While there were some smart points explored such as a vulnerable Angel fearing being unable to protect his son there was some repetitiveness, lack of development, loose ends and mild characterization flaws.

The keeper's dialogue opposite Angel was exactly the same in almost every one of his scenes down to how it was worded and though a validation was attempted at the end of the need to keep the rest of Team Angel out of the loop it didn't work for me. I'd appreciated Angel's response to this, his strong attitude towards the need to maintain the trust factor between himself and the rest of the team. The same happened with the Connor thing, a few too many mentions all with the exact same wording.

Fred above all other characters wasn't accurately portrayed for the time period. We're clearly in mid season three here with Connor still an infant and his existence period means it's post-'Fredless' when she officially clicked in as part of the team. So we shouldn't have been seeing her so awkward and not quite in place here. There was a similar flaw with Gunn in the beginning when he was shown to not have a complete trust of Angel. I'm willing to believe that there was always a wariness of Angelus in him given his nature and history but the way it was done here had me thinking it was set in early to mid season two. The first mention of Connor was what told me otherwise.

The secondary demon of focus had so little development that it's final act before being slayed (which I won't disclose as it gives away one of the main issues of the story) was all that made sense of it. This is also where the loose end was, there wasn't proper closure to that case especially since a client paid them for it and an assumption made by Cordelia regarding the slaying unsettled me because there was no evidence to support it.

My biggest issues were with key elements that were highlighted but we don't actually seem much of them in the TV series; Angel's difference in healing ability and the team taking his lack of vulnerability for granted. In the TV series Cordelia is shown patching him up on more than one occasion and him feeling psychical pain.

By far the best element of the story was Cordelia's closeness to Angel and his reactions to their interactions. While few they were beautifully displayed here.
Overall an interesting but not really a satisfying read.

I'm anxious to read more of the novels but gotta wait to receive Amazon gift cards, good thing my birthday is close.
Shame, when I'd ordered 'Fearless', I'd also ordered 'Dark Mirror' but it never showed up so I had to get a refund.
 

Fuffy Baith

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#2
I had no idea that there were Angel novels out there. Sorry you were disappointing, but it is curious to see the differences in writing between a TV show and novels.
 

Cordy_Chase

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#3
I came across them by accident myself while browsing Amazon one day. Don't worry it wasn't the hugest disappointment and I'm still quite anxious to read more of the series but am unable to purchase them at this time. I'm horribly broke. I just yesterday Facebooked that Amazon gift cards are now at the top of my wish list haha.
 

Fuffy Baith

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#4
Well that's good. I how you feel, I'm still trying to save money to buy Buffy on DVD. Hope you get some gift cards for Amazon.
 

Cordy_Chase

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#5
Alright so thanks to a birthday gift of an Amazon gift card from a friend, I've purchased two more of the books.
I'm now reading 'Impressions' another of Doranna Durgin's and so far while I find the storyline better than 'Fearless' she still has some annoying writing flaws and some lack of development.

In the first around three pages alone she so many sentences which repeated the same phrase back to back it actually started to make me cringe and that doesn't happen to me often, I can usually ignore such flaws.

The way it begun was awkward, basically there is a mystery man impersonating Angel down to the appearance and right from the start of the novel he's got everyone believing he's Angel to the extent that the real thing is considered the impostor. Really? Humans I get but there was a demon as Caritas claiming to have had a drink with him. Demons can't smell a vampire from a human? The impostor is clearly human because his first scene revealed that he can break out fake fangs but can't give himself the forehead and eyes to go with them.
The only other portrayal I haven't liked so far is a point where after a vision Cordelia sneaks herself a santax from her purse in plain sight. We know from 'That Vision Thing' and 'Birthday' that she'd excuse herself to the bathroom and we're in the beginning of season 3 here, like Fred still keeps herself confined in her room beginning. So not that long prior to 'That Vision Thing'. I don't know perhaps I am nitpicking there but that just kinda bugged me.

Meanwhile the real Angel is having mysterious nightmares of himself having turned back into Angelus, one in which he even killed the team. That part is interesting. I'm most anxious to see where that goes.
Hopefully there is more development on this impostor.
 
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Fuffy Baith

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#6
That story actually sounds pretty. I'd watch it. I just started rewatching S3 so I can see how it would fit in. Enjoy the book, let me know how it turns out.
 

Cordy_Chase

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#8
Halfway through 'Impressions' now and it's getting pretty interesting though there still hasn't been much development with the young guy the gang is now calling Faux Angel (see first the first part of my 'Impressions' review above). Originally I wasn't going to return to continue my review until after I finished it but I just had to kinda vent how ridiculous this impostor is! Two things are clear at this point:
1.) He doesn't know shit about Angel
2.) His vampire research was poor, he's back in the Bram Stoker days!
He actually keeps a coffin -- a coffin! And he walks in the daytime claiming it's his leather duster which allows it, and somehow people and demons are buying this! And I love how Cordelia is totally on my side here, I just finished reading his first real scene as he tries to keep his client from moving his business to the real Angel and it only takes her seconds to get a 'oh give me a break' attitude. She assesses how he may have the outfit figured out pretty well but the jacket is too big for him and he's this short young guy who's probably really a nerd etc.
Plus the real Angel gets all up in his grill (because he really doesn't appreciate being imitated) and it actually freaks him out!

It's pretty hilarious actually. Now I really want to know more about this guy but reviews on Amazon suggest that's not really going to happen. XP I'll see about that though.
 

Cordy_Chase

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#9
Finished 'Impressions' and as anticipated not much background was revealed about the "Faux-Angel" as they'd taken to calling him except that he was a nerdy loser who felt invisible so had chosen to assume someone else's identity to get attention and appreciation. The fact that his real name turned out to be David is just...it's brilliant! I wanna know if she did that on purpose (you do get the irony there? A guy named David acting as a vampire named Angel)!

One of the most well done moments from the point of my last review to the end of the novel is an exchange between Angel and Cordelia. Angel has been in brood-mode for much of the time over the fact that he's not worthy of being seen as a role model and upon the discoveries made about the young impostor Cordelia wanting to make him feel better about it tells him that the guy is basically just a selfish idiot. He doesn't actually idolize Angel, he doesn't even have the right notion of him. The atmosphere and the way Durgin described the revelation actually lifting Angel's spirit felt exactly like something out of the show.

At the same time, a mysterious something which I won't disclose is causing Angelus to try to break to the surface which was a compelling concept but the displays were not as strong as I would have liked.

Overall thought a pretty good read.

Next up: 'Haunted' by Jeff Mariotte.
 

Cordy_Chase

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#10
Alright first let me correct a small error here, since I'm not able to edit the post:
Cordy_Chase said:
The only other portrayal I haven't liked so far is a point where after a vision Cordelia sneaks herself a santax from her purse in plain sight.
I'd remembered the name of the medication wrong at the time I'd composed the review this sentence was extracted from. Seltrex is the correct name.

Now, I've just finished reading 'Haunted' by Jeff Mariotte and of the three I've read thus far this was by far the most well done.

It's beautifully written and developed to feel like something we'd expect from the show. Characterization is flawless, OCs including demons were well developed enough to properly connect them to the storyline...for the most part, there were a few issues, which I'll get to, but nothing that was distracting and the case was a very engaging mystery. It consisted of several elements which didn't seem to connect, leaving the reader wondering right up until the climactic chapters.

Possibly the highlight of this story is a very thought provoking concept with Cordelia's character; she finds an opportunity to launch her acting career as a contestant on a reality TV show. This prompts the team to consider their future without her and Angel begins to realize how much she means to him. There are some really great narratives of Angel thinking about how much he's watched her grow, how he'd come to appreciate her uncensored honesty and loved her laughter. That even just during the time she'd been participating in the tv show he missed her and his primary reason for pursuing this case is to relieve her vision pain. <3 The level of depth and emotion at which this was captured is not as expected from a male writer as from a female writer and I absolutely ADORE that a man was able to achieve it. I adore sensitivity in a man.
This is a book I highly recommend to anyone who is a fan of the Cordelia/Angel relationship in whatever form, there is no romantic suggestion so one doesn't have to ship them to appreciate the portrayal here.

Unfortunately for Cordy, there is more to the show, which tests 9 contestants ability to cope with living in a "haunted house" for a grand prize of $100,000 to the last one standing, than just a contest and entertainment. As time goes by it becomes increasingly clearer to her that the hauntings in the house are not staged and something else is going on in that house that only Angel and the team can uncover starting with a vision Cordelia has of a young woman who'd auditioned for the show alongside her but didn't make the final cut. For this reason, one of the few and minute flaws is how the audition process is not explained. This character made me want to know.

The time period is the end of season 2. It's well established to be Post-Darla saga and Post-'Dead End' but still pre-Pylea as there is no Fred and Lorne is still referred to only as The Host. Cordelia's characterization reflects this very well, there was a perfect balance between the vain, self-serving, fame seeking person she's always been and the vision girl who values those who are suffering as first priority she has started to become.

The last handful of chapters which made up the climax, when everything was coming together really captured me in a way the other two books didn't, I was up until 2:30 am last night, which is a half an hour past the maximum time I turn in, unable make myself stop (but I did, I finished it today). There were a few small loose ends though.
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!






Cordelia makes a friend of a fellow contestant who, in fact, wasn't actually a contestant but a spy for Wolfram & Hart there to ensure the contestants are kept in the dark about the true nature of the show which is that any remaining contestants at a certain point would be sacrificed for a ritual being performed beneath the house by W&H. He reveals that he'd recognized her from the beginning which we later find out via a comment by a W&H lawyer is in reference to the fact that Cordelia works for Angel, though technically she works for Wesley at this point and had been trying to get her out of the haunted house for her own safety before it was too late. The character is killed off however before he explains why her working with Angel made her any different from the other contestants which making a point of it suggested though I do buy that he'd genuinely liked her which is a reason he did manage to give. There is an earlier scene where Lilah tells Angel that W&H don't give a shit about him anymore after their pursuit of him via Darla failed, he was nothing more than a nuisance and at this point as suggested later by 'That Vision Thing' she apparently doesn't realize yet that going after Cordelia is a move that would provoke Angel. So that didn't seem to add up for me.

Prior, there is an attack on Angel near the beginning set up by W&H that was never explained though he pursued an explanation. At this point, he had nothing on their operation, nothing to connect the individual elements of the case that he did have and no solid evidence that W&H had any involvement. So I didn't understand why they felt threatened by him at that point.

Overall though an excellent read.
 
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Cordy_Chase

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#11
I've had so much on my mind lately, I knew I was forgetting something in that last review.
There was another occurrence with the character Gordon, the Wolfram & Hart spy which was never explained; he was the only "contestant" never to be haunted while in the house until his death, but I have a theory that perhaps the hauntings weren't meant to harm but to save the contestants, to encourage them to leave before the sacrifice. They'd hold a voting session every day or so to eliminate contestants, but they were also free to leave whenever they felt too uncomfortable and the spirits in the house have been dead for decades so they know the true nature of the competition.
The way I make sense of it is that since Gordon worked for the enemy the spirits wanted to keep him to victimize him. Wesley speculated that Wolfram and Hart's doings in the house disturbed them which means they would consider Wolfram and Hart an enemy to them.
There is actually a suggestive statement during a scene where they played a mini-game for immunity from the vote and it had appeared rigged to favor Gordon. The host of the show commented that he must have a friend in the house to which he replied "or an enemy".
 

Cohen

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#12
Jeff Mariotte usually does a much better job at his depictions and development of characters than most authors. I love novels penned by him, Christopher Golden, and Diana Gallagher. At another buffy forums I used to frequent, I got to chat with Mariotte a few times and he was a very kind guy and really cared about what fans thought about his writing.
 

Cordy_Chase

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#13
@sk8j04 That's amazing. I have a ton of respect for a Tv series based author who puts importance and dedication into getting their portrayals accurate.
I'll be reading more of him no question and will be sure to look into Christopher Golden and Diana Gallagher's work as well when I am able to purchase more of the series.
 

Cordy_Chase

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#15
Thanks.
'Vengence' is one I did not even know about but having just read a synopsis on Amazon, I'm interested. That one's going on my wishlist.
 

Cordy_Chase

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#16
I finished 'The Summoned' by Cameron Dokey a few nights ago.

First of all the fact that it took me this long to get through it on its own is a statement.
I'd put it aside for some time after the first three or so chapters, some because I became occupied with temping but also because I was compelled towards another book or rather book trilogy.

Angel, Cordelia, and Doyle investigate a serial killer whose been terrorizing L.A setting unsuspecting victims aflame after Doyle receives a vision of the latest victim's demise, joined by a persistent friend of Kate Lockley's who lost her father to this serial killer.

The plot itself is compelling. It beautifully illustrated a dark side to human nature and had some fantastic twists.
The writing, however, is somewhat amateurish.

The imagery is inconsistent, it's beautiful in areas of the beginning few chapters but then dissolves to plain. There's unnecessary laundry listing of details which in one sense caused a few too many separate character narratives, a character that received multiple scenes of focus but didn't bring anything to the plot and some elements needed to be more developed to tie in better.

To top it off, the characterizations of the main cast are fair to poor.
This story is difficult to absorb most prominently because the majority of the title character, Angel himself, just isn't right.

His attitude resembles that of his 1952 self in 'Are You Now or Have You Ever Been', he was harsh, arrogant and behaved almost too much like he was or fancied himself a legitimate professional.

His regard of Doyle as not pulling his weight and resulting shortness with the half-demon profit depicted an entirely different relationship between the characters than on the show and a lot of his language is too adapted, almost downright gangster being composed of phrases such as:

"Don't get all bent [as in, out of shape]", "We're screwed" and "oh shit".

Additionally. his dialogue at times sounds so identical to Doyle that in areas, I had trouble distinguishing between them. Including that both of them frequently addressed Cordelia as 'Cord', a nickname that, by the way, was never used on the show. She was only ever addressed as Cordelia, Cordy or Princess.

I found a particular narrative insulting to Cordelia's intelligence in which she's described as having borrowed Doyle's cellphone after hers was damaged to remain reachable for audition callbacks and was seemingly dismissive of his protest that the casting directors won't magically become aware that she switched phone numbers and what the new one is. She may have been a diva but she wasn't an airhead, she's not Harmony! She was in the top 10% of her class.

There is another use of her character that I had trouble with.
Was it established whether or not Cordelia had a car in season 1 (or in other words do we know if she lost her red convertible with the 'Queen C' plates to the IRS) because there is a scene in which Phantom Dennis snags the keys to her neighbor's car so that she can tail Angel who is tailing Doyle who is tailing an OC to a location they needed to investigate. As insignificant as this is, it has me scratching my head.
I recall her telling her date in 'The Bachelor Party" to drop her back off at the office because her car was still there but I'm pretty sure we don't actually see one and she could have just used that as an excuse to avoid telling the guy where she lived (this was the snoozefest businessman who a moment later takes off and leaves her when she's jumped by a vampire). I totally believe she's that smart, she didn't even have him pick her up at her home (I hesitate to count Wilson since he had intention).

Possibly a worthy read for Doyle fans as I'd call it Doyle-centric and in that respect it delivers but otherwise, I'd say pass on this one. The initial 1 cent it goes for on Amazon before the $3 shipping charge is exactly what it's worth.

Overall maybe 2/5 stars.

@MarlieTheSlayer I'm now reading 'Vengence'. I've gotten through about a quarter of it so far. So it shall be the subject of my next review.
 

Foxy

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#17
It is really neat that you are reviewing the Angel books. I was able to get my hands on some of the buffy books (which is really hard considering I live in The Netherlands)...so I want to read them. We have our own version of Ebay in this country, so every other week I scan the website to see if I can find any of the books for a reasonable price. Haven't come across any of the Angel ones as of yet. Ironically, Angel was much more popular here!

Have you read any of the Angel comics?
 

Cordy_Chase

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#18
It is really neat that you are reviewing the Angel books. I was able to get my hands on some of the buffy books (which is really hard considering I live in The Netherlands)...so I want to read them. We have our own version of Ebay in this country, so every other week I scan the website to see if I can find any of the books for a reasonable price. Haven't come across any of the Angel ones as of yet. Ironically, Angel was much more popular here!

Have you read any of the Angel comics?
That's a shame. I'm in America and have been using Amazon, it's got a wide selection of both Buffy and Angel novels.
So far I've not read any Buffy novels except 'The Cordelia Collection Vol. 1', I talk about it in the 'Homecoming' thread.
I have read the omnibus and 'After the Fall' of the Angel comics.
 
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#19
It is really neat that you are reviewing the Angel books. I was able to get my hands on some of the buffy books (which is really hard considering I live in The Netherlands)...so I want to read them. We have our own version of Ebay in this country, so every other week I scan the website to see if I can find any of the books for a reasonable price. Haven't come across any of the Angel ones as of yet. Ironically, Angel was much more popular here!
How about Amazon.....there used to be loads available on the UK version......That's where I got the last few to complete my collection.
Also there used to be a huge second hand bookshop in Amsterdam (or possibly Utrecht used to go to both regularly) that sold loads of American Sci/fi & Fantasy books...I bought quite a few there I never saw for sale in the UK. (Sorry can't remember the name of it or where it was but it was massive so you might know of it :oops: )
 

Foxy

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#20
How about Amazon.....there used to be loads available on the UK version......That's where I got the last few to complete my collection.
Also there used to be a huge second hand bookshop in Amsterdam (or possibly Utrecht used to go to both regularly) that sold loads of American Sci/fi & Fantasy books...I bought quite a few there I never saw for sale in the UK. (Sorry can't remember the name of it or where it was but it was massive so you might know of it :oops: )
Was it by any chance called Barry's book exhange? I have been dying to go there, but I keep not having money or time for it.

Yea sometimes I check out amazon, but the shipping can be quite expensive. I have patience to keep scouring the Dutch internets and second hand book stores.

Thank you for the recommendation though!