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The Angel Book Series

Cordy_Chase

Tact is just not saying true stuff. I'll pass.
Joined
Jun 9, 2013
Messages
616
Age
32
Location
California
Sineya
Well, **** me. I finished reading 'Vengence' a little while ago and forgot to come here and review it.

In this season 2 installment, Angel and the gang must face one of the first evils of the earth; Lilith, depicted in the Jewish Genesis as the true first woman opposite Adam who refused to lie beneath him for sex and in this case is the mother of demonkind and the taint in human nature.

Under the guise of motivational speaker Lily Pierce, Lilith is out to collect 1000 perfect human souls to empower an object that is the very core of corruption itself known as The Serpent's Hand to rewrite existence to her ideal which excludes mankind.
A threat that even has Wolfram & Hart on Angel's side as Lilah Morgan gets the gang to reluctantly agree to a temporary alliance to stop Lilith from succeeding.

Angel is put to a test of temptation with the question: what if he had the power to wipe demonkind from existence? We see it turning him into an inverted Dark Willow and Lilith's opposite, which is so far, the most fascinating use of his character that I've read. It was such a unique struggle for him that both illustrated his need for redemption and brought out his monstrous enjoyment of violence.
One thing I appreciated most was how it is established that sex isn't the only way for him to achieve perfect happiness which we see the characters assuming on the show but there's never any contradiction.
Another most appreciated moment, I always get an internal delight when an author writing in the timeline after Doyle's death gives him a shoutout and this one did. :)

We have Cordelia facing a future without her greatest asset in life, her attractive appearance and getting a look in a mirror as she spends a couple of days with a young woman who is very much like she was in Sunnydale. Her reaction to the young woman's utter selfishness highlighted her evolution in an almost profound way but I felt a bit let down that she didn't actually make the comparison to her Sunnydale self, hence almost profound.

I also liked the bit of insight that was offered into Wes's character. There is a scene in which he's trapped by Lilith's demonic children in the pitch darkness of a closet and I found it intriguing that he felt quite at home as it's a familiar discomfort to him from his boyhood. If that had been in the canon, it would have made Wes's pulling a bullet into what he thought was his father in 'Lineage' so much more powerful.

Oh and Lilith's ultimate weakness, I'm just gonna say is pure genius.

It wasn't without its flaws. At the beginning when Angel and team carry out phase one of taking down Lilith, their tactic was kinda OOC, particularly on Angel's part. Let me just put it this way, Angel in a cowboy outfit, can you wrap your head around that? I couldn't. Fortunately, Lilith comments that she can't either so that was a bit of compensation.
He then later uses the phrase "I'm gonna catch 4o winks" which I didn't buy coming from him. Hell, I wouldn't have bought it coming from any of the cast but Angel least of all.
That was pretty much it as far as flaws go. Yup.

4/5 stars. An overall fantastic read.

Next up: 'Close to the Ground' my second Jeff Mariotte! It just arrived in the mail yesterday.
 
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Cordy_Chase

Tact is just not saying true stuff. I'll pass.
Joined
Jun 9, 2013
Messages
616
Age
32
Location
California
Sineya
I finished 'Close to the Ground'-- a week ago actually but I've been sick and wasn't feeling well to compose a review at the time.

A vision of Doyle's gets Angel roped into bodyguarding a well-known Hollywood studio executive's daughter, a spoilt teenager who spends her nights partying while an ancient sorcerer from the depths of Ireland is preparing to release a demon who holds an apocalypse in its single eye but must first regain immortality to reverse his oncoming death.
Simultaneously Kate Lockley is after a gang of serial bank robbers who have recently escalated to gunning down witnesses.

As with 'Haunted' Mariotte presents each angle separately giving them the appearance of being unrelated then connecting them quite brilliantly to form the climax and in this case with a hint in the prologue that is a little more than subtle but nonetheless can easily go right over your head.

Characterizations were flawless with a couple of minor exceptions concerning Cordelia.
In the beginning, she talks about aspiring to be a trophy wife which at all points in her character development is below her IMO. She's always been a strongly self-defined independent woman and the one who does the appraising.
Then she's quite insensitive to Doyle about his vision pains. I understand what Mariotte was doing there, contrasting witnessing to her own experience with the visions and that's totally clever but I felt he took it to a level that was a bit cruel even for her.
Aside from that, her decisions in this novel illustrate great maturity that serves as one of the first stepping stones of her growth throughout AtS.

Angel's inner reactions to the Willet family, the family who hires him as a bodyguard and almost brotherly regard for the girl were intriguing and illustrated he has more attentiveness to his surroundings than is suggested by his visible presence.
There is a fantastic backstory that not only highlights his transitioned from soulless to souled but is a testament to his future epiphany, his first act of good a mere 24 hours after he was cursed and it was to save a young woman from another vampire who those 24 hours earlier he'd mentally marked as his own next victim no less (what bought her those 24 hours was that he'd just fed on the Kalderash gypsy and was sated). Unfortunately, he failed.
I found it fascinating that although he never spoke to this woman much less learned her name, she stuck with him.

There were a few untidy elements. I felt Cordelia and Doyle didn't have enough involvement in the case, the whole Kate Lockley angle was too much build up for a small piece of the puzzle that she wasn't really necessary to obtain and when she and Angel finally crossed paths it felt forced.

That's actually as much as I can say without giving away climactic details.

Overall, it was a good read.
4/5 stars.

Next up: 'Soul Trade'.
I've already ordered and obtained it but am currently working on 'A Wrinkle in Time' and an online friend got me addicted to Cangel fanfiction.
Due to the latter, it's taking me a while to read actual books these days hehe. Including this one.
 
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