Review: Angels of Darkness by Ilona Andrews
Three of these authors have been favourites of mine. The fourth one I like, but isn't a favourite. This anthology was one of the best I've read for me in a long time. There was very little sex and that was fine by me. These were all so well written I'm blown away.
Angel's Wolf by Nalini Singh ★★★★★
Ms. Singh writes paranormal romances in a way that appeals to me. She creates a world lovingly which balances good and evil quite well. There are no rosy coloured glasses for her. Betrayal of trust is a popular theme for her. I like it because it is realistic to life. There are no happy endings. While she does have happily for now, I tend to think of her endings as bittersweet, specifically the Guild Hunter series. These, somebody always dies. Someone is always tortured or there is pain visited. I like this darkness and find it gives her stories a robustness and depth that other authors have difficulty capturing.
In Angel's Wolf, not all is what it seems. A broken vampire is relegated to an angel. But is he really broken? And is he really tossed away? The pull between these the angel and the broken vampire is a treat to watch. The ending twist is bittersweet and brings a sorrow which can not be fully expressed but with a heavy heart and forgiveness. I love this type. It's not exactly a lose-lose situation, but no one wins.
Alphas:Origins by Ilona Andrews ★★★★★
This is an amazing new world from author Ilona Andrews. I'm BLOWN away. This urban fantasy with an underlying threat of menace just made me want to sit up and beg. Well, the alphas in this story make me want to beg. I wouldn't mind being Lucas's slave. I'd submit. Then again, his brother Daniel seems to be more my type. I like the way he thinks. I am a sick sick puppy. The world Ilona Andrews creates is out of this world. I LOVE IT! I want to read more. I'm fascinated by the merge of sci-fiction into this urban fantasy. The survival of the fittest mixed combined with Douglas Adams' HitchHiker's Guide to the Galaxy just flat out did it for me. With a slight Start Trek-esque watcher twist, I'm hooked in and I want to read more! I hope there is more on the horizon for this work as there is no further mentioning of this story by the duo writing as Ilona Andrews.
It's not only the world I like in this book. It's how the characters interact. Lucas is definitely the "big bad". Karina is Alice in Wonderland fallen through a particularly nasty rabbit hole. The sexual tension between the two is fabulous. There is no sex in this story, yet it had me heavily aroused and wanting so badly to jump my DH. Or more, have him shove me against the wall and take me. This is how good the author is in writing stories with sexual tension. I love how the people in this world are ruthless. This ruthlessness appeals to me. I also enjoyed Henry's mediation type dialog. Point to him. Point to her. Hmm, we are all going to die now...If for no other reason, this story alone makes the entire anthology worth the price.
Nocturne by Sharon Shinn ★★★★
We return to the Archangel world in this story. I've read several different series of Ms. Shinn. I have to admit, this is my favourite series. The others were between okay to a dud for me. I'm not saying they were bad. I'm just saying they didn't do a bloody thing for me. This sci-fi fantasy story with creatures called Angels due to their wings is a series I adored. The world building is reminiscent of Ms. McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern. This one instead, deals with Angels. LOVE IT! This novella was short and sweet. I can't quite give it a 5 star, but I did really enjoy it.
What I liked with was the attitude of Moriah. She's a survivor and who seems to have quite the chip on her shoulder. I liked how she prodded and poked at the self-pitying Corban. The two of them together was like watching a cat and dog fight. Pretty amusing and in the end, quite sweet. This is the first story in the anthology with a happily ever after. And it's the only one with sex in it. Well, it was mentioned but really, it was glossed over. It was just right as the story's focal point was erotica. It's a story about overcoming obstacles - never giving up. I like this message.
Ascension by Meljean Brook ★
Ms. Brook is a hit or miss for me. Lately, she's a miss more oft than not. I'm not going to include her score in with the rest because I don't want the book to be a 3 star. This is the only story I could take it or leave it. This world of angels questioning the existing of a higher being and God just rubs me the wrong way. I have a very odd sense of how God can be involved in a storyline. Ms. Brook's story crosses that hazy line for me. Religious ideology conflicts aside, the story was well written. I liked Marc and felt Rahda was a smug little bitch. I didn't care for her. Her attitude and sense of being wronged by Marc was catty on her part. She's not angelic. In fact, I'd say that she's more manipulative like a demon. Her whole misunderstanding with Marc from 150 years ago was a bit dumb for me. Really, what did she expect? It wasn't a secret that Marc wanted to be celibate. What did she think he would do when he finally succumbed to her year long of sexually teasing? Then for her to feel "injured" due to eavesdropping on his prayers? If there's one thing I've learned in life, eavesdropping will only give you candid feedback about yourself that you might not want to hear. So do it at your own risk. She couldn't take it. And when he tried to talk to her w/o knowing about this, she shuts him out for 150 years. Talk about a bitch giving the cold shudder. What a cunt. The more I think about this situation, the more I feel badly for Marc and I keep dropping the rating for this story. Based on writing alone, this is a 3 star rating. Based the storyline and the conflict, I give it a 1 star. Radha doesn't deserve Marc. March is the one who requires an apology for Radha. For a happily ever after reconciliation with Radha shown as the one who needs to forgive - poor form. I disagree and think less of the writer because of it. I would average the 3 and 1 to a 2 star, but as it turns out, I didn't like this story so I'm going to leave it at a 1 star.
Overall, I recommend the first three stories highly. The first three are beautifully woven stories that just take you away into a wonderful world of Angels. The last one is a take it or leave it. Well written but a disappointing manufactured conflict with an unjust resolution.