A Terrible Fall of Angels by Laurell K. Hamilton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I'm of two minds on this. Let me break down this review into both A: I'm very familiar with everything LKH has written and I'm comparing this to that and B: let's just objectively rate this book based on nothing more than itself.
A: It's not a sexcapade! Yay! It's full of supernatural stuff, police procedural stuff, and some really cool nasties that fall in the category of both Angels and Demons. In my humble opinion, LKH has always done these things very well. The sexcapade stuff was often a take it or leave it kind of thing until it became almost everything and left all the wonderful supernatural, police procedural, and cool nasties to flounder in the dirt.
Does this stack up with the other delightful snark and cute plushy early Anita? No. It has a lot it has to introduce and isn't as sharply focused as that series. Indeed, there's a lot of worldbuilding and changes of pace going on here that may or may not annoy some people. I personally enjoyed the new, wide stage. A school of angel speakers, all other kinds of magic practitioners, all uneasily adapted to the modern world but fully integrated for all that. I like it. The only real kind of subtext here is not about free love or anything but about MENTAL HEALTH. To me, that's pretty damn refreshing and welcome. We're all a bunch of crazies or live with crazies and then there's also the people who really do suffer from honest tragedies and they are treated with RESPECT. I love that.
B: Taking the book on its own merits, or at least comparing it to the general UF field, I have to admit that it begins fairly strong, quickly becomes a muddled mess until we finally get some character building, history, and a sense of who Havlock is, but after that, I had no problem with his meeting up with his old schoolmates in odd circumstances. It made me invested in the book more than the first half which was just police procedural without us having been broken in.
That isn't to say it was a particularly bad UF. It could have been more streamlined, maybe a different better order of introduction, but I was perfectly happy to roll with the whole book because I still have faith in the author's ability to pull off some interesting things.
And the angels ARE interesting. Think actual bible descriptions and not these weirdos with wings except when they're forcing themselves into good behavior. And they really don't have much free will. It's an interesting dynamic.
Putting all of it together, I have to say I'm NOT as invested as I want to be but I AM invested enough to continue on with the series and write this one off as a solid introduction.
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