**spoiler alert** Just read through a few other reviews and I feel like I have read a different book than everyone else, or perhaps just had different...more**spoiler alert** Just read through a few other reviews and I feel like I have read a different book than everyone else, or perhaps just had different expectations. In the past few years, I have stepped away from the urban fantasy genre because I felt like it was getting watered down with a lot of bad authors and writing. This book did not dissuade me of that notion. I began reading urban fantasy at the beginning with Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series and have read all of the Dresden Files books and Rachel Caine Weather Warden books. That is as far as I have gone in the genre and I think it will stay that way. The writing is average at best and lacking in originality. I hate when an author uses the same descriptive phrases over and over again. Buy a thesaurus, please. There weren't many surprises in the story and plot. Another predictable heroine who doesn't start off very bad ass but ends up that way. Her original gift is that she is an Agent-an Agent of death, if you will. She has wings and collects the souls of the dead and delivers them on to the afterlife. I loved the idea of this and I wish this book had focused more on this part of her life. More detail could have been spent on the agency she works for, how the whole thing works. The book begins and immediately the sexy guy moves in downstairs. Okay, fine, there is always a sexy guy. And the reader is then pitched into one fight after the next. Supernatural bad guys are suddenly coming out of the woodwork to attack our heroine. And just as suddenly and amazingly she has these magic powers! Wow, how in the world did that happen? Soon Maddy, our agent of death, is wrapped up into a world of angels, demons, devils and lots of bad guys including the king bad guy himself, Lucifer. The thing that bothered me the most about this whole book and the premise for the series is that the demons are treated like good guys. These poor beings aren't evil, well some of them are. I mean, I think I would freak the hell out if I found out my father was a high ranking demon. Maddy does not. There are lots of interesting rules for the Kingdom of Hell. And apparently the fallen angels were only kicked out because they mated with humans. Not for any other reason. So they aren't really evil, they just wanted to love humans. Um, what? Don't get me wrong everybody, I am not a church going, satan fearing person. But there are somethings that one comes to expect when one reads about demons and the devil. And that is not to look at these characters in a sympathetic light. The whole time I just wanted to tell Maddy to run far away, or to kill them all. I just can't accept demons and devils as "good" guys, I just can't. And the fact that the main character wasn't freaked out at all by her family ties just bugs me. So this series isn't for me, that much I can tell you. The heroine wasn't a bad character and the sexy guy was ok. The bad guys were powerful but it was annoying that every time Maddy faced a bad guy that she couldn't beat, all of the sudden she had a new magic power that could defeat them. She would be badly injured and healed easily by her sexy demon friend. There isn't much suspense in that. There was one part of the story that I very much enjoyed and that was the story of Evangeline. I won't completely spoil the entire book, I will just say that the history of Evangeline held my interest more than anything in the book. If you are getting tired of the urban fantasy genre and looking for something new, this isn't it. Keep searching. If you like the same characters and plot rehashed again, read this book. If it bothers you that demons are good guys, skip this book. If you can turn off that part of your brain that associates Lucifer with pure evil, give this book a try for a different take on angels and demons. I am vaguely interested to know if the author ever addresses heaven and heavenly angels and if she somehow turns them into bad guys. But I am not interested enough to continue with this series. I would say this is good, light, beach reading but it isn't since there isn't even any hot sex in it. (less)
I've read a handful of Nora Roberts books and I have enjoyed this one the most, so far. I liked both of the characters a lot and the murder mystery. S...moreI've read a handful of Nora Roberts books and I have enjoyed this one the most, so far. I liked both of the characters a lot and the murder mystery. Strong women always appeal to me, as do the men who aren't afraid to love them. I do feel a couple of the characters seemed a little extraneous but I guess Nora Roberts just wanted more options for who the murderer could be. The pacing was good, there was enough detail to describe the town and people without it being overwhelming. This was definitely light reading, nothing here to stress your brain, but enjoyable all the same.(less)
Good book, yes. Good sci-fi, yes. Is it the be all and end all of science fiction? No. I enjoyed it and read it quickly. But I felt like it was lackin...moreGood book, yes. Good sci-fi, yes. Is it the be all and end all of science fiction? No. I enjoyed it and read it quickly. But I felt like it was lacking something. I feel like the characterization of Ender was lacking something. Were the children really smarter than the adults? It didn't seem like it. Ender never losing at anything didn't prove he was the smartest mind ever. I enjoyed seeing how he was manipulated by the adults and how he tried to counter it. What was with the Valentine and Peter parts? Loved that Card came up with the internet and blogging decades before it happened. But what did that have to do with Ender? Wished there were more female characters but this was written in the 70's. We were lucky to have one strong female character in the school. Lots of mixed emotions about this book but I gave it a high rating anyway.(less)
I am not even sure why I gave this book 2 stars, but I know there are people out there that might like this sort of book. Just don't think about the p...moreI am not even sure why I gave this book 2 stars, but I know there are people out there that might like this sort of book. Just don't think about the plot. Don't question what a Deputy Director of Operations actually does for the CIA. Don't question exactly what the first chapter of the book is about. Don't worry about the partial amnesia. Just sit back and try to enjoy what is supposed to be a fast paced book with a complex plot. Complex? No. Confusing? Yes. Weak, pathetic heroine that I wanted to slap? Check. Overly hot man that comes to her rescue for no good reason? Check. For someone that reads and enjoys Tom Clancy, this was torture to read. I do not normally read romance novels but a co-worker swore this one was really good. I finished the book and I still don't even know what the title is referring to. And for the record, everything about the plot is just not believable.(less)
Finally got this one on e-book since it is out of print. Now I know why it is out of print, it is terrible. Poor, stiff characterizations. Bad plot. I...moreFinally got this one on e-book since it is out of print. Now I know why it is out of print, it is terrible. Poor, stiff characterizations. Bad plot. I kept reading only because I wanted to know what magic rabbit they were going to pull out of their butts to save themselves. I was rewarded for sticking it out to the end with a terrible "romance" involving McKay! Ugh. Awful. There was some interesting stuff and some interesting ideas. But how many times can Sheppard get in trouble for disobeying orders? Read it if your SGA withdrawal is great, but know that this one isn't very good.(less)
I absolutely adore Shinn's Archangel series but I haven't been able to get into any of her other books, though I haven't tried them all. I picked this...moreI absolutely adore Shinn's Archangel series but I haven't been able to get into any of her other books, though I haven't tried them all. I picked this one up for some light, romantic reading where the romance is not the entire story. This book certainly fulfilled that aspect. I always enjoy Shinn's approach to romance-it is not heavy handed and full of sex like so many books these days. You know who the romantic interest is and you get to watch them approach each other, slowly become friends and then the blossoming of something more. In between, there are disagreements, arguments, laughter, and exploration. The world building is good, but not quite as in depth as I like. The most interesting part in the world is the "magical" system, for lack of a better term. It is based on five elements of water/blood, air/soul, wood/bone, fire/mind, and earth/flesh. Which reminded me strongly of the tarot suits. There are five ruling families for each element and every person in the kingdom is associated with at least one element. Usually one major element and one minor. There are five seasons, based on the elements. The use of the five elements pops up in many places. If you are familiar with the tarot, you will see the similarities with the suits and with the court cards. The court cards definitely match up with many of the characters. The main character, Zoe, is water. And it turns out she is the strongest water person in the kingdom, which gives her control over all of the water in the kingdom and even more interestingly, the blood in everyone's bodies. I wished this had been explored more. And each ruling family also has a "Prime" who is the strongest in that element. This should have been explored more as well. At one point, the five Primes come together and hold hands. They experience an extraordinary balance. This is a fantastic idea that seemed wasted. Maybe it will be explored in more books? There was a lot of talk about the kingdom being in balance with the elements but this wasn't really explored much.
The book follows Zoe's journey as she discovers her powers, meets her love, and figures out what the heck she is going to do with her life after the death of her father. We learn about her father's past as part of the royal court and how it influences her life. There is a decent back story here. Once she accepts her powers and her place at the head of her family, we follow Zoe at the royal court. Shinn tries to work some royal politics into the plot but this is not Game of Thrones. This is light politics. There are no real villains here, no great back stabbing political story. There are stereotypical bad guys that lead us to confrontations. The final confrontation seems half hearted by Shinn yet Zoe's response to it seems to come out of nowhere and is very extreme, to me.
On the whole, I enjoyed the book. If a sequel is written, I would read it. Mostly in the hopes that it reached the depths that this book could have reached. There is a lot of potential in this world, in these characters, and especially in the magic system. It felt like she just skimmed the surface of it. For certain this book is a quick, light-hearted read that gives you the warm romantic fuzzies without being filled with sex. The characters are strong and appealing-especially a lot of the secondary ones. This is not a hard core fantasy book and it is not a hard core romance book, it is a watered down version of both. It would be great on a snowed-in weekend, in front of a fire. Or as beach reading. The sound of the ocean would be great accompaniment to a book that has a lot to do with water! (less)
I don't want to include any spoilers at all so I will keep this brief. I enjoyed this book as much as the first and read it just as quickly. But this...moreI don't want to include any spoilers at all so I will keep this brief. I enjoyed this book as much as the first and read it just as quickly. But this book seemed to jump quickly from one thing to the next, which I didn't enjoy. I wish there was more to the book. I know the jumps were most likely to keep the pace going but sometimes it was just too jarring. I would flip back to the page before to make sure I hadn't skipped a page, that's how abrupt it seemed at times. I would read back to see if I had missed a transition into a new scene but I hadn't. The author would just leave off in the middle of a scene and start in the beginning of another scene, without ending/starting a new chapter. I did not like that at all and I don't remember it being so noticeable in the first book. I agree with many other reviews, Tris became too angst ridden and drama filled in this book for me and Four was boring. These didn't seem like the same characters from the first book. I know Tris has been through a lot and is dealing with all of the emotional repercussions, but this is not the same girl who left her family for a life of freedom living with the Dauntless. And Four is nowhere near as cool and mysterious as he seemed in the first book. He seems way too concerned with their relationship. And really people? The ending was a surprise to you? It ends on a cliffhanger, something that many people have claimed to have been surprised by, but I was not. Still, a mostly entertaining read and I will be back for the third book to see how it all plays out.(less)