Ryoko's Reviews > Archon: The Books of Raziel

Archon by Sabrina Benulis
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's review
Jan 30, 12

bookshelves: sff
Read in January, 2012

I just have to point out something interesting. That is the fact that Benulis' editor is Diana Gill. Now, it may not be a big deal to anyone else but me. However, my idol is Kim Harrison and through her I have recently come to thoroughly enjoy Vicki Pettersson. All three share the same editor. Sensing a pattern? I am, and it is a happy one. I must now endeavor to find all the other authors under Gill's editorial wing. I will admit that, comparatively, Benulis is my least favorite of the three but that does not diminish her in the least in my eyes. This is Benulis' first novel. I think she has real potential. Her world is interesting and has depths that have yet to be plumbed. I will be sticking with Benulis because it was a fun read and I believe she will only get better with time (plus reading her bio I see she is oneofusoneofusoneofusss and I always want us to succeed).

As for the thing that undermined her novel and caused me to only give it three stars, it is this: showing versus telling. It seems Benulis tells when she should show and vice versa. I am a discerning buyer. I always read samples and check the one-star reviews before I purchase a book. I noticed the complaints about not being able to connect with the main character or not knowing what was going on period and, as I read (for they were not enough to put me off given that I enjoyed the sample), I tried to understand why people have felt this way. I comprehended most everything but it did occur to me as I began to feel more for Stephanie and Naamah (who is decidedly my favorite character) than for Angela, that this is the reason why people felt disconnected. With the story being told from Angela's perspective, Benulis had to *show* the reader Stephanie's character through her actions--which did leave a much better and more personal impression of the character. This combined with the few chapters from her perspective allowed me to understand how she came to be who she was.

Sadly, I cannot say the same for Angela. We are *told* a lot of things about her, but that doesn't really tell us anything. We know about her past, her desires, and other things, but this doesn't really let us get to know her character. Things that should have been hard to swallow (like about her parents) and tragic had me shrugging my shoulders and saying whatever. I also found myself mystified by a lot of her behavior during the book due to the telling vs. showing. I had no idea what she would do at a given moment. I expected her to act differently toward Kim too. She is an interesting character and I wish I could have been able to know her better. Perhaps in the next book...

ETA: I forgot to mention that this story, while enjoyable, is not original in the slightest. For those familiar with Angel Sanctuary the same themes (and indeed angels--hello dear Rosiel, nice to see you alive and well here! And is that a reverse Alexiel/Setsuna? Why yes, I think so. And I'm sure there are more, but I haven't read AS in about a decade.) are easy to spot here.

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