"My imagination has always topped anything a movie could come up with"
-Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning
This review is going to me a tough one to write. Why? Because it is so rare for me to have so much to say yet not enough words.
Most times I'm either speechless or you can't shut me up. Right now I'm both. Yes, I'm very well aware of the paradox.
But I don't give a damn.
Anyway, let's start this.
Lately I've given many 5 starts, more than I'm used to, and I consider myself lucky for that. But a 5 stars rating can mean so many different things- it can mean I loved the book, it can mean the book is really well written, and it can be a 4.5 stars rounded up, and it can be my gut telling me that even if I have tons to complain about it is a 5 stars book.
In Angelbound's case it is because the book is well written and the ARC had only 8 typos (in a book that is more than 300 pages, that's little, almost nothing). But more importantly, it's because this book is perfect for me.
There aren't so many books that I loved and managed to hold my interest from start to end. If you need an example I'd say- anything written by Ilona Andrews, The Fever series by Karen Marie Moning, Binding the Shadows by Jenn Bennett, Through the Smoke by Brenda Novak.
Now I can add to the list Christina Bauer.
Yes, there are many books I loved, but I'm an impatient reader. It's a gurantee somewhere along the ride I'd lose interest. Not here.
As I've already said this book is perfect for me- it has EVERY damned thing I want in a book- interesting world, great world building, realistic and great sidekicks- most characters have some hidden depth and we get to glimpse it, Myla is an amazing character, the love interest is totally swoon worthy, the relationship is mature with no love triangle, the love is building slowly and believably. You know what else? Myla has a true best friend that is a girl- not some stupid "Best" friend.
Most of the women here are strong willed and reliable just as the men.
No slut-shaming or stupidity.
With all this, I think this book is a breath of fresh air. But then I wonder fresh air to what? The answer: to almost every genre you'd like to put it in. New Adult or Young Adult, Fantasy or Urban Fantasy.
This book avoids my most hated tropes in all of them.
Now, I'll talk on every aspect the best I can:
The World Building:
Christina Bauer has created a really intriguing world in Angelbound beside the human world there are five realms-
1. Heaven (with angels, obviously)
2. Hell (with demons, because we can't avoid it)
3. The Dark Land (with Ghouls. Most of them are semi hated by me)
4. Autrum (with Thrax- half human half angels. Because they are cool) 5.Purgatory(with Quasi-Demons because damn are they hot?!)
The roles of the angels and the demons are no mystery, the ghouls keeps order and rules (they also portal people between the realms). While the thrax are hunting demons in the human world the Quasis are in charge of the souls- which go to heaven and which to hell.
This is where Myla comes in, but I'll get to it in a bit.
Sometimes, the residents of those realms mingle- an angel will mate with a ghoul or some other pairings.
Our story takes place in Purgatory- where the Quasis live. Purgatory is run by the ghouls and the Quasis are their servants, I'm not going to explain it because you need to read the book for that!
As I've already mentioned Quasis are the off springs of humans and demons- or at least they were at first, since there are plenty of them in Purgatory the Quasis breeds among themselves (mostly).
Each Quasi has a tail of some sort of animal- dragon tail (Myla) pig tail, dog tail, really the options are infinite. Also, each and every Quasi has an affinity to one of the seven deadly sins-
Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Envy, Wrath and Pride.
With each one comes certain skills- Envy can feel when someone's envy them, Lust are seductive and irresistible, Wrath are natural born warriors.
When a human dies, there's need to decide where his soul would go, thus can be decided by trial or combat. When choosing combat the soul can choose it's opponent from three options- ghoul, demon or Quasi. If the opponent is defeated the soul goes to heaven, if not then hell. Myla(our SUPER KICKASS heroine) is one of the arena's warriors. Fighting evil souls and beat them so they'll never get to heaven is her job, and she does it fantastically.
the fighting and action scenes in this book are enough to keep anyone happy- quantity and quality wise. The one responsible for transferring the soul to heaven or hell is the Scala- the one creature with human, demon and angel blood. Usually there are two of those- the Scala and the Scala heir.
I'll stop now, because I see I'm getting carried away.
The thing is, Christina Bauer has created a well-rounded world with definite rules and what I told you is just the tip of the ice-berg.
Also, the world building is done gradually without over tiring info-dumps. Each information comes exactly when it needed to come- not only in order to move the plot forward but also to allow the reader to understand things while the happen. There are no contradictions in the world building and no dropping of weird terms that will be discovered later once the author needs a way out .
The world and the book are so well built it is obvious the author paid great attention and thought to them both.
Before I continue to other aspects of the book, let me just say, even though I don't complain much about world building in other books- for me this aspect is the difference between 4 and 5 stars. So rarely do I really enjoy the world building in a book as much as I enjoyed it here
beside the really not important characters, those I doubt would appear on the second book, Each and every of the characters is rounded with depth and contradictions. And even as we learn of those, all their actions stay true to their nature
I'll talk about some of the characters right now.
Cissy- Myla's best friend. Hell, I can't explain how fucking annoying she was at times. I was really tempted to reach into the book, grab her by the shoulders and yell at her "Pay attention to your best friend!!!" she made mistakes, she ignored Myla's feelings at times, she was far from a perfect best friend and yet, she was there for Myla when she needed her most. She understood Myla most times, and she apologized when she fucked up. And that what made her a true friend. In most UF books the heroine does not have a best friend that is that much present in her friend's adventures and life. In NA books the best friend is rarely a real friend and in YA books with paranormal elements most of the times the best friend is just there to show how amazing and extraordinary the MC is. Well, Myla isextraordinary, but so is her friend. Cissy is this gentle girl that saves lost things, she is this girl who had an obsessive crush on someone for years, she's the girl who stands on her own when she wants something and will not be pushed and stomped on. And it's wonderful to see that the author paid attention to her character while writing this book. It's wonderful to know that Myla has such a good best friend, even if annoying at times.
Zeke- Myla's friend and Cissy's huge crush. Honestly, he's a player and he can't shut his mouth. But he also shows other sides of him later, he takes risks to help Myla, he cares about Cissy. And his playboy acts are just a façade as much as they are real.
Walker- I wouldn't go so far as to say he is made of contradictions. But he is there for Myla, he's a true friend and he knows more than he lets on.
Armageddon- The king of hell and the big bad guy. Really, you can't be the king of hell and not being the big bad guy. At least not in this book. But damn, he was terrifying, of the pure evil kind. He's a power hungry sadist, and he's so good at what he does. His level of scheming can compete Verus's.
Verus- The representative of the angels. Sweet heavens, I simply adore the little minx- while everyone on the board play backgammon she plays chess. You can never take her words of what they are, because even if she can't lie, there are plenty of other things she can do.
Myla's mom- I think she is one of the most complex characters in this book. an overbearing mother, she's a scardy cat, she worries about her daughter constantly, she has depressions and every so often you catch a glimpse of something else- of fire and steel. I can’t talk about her in details as her contradictions are very important to the plot.
Lincoln's Mother- the Thrax queen. I won't say much about her, but she is a warrior and a fighter in society that is dominated by men. Where women are mainly there to be protected.
Myla- I've talked about other characters so much, it's time to cut the bullshit. Myla is amazing by every standard possible, in my opinion. She looks good (and she knows it), she fights (damn well), she stands on her own, she's a warrior and she takes shit from no one. Myla is a Quasi furor demon, which means that beside being a natural born warrior she has an affinity to both wrath and lust and she has a dragon tail. When she wants to know something she'd push all the buttons and go to anywhere she needs in order to get the information she sought. Even when she meets Lincoln and is instantly attracted to him physically she acknowledge that he's a jerk, and she doesn't caught him some slack just because he looks good. She demands his respect, and she doesn't respect him until he proves worthy of it. She's also very kind. In my humble opinion Myla balances well between being a total Kickass and being gentle. She cares, she is not a tomboy and she does not mock girls- only irrational and foolish behavior. She cries, she gets injured and hurt, she's not perfect. She's afraid at times, she doesn't always think things through, but she learns from her mistakes. And she stays true to herself and her nature throughout the book.
It is no secret I'm a fan of Kate Daniels (Seriously, how can you not love that girl?), well, I love Myla just as much. She's just as kickass as kate, just as sharped tongued, almost just as funny, but unlike Kate, Myla is not emotionally detached (yes, Kate is a little detached and she's closed), she doesn't push people away, she's mature and childish in a balanced way. She is fun. If Kate is a bad guy that chose to be good, then Myla is a good humble guy that stays good.
Lincoln- The Thrax prince, the love interest and a royal pain in the ass…at first. It is not hard to make me swoon over a swoon worthy guy, and it is not hard to make me hate/dislike a jackass. But you know what? I hardly can do both. I know, I know that many women around the world love Mr. Darcy, I'm not one of them. He was a stupid, prideful jackass in the beginning and even as his intentions became clear, even as he was redeemed, even as he apologized, I couldn't help but hold a grudge. He hadn't changed, not entirely. And what made me not like him from start remained there by the end. On the other hand I like Jericho Barrons (even though he doesn't turn my oven on) and I liked Curran even though he was annoying at first, because I understood why both men acted like they did from start. And here we have Lincoln- he starts out like a prejudiced jackass, calling Quasis 'demons', refusing to understand the difference while acting so high and mighty. That pissed me off. I black listed him right away . I really found it impossible to think that I'll like him in the end. That he would end up worthy of Myla . but he did, he so did. And not by doing a sudden change of 180 degrees. No. By slowly unraveling and showing his true nature and good points. Little by little he showed respect for Myla when she proved worthy of it. He showed his gentle side. He showed his fair side- the side that would care for a demon because this demon could not protect itself. He thanks Myla for saving one of his own and stands up for her even when the idiot she saved fails to understand that he is an idiot. And when Myla gets injured he takes care of her. He also apologize once he realizes his mistakes. And the way he supports and loves Myla is so swoon worthy that I call dibs on Lincoln as my book boyfriend and main squeeze
Other interesting aspects to talk about in this book
I won't say who, what or when, but let's just say Christina Bauer know how to create totally swoon worthy guys- the kind that is dependable, supportive, cute, nice, manly and totally loved you.
Also, the relationship between Myla and Lincoln is one of the best I've ever seen. While the attraction between them might be instant, their relationship and love are not. It takes time for the feelings to appear and grow, but once they do- well let's just say it's the mature kind and not the stupidlit obsessive kind. They are synchronized- even when they fight something together. They understand each other perfectly. They support each other. When Myla decides to do something dangerous Lincoln tells her he is not happy with that and that he is worried but he doesn't try to change her mind. He understand her choices and supports her. Myla does the same for him. Considering how many stakes are against them, it's lovely to see that they work as one unit and don't add wood to the fire. They care so much about each other that whenever one of them is insecure the other chases those insecurities away. If Lincoln thinks some guy is interested in Myla and that she may be somewhat interested too, Myla quickly tells him it's not like that, and vice versa. They trust each other. If Lincoln has some bad news and Myla is already aware of them, she lets him know that she's aware of the situation because she doesn't want him to hurt while saying that. He tells her he has a plan and she tells him she trust him. their bond is that deep .
Myla's tail- that thing can only be described as BEST SIDEKCIK IN THE HISTORY OF TIME. Witched would give up their familiars for such a tail if they knew it existed. Really, that tail is another character and a wonderful one at that. Funny too. I absolutely freaking love it!
The end of the book is somewhat bittersweet, both Lincoln and Myla make some tough choices, both understand and respect those choices. Still, somehow, I know they will be OK.
So, the next book comes out on May 2014, and It is one of my top five most anticipated books of 2014. I would attach myself a tail and take a picture with it if it would help me get an early copy of the book.
If so far, I haven't been clear as to how much I loved this book I would give you more indication- This is one of the books I REALLY want in print. If it was available in paperback or even hardcover I'd totally buy it! [yep, I loved it that much to the moon and back and round earth 20 M times].
A copy was kindly provided to me by Ink Monster through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I'm grateful for the opportunity to read it.
For this Review and more visit my blog The Accidental Reader
moooore please, I need the second book ASAP. More of Myla and Lincoln, pleeease :D
anyway, review to come in a few short days. and it's one I'm going to really enjoy writing.