This extraordinary novel is the second in a trilogy about angels, the likes of which you’ll never meet. If you did, you wouldn’t recognize them. Verlaine, one of the two main characters, can recognize them. He is now an official angelologist, sworn to kill them. He met the other main character, Evangeline, in the first novel. She is again present to tempt him, but strangely slippery and not a main focus of the plot.
The thrust of Angelopolis is different from the first one. In one interview the author stated that the sequel has more action. It does indeed. However, that is one of the two weaknesses of this book. Verlaine seems inept in his ability to manage the retrieval of his weapon from whatever device he carries it in, and when he gets close to his prey (oddly enough they don’t seem to worry that he’s there) he cannot manage to capture the beast.
These angels are truly beasts. They are portrayed as sadistic, immoral, beautiful, awe-inspiring, and they are pursuing a variety of agendas – definitely not the will of whatever God rules this reality. These are not your childhood angels, although their names are familiar. Most of them.
The action begins in Paris. A mutilated body is discovered and Verlaine fears it is Evangeline. The last time he saw her was ten years ago, and much has changed since then. We are never told what she had been doing with her angel self in all that time. He has become an angel hunter, but he is not your typical action figure. It’s not my intent to disparage these fascinating protagonists. But, believe me, the author stretches one’s ability to suspend disbelief. Particularly in one scene where Verlaine and two other angel hunters are involved with a moving train. Really?
The second weakness is Trussoni’s tendency to use her characters to give us lectures on art, history, and the inside scoop on historical personages (rulers with nasty genetic makeups). To give her credit, the characters keep you reading and you will be taken on a literary trip from Paris to Russia, home of the Faberge Eggs, true art for art’s sake. Eight of the original eggs are missing, but the plot and search to find them leads us onward. One of them is on the cover and its beauty is undeniable.
Verlaine and Bruno are both obsessed with hunting and killing angels, as the society/agency they work for intends to wipe them out. They are personally obsessed with their own secret longings for Eno (Bruno’s wicked angel who works for the Gregori) and Evangeline (who seems to be on her own throughout—until…), Verlaine’s love object. The sexuality of these two angels is described often enough that the reader could probably recognize them—if they were real, that is.
Angels have become outrageous in their ability to live among humans and be ignored or simply accepted as part of the on-going tendency of humans toward eccentricity. One after another, the angels reflect the flaws in humans. Perhaps that’s what you get when you are a fallen angel, or your genetic makeup is a combination of angel and human. The Watchers are again part of the plot, which becomes truly twisted toward the end of the book.
I hesitate to say it, but reading this fantasy is a four star experience. It will, however, make the back of your neck prickly.
MaryLu McFall is the author of A Little Karmic Murder, an eBook that is available on Kindle, Nook, and all other electronic readers. She lives, works part-time at an independent bookstore, and will soon have her Young Adult novel, The Family Lancaster, published as an eBook as well.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Viking Adult. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.