Sunday, October 31, 2021

Review: A Terrible Fall of Angels by Laurell K. Hamilton

by Laurell K. Hamilton
Release Date: August 17, 2021
2021 Berkley
Kindle Edition; 400 Pages
ISBN: 978-1984804464
Audiobook: B091FTKXMX
Genre: Fiction/Urban Fantasy
Source: Review copy from publisher
3 / 5 Stars
Meet Detective Zaniel Havelock, a man with the special ability to communicate directly with angels. A former trained Angel speaker, he devoted his life to serving both the celestial beings and his fellow humans with his gift, but a terrible betrayal compelled him to leave that life behind. Now he’s a cop who is still working on the side of angels. But where there are angels, there are also demons. There’s no question that there’s evil at work when he’s called in to examine the murder scene of a college student—but is it just the evil that one human being can do to another, or is it something more? When demonic possession is a possibility, even angelic protection can only go so far. The race is on to stop a killer before he finds his next victim, as Zaniel is forced to confront his own very personal demons, and the past he never truly left behind.
My Thoughts
A Terrible Fall of Angels intrigued me due to the focus on angels and demons, and I was interested to see what this author would make of the subject matter in a new, and different, series.  And while I was intrigued by the world she is building, I did have mixed feelings about the characters and the story line as well as the way it was written.  
Zaniel "Havoc" Havelock is an experienced detective who spent his formative years at the College of Angels; this gives him a unique perspective in his job as he battles both normal, and paranormal, foe.  Having left the angelic life, he spent time in the military then became a police officer, using his unique skills to solve cases that involve paranormal beings.  The current case in this novel actually forces him to finally confront his past as his former world and his current world are now colliding and he can no longer avoid the memories nor the people with whom he grew up.  I like this exploration of the past, and the trauma that Zaniel has to confront as I think it is realistic; you can only avoid the past for so long before it catches up with you and I found this aspect of the novel interesting.  However, I have always loved psychological stuff like this. 
I was not a fan of some of the characters however, and was indifferent to their plights. Is this due to poor character development, or does the author just not see how some of these characters are seen by her readers, I just don't know. But I was not a fan of Zaniel's wife.  Zaniel's job as a detective puts him in danger and she could not deal with that fact, so the two of them are separated.  Zaniel spends a lot of time ruminating on his marriage, and the conversations between him and his wife were my least favourite parts of this book.  Sorry, but she was just a poorly written character, and I didn't like her.  When Zaniel didn't look at her, she was mad.  When Zaniel looked at her, she was mad.  And it went on and on.  She controls everything, and he has to be so careful around her.  Sorry, that is not marriage.  When you can't be yourself around the person you love, then maybe it's time to move on. Luckily, he tends to stick to who he is and is not necessarily willing to compromise what he has worked so hard for, and his own job, just for her.  But there is a child involved, and Zaniel dearly misses his son.  I honestly hope this situation resolves soon so we don't have to read about it for books on end.

The early sections of the book were full of action, and I had high hopes the book would continue like that.  Nope. The book got bogged down by overly long explanations and dialogues between characters that lasted for entire chapters and, to be honest, I got bored, and needed to read something else in between. I don't need overly long explanations, just give me the story.  I had no issues with the religious elements in the story, in fact I found them quite interesting, and I am definitely looking forward to learning more about that world and some of the angels.  And there were a lot of little side stories that I think will set up future novels if you paid attention, some of which I was disappointed over as they weren't explained or developed, so I do really hope they are in future books.   And while I have nothing against political correctedness, there was an overabundance of it in this story. I like it when an author goes out of their way to be inclusive, but it has to flow within the novel not sound as if it thrown in to say, Look at me! I am being inclusive! And if the author was so worried about that, she wouldn't have mentioned Zaniel's abs on every other page and the way he stared at other women, but gosh, he was married so he shouldn't be doing that, and how he needed to slouch as women were just drawn to him like bees to honey!!  Yes, I got it. He's good-looking.  

A Terrible Fall of Angels does have a lot of things going for it.  There are a lot of mysterious elements that were introduced, but not fully explained; characters and their relationships that were not fully fleshed out; and, a new setting that is just being explored in terms of political structure, angels and demons, and humans, and how they are interconnect.  The actions scenes were interesting and definitely got my interest, but there were a lot of times when things got bogged down through pages and pages of dialogue, and nothing really happened.  There was enough in this book to make me interested in reading the next one when it is released.