It’s been a little bit since I re-entered R.M. Garino’s epic fantasy series, Chaos of Souls, but man, starting “Angels of Perdition” reminded me just how much I loved Garino’s writing. The immense world he’s crafted, and the complex political and familial intrigues he weaves into his stories, alongside some really wonderful action sequences, are just as well-crafted as I remember from the first book. This book is a chunky boy, but I never felt like it was undeserving of its length, like the author was unnecessarily waxing poetic. In fact, this book could have been another 50-100 pages longer and I wouldn’t have minded (and, in fact, would have welcomed it). But as this is the second book in the series, don’t read this review if you haven’t at least read the first book, as there are bound to be mild spoilers, but really, don’t let the size of these books keep you at arm’s length. This is a beautiful, epic NA fantasy that I still full-heartedly recommend to everyone and anyone who loves a good multiple POV, and intriguing fantasy series.
It did take me a little bit to get back into the series as there are a lot of characters and I couldn’t remember everyone immediately (and that pesky glossary of terms is till at the back of the book, grr), but once I got settled in the world again, I flew through this book. I loved seeing Angus and Arielle step fully into their relationship, loved seeing the Immortals remain such a tight nit group even though it meant defying orders at almost every opportunity they got, and I thoroughly enjoyed the mystery of who and what is driving the increase in darkness and danger around these elfy-angels. I love how Garino sets up his action, how it spreads over several chapters and POV’s so you can really see the conflict from multiple angles and from different perspectives. I got into such a flow with those chapters that hours would slip by without me ever noticing. Garino’s writing is a perfect balance between crisp and poetic, you have no trouble understanding what’s happening and still get swept up in the scene as if you were actually there. I also enjoyed seeing more of how the Sur affects those who go into it, though I didn’t always love how those who returned were treated.
The Sur is an evil place and those who return aren’t the same after—I liked that! But those who returned got this twisted form of therapy, which felt too much like it was a commentary on therapy in our world, and I got a little squirmy around that. Thankfully, the book doesn’t focus terribly long on that, and I liked that the character that suffered got a chance to atone. Also, keep in mind that the events mentioned in the synopsis don’t really start coming into play until about 70% into the story. That’s not to say that the start of the book is bad or slow, there’s a lot of set up that needs to get done so it doesn’t drag (except occasionally when Angus nerds out on his equations), but the meat of the plot takes a bit to get into position and then when all chaos begins to erupt it all just… ended. Seriously, there are cliffhangers and then there are books that just end and this story fell somewhere in between the two, and left me a little confused and upset all at once.
The author makes wonderfully complex characters that are flawed and courageous, working through their shortcomings and picking the path of their choosing, refusing to let others dictate their lives. Angus and Arielle’s Pride maintained their integrity and I loved them just as much this time as I did in the previous book, even if they frustrated me at times because they wouldn’t take even a single moment to listen to the adults when they tell them not to rush into danger. I loved seeing more of the threat within this supposedly idyllic city, as well as the threat looming outside their gates. I still have mixed feelings about the Elder, however, who is telling us the story of Angus and Arielle 300 years after the events of this book happened. Regardless, I thoroughly enjoyed this story, and the only reason I am giving this novel 4 stars instead of 5 is because of the abrupt cliffhanger at the end just when things felt like they were reaching an apex. It makes me wonder what will be left to explore in the 3rd book, and makes me all the more impatient to read the final book in this trilogy! I highly recommend this series to all my epic fantasy friends, and thanks to the author for sending me a copy for an honest review!
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