“Fallen” is unlike any Urban Fantasy I have read before. You have a world populated by classic high fantasy creatures—elves and orcs just to name a few—plus humans in a modern-day Boston. To top it off, the Christian mythos with angels and heaven are real in this world, even if church goers don’t believe a literal angel when they meet one. I thought that contrast was the most interesting of all, but I’m getting ahead of myself. We follow Cassiel, a fallen angel, as she learns to navigate a world she’s never been to before, as she has been tasked with guarding the gates of heaven for her whole existence. No one believes her when she tells them who she is, which allows for the reader to learn about this version of our world through her eyes. It’s not until a murder in the church she is taking refuge in kicks off a series of events with demons and drug dealers that people truly start to believe Cassiel when she says she is the only weapon capable of facing off against this threat—even wounded as she is.
It takes a bit to get situated in this version of Boston, I will say. For the most part there being multiple types of fantasy races populating the world doesn’t really matter outside of being used as a way to talk about racial issues that aren’t dissimilar to what we face in the “real world”. Having them in this Urban Fantasy does, however, build the foundation for the world for the rest of the series to come, where the different groups and factions may come more in to play. The start of the book is also a bit slow, which is a bit odd for such a short book, where the main plot points in the synopsis don’t even begin to be hinted at until closer to the 30% mark. That being said, I did enjoy the diversity in the cast of characters with a disabled character and gay characters all playing prominent roles in the story. But once you’re in the story, you’re IN it and things move quickly from there.
Once the excitement of the main plot kicks in, and Cassiel is firmly set up as a character, this book was quite the fun ride! For an angel, Cassiel never read as overpowered or even preachy, which I enjoyed. It’s all too easy for books that deal with angels or the Christian mythos to get overly biblical with their story, and “Fallen” doesn’t do that, which then allows the actual story of people trying to make up for past mistakes to really shine through. The (mostly platonic) relationships between the characters in this story are fierce, and sometimes messy, and I loved how real that made them all feel despite their fantastic origins. I just wish I had been more immersed in the world and story faster, which is why this gets 4 stars from me, but it’s otherwise such a refreshing Urban Fantasy that I cannot recommend it enough! And thanks to the author for providing me a copy for an honest review.
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