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A Terrible Fall of Angels

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Angels walk among us, but so do other unearthly beings in this brand new series by #1 New York Times Bestselling author Laurell K. Hamilton. 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 ter Angels walk among us, but so do other unearthly beings in this brand new series by #1 New York Times Bestselling author Laurell K. Hamilton. 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. The first in a new series from the author of the Anita Blake and Merry Gentry series.


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Angels walk among us, but so do other unearthly beings in this brand new series by #1 New York Times Bestselling author Laurell K. Hamilton. 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 ter Angels walk among us, but so do other unearthly beings in this brand new series by #1 New York Times Bestselling author Laurell K. Hamilton. 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. The first in a new series from the author of the Anita Blake and Merry Gentry series.

30 review for A Terrible Fall of Angels

  1. 4 out of 5

    OutlawPoet

    Um…LKH? This you, girl??? So I totally hesitated when deciding whether or not to read this. I sort of think LKH readers come in a couple of different types. There are those of us who love the butt-kicking women and the enthralling supernaturals, but are a little tired of the insert this body part into this one and this one and this one squicky orgies. And then there those of us who also love the butt-kicking women and the enthralling supernaturals but also love all the squicky orgies. I’m the plea Um…LKH? This you, girl??? So I totally hesitated when deciding whether or not to read this. I sort of think LKH readers come in a couple of different types. There are those of us who love the butt-kicking women and the enthralling supernaturals, but are a little tired of the insert this body part into this one and this one and this one squicky orgies. And then there those of us who also love the butt-kicking women and the enthralling supernaturals but also love all the squicky orgies. I’m the please-not-another-squicky-orgy type. This book was for me! So I’ll warn you from the start that if you’re after nothing but supernatural sexcapades, this one isn’t for you. We still have butt kicking characters, though our main character is a man. We have angels and demons and, yes, some people with various powers, LGBTQ characters, etc. And we have a gruesome mystery that needs to be solved, asap! I loved our mystery – it was creepy, edgy, and I was all in for it. With the angels and demons, there’s a really heavy religious theme here (not necessarily Christian, just religion). At times it gets a little heavy-handed, but I think a lot of that is world building which should be a little lighter in the next books. Do I believe that eventually we might go back to threesomes, foursomes and moresomes? I mean…this is LKH, so yeah. But with this start to a new series, I’m (so far) on board. *ARC Provided via Net Galley

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lorena

    This is a whole-ass mess of a book. There is zero, and I mean ZERO reason for any of you to read this. For those of us still hate-reading the Anita Blake or Merry Gentry books because you at least know the characters and it's entertaining to see what craziness they are now involved in, even if said craziness is terribly written...well, all you have here is terrible writing about characters you don't and won't care about in the least. Seriously, there is no way this would have been published if H This is a whole-ass mess of a book. There is zero, and I mean ZERO reason for any of you to read this. For those of us still hate-reading the Anita Blake or Merry Gentry books because you at least know the characters and it's entertaining to see what craziness they are now involved in, even if said craziness is terribly written...well, all you have here is terrible writing about characters you don't and won't care about in the least. Seriously, there is no way this would have been published if Hamilton were not already an established author who could literally barf on a page and have her publishers enthusiastically print a giant run of her vomit in hardcover. I'm going to kind of spoil some stuff about the book now, maybe? There's honestly so little plot and so much filler, it's really hard to tell. But if you don't want to know what happens for whatever reason, stop here. Our hero is Detective Zaniel "Havoc" Havelock. We first meet him at a crime scene, which is covered in angel feathers...not because an angel was the perpetrator or the victim, but apparently to make sure someone who knew something about the supernatural would be called in right away, because otherwise the police might think it was just a regular old rape/murder, and not a demonic rape/murder. At the scene, an angel appears to Zaniel to explain all of this to him, because Zaniel is an Angel Speaker, who was trained and raised in the College of Angels, where they take kids with these particular types of magical talents. The angel says this was done by some weirdo kind of demon thing that doesn't follow typical rules, and tells Zaniel to deal with it. The actual sort of plot, if it were to go in a linear and rational fashion, basically goes (from here): Zaniel and fellow magic police figure out a college incel dude summoned the demon, he's merged with it in some kind of weird way that no one understands so that both he and the demon are sharing a malleable body that is neither fully demon or human, he's tracking down women he wanted but who didn't pay him enough attention to rape/murder them, he's hard to kill because he's not following the usual rules for demon-possessed humans, but then Zaniel kills him anyway by grabbing him and channeling holy fire, which, since this is apparently not that hard for Zaniel and causes no damage to anyone or anything else, seems like a relatively straight-forward solution to the issue, in no way necessitating any of the rest of the 90% of the material in the book, most of which is trying to set up some worldbuilding (kind of), or some recurring characters (maybe), but mostly is full of long expository plot diversions that go nowhere (of the sort familiar to any regular Hamilton reader) and end up having no bearing on the "plot," such as it is. (For example, Zaniel gets a couple of supernatural wounds that do weird things for reasons no one really understands, but seem like they might be relevant through the story, until he does the holy fire thing and apparently that cures them and we never really hear any more about what that was all about, and it didn't really affect anything along the way.) There's also a side plot about Zaniel's history at the College of Angels, which apparently takes kids in really young (like 7) and cuts them off from their families entirely, and raises them to believe only in Christian theology and the power of angels, even though other theologies clearly have powers of their own, and these are visible to Zaniel and apparently other people trained at the COA. Piecing together the history from here and there, Zaniel was tight with a girl named Suriel and a boy named Levanael (all names assigned by the COA when they joined), until Levanael got kicked out of the COA because his powers drove him crazy, and then Zaniel kinda started an affair with a seraphim, which was frowned upon, and he was already disillusioned by the Levanael thing, so he finished his initial training and then left. After he left, with no means of support and no real world experience, Zaniel joined the army, married a stripper, saw active duty combat, got divorced by the stripper (apparently in the middle of the active duty combat, because she was hoping he would die and she would get his benefits but he hadn't yet, which makes no sense as a motive because clearly you would wait until he was definitely safe before giving up on that plan and just keep stealing the paycheck until he got back at least? But whatever...), then he joined the police and married some other chick named Reggie and they have a 3 year old but they have been separated for 6 months at this point because Reggie...I don't even know. Reggie's character is all over the place, and half the time Zaniel is madly in love with her and wanting to get back together and half the time he's convinced it's all over and she kinda sucks and is flirting with every woman in sight (and then MAKES OUT with an LKH lookalike in a coffee line in the lead up to the final confrontation for no discernible reason). But he's also going to couple's therapy, so you get to sit in on a long, boring, pointless chapter or two of that, in the middle of demons trying to rape and kill everyone. (Incidentally, I apologize if all of this history makes it sound like Zaniel is in any way an interesting or compelling character. He is not. The whole book is in his monotone, detached voice, without an ounce of real feeling or heart in it.) In the meantime, we learn that Levanael took back his birth name of Jamie and has been homeless and mentally ill this whole time, Suriel stayed with the COA and became a high ranking demon expert. Suriel gets sent over to the police to help a witch who was cursed by contact with some demon blood, and hints that maybe some stuff isn't right at the COA, and there's a bunch of pointless macho posturing with her COA body guards. Levanael/Jamie turns up out of the blue, better than he has been in years, and says it's all because of this pagan girl that some prophets sent him to see, and she has helped him shield from what the COA did to him all those years ago, and he's now going by Levi, and wants to introduce Zaniel to this world. This is hard to piece together, not only because of all the random digression scenes that end up having nothing to do with the plot (there's a whole thing with a neurodivergent lab tech trying to get something from the police office that goes on FOREVER for literally no reason, and other examples too numerous and boring to get into), but because the writing is so sloppy and the timeline isn't consistent from page to page or even sentence to sentence. Granted that I am reviewing an ARC, and maybe they will catch some of this before it goes to final print, but the level of mess is WAY higher than in the average ARC from a major author, where you might find a single typo/wrong verb tense in the whole thing. For example, through most of the book Zaniel describes Levanael/Jamie/Levi as having been on the streets for a decade/10 years. When Levi shows up and they talk about what's going on, though, you get these two sentences together: Levi: "Maybe, but everyone else wakes up. I've been trapped in a nightmare for over thirteen years." Zaniel: "Do you think the last fifteen years has been just dreams and nightmares?" Just...what? And then Levi talks about this girl he was led to by "prophets," and specifically says it happened 2 weeks ago, and then a couple of chapters later, Zaniel meets the girl, and she talks about something that clearly happened some amount of time ago as having happened "a few weeks" after she and Levi met, so it sounds more like they have been together for a month or more. There's also a weird sequence in which Zaniel is making tea for Levi, and specifically talking about the rapid-boil kettle he's using to heat the water, and then a couple of paragraphs later the timer on the microwave sounds and lets them know the tea is ready, and then they decide to make a whole pot and the rapid-boiler makes another appearance, so she can't even keep track of which appliance is in use for the space of a few pages. Also, Zaniel keeps mis-naming Levi OVER and OVER, in the same conversations, even after Levi has yelled at him for it repeatedly, and Zaniel seems not to be doing it out of spite or anything, and I get that it's hard to remember a new name for someone you knew under another name for a while, but it's so repetitive and insistent that it becomes weird. There's also a whole long scene of Zaniel in the pagan girl's shop, talking to another witch, who keeps telling him that she can see someone else's "totem animal" (and let's not even get into all the appropriation there) attached to him because of earlier events, and she keeps stressing that he needs to call the real owner of the totem animal and return it "before work calls," and it is clear that this call is an imminent thing, and Zaniel...just wanders around the store, lost in thought about non-relevant things, and looking at crystals and pondering boring thoughts about how they chose to arrange the display shelves, all while this lady in the background who is CLEARLY psychic is frantically reminding him to MAKE THIS CALL AND RETURN THE ANIMAL BEFORE THE THING HAPPENS OR TERRIBLE THINGS WILL OCCUR AS A RESULT, and eventually he does, and arranges to meet up with the person the animal belongs to, but then the work call DOES come in, and it's time for the final showdown with the demon thing, and he doesn't get to return the animal after all...and NOTHING FUCKING HAPPENS as a result. He wakes up in the hospital after 2 days unconscious, spends time talking to various people there, goes home...and the totem animal is not mentioned at all, in terms of whether it got back where it belongs, or what any of the ramifications were or might have been. It's all utterly pointless and takes up SO MUCH TIME for nothing. It's unclear whether this book takes place in the same universe as the Anita Blake and/or Merry Gentry books (I don't even know if those ones explicitly take place in the same universe), but there is a lot of carryover between them. Obviously, everyone is obsessed with exercising (and shaming those who don't exercise to a point of perfect buffness), and everyone's exact height and ethnic background, and pointless conversations where everyone repeats the same things to each other 46 times in a round, much of it about how "political correctness" has run amok. Amok, I say! More than that, though, this feels like the book/series where Hamilton is trying to address the spirituality plot holes that never really get explained in her other books. You know, like Edward/Ted being an atheist when spiritual belief, of any kind, has scientifically provable and obvious protective effects against various bad things. Only this book also has a kind of "Jewish light" [self-described] doctor who is effectively atheist, and the question of "why" is never really answered or explored there either. More than anything (because every Hamilton story is a self-insert, even if she tries to at least disguise it a bit this time by having the main character be a tall man instead of a short, busty woman), this feels like Hamilton's attempt to grapple with her own evolving theology, which is, if this story is any indication, an illogical and irrational mess. Zaniel and his history seem like an obvious stand in for someone raised Catholic but who eventually decided they liked having sex in a manner the church didn't approve of, and so decided to jettison everything about their religion that stopped them from doing whatever it was they really wanted to do, while keeping some vague notion that angels are still real and helping you because you are Still A Good Person. And also some other religions are real, especially Goddess-powered ones, and are cool and shit, so you should pick and choose some parts of those to maybe incorporate because they are cool. Which...OK. It's not like I know the true secrets of the universe or how any of that really works, either. But I'm also not trying to write books that say stuff like: "There are always angels around us; they wait to help, to heal, to share God's grace with us, but they can't help us unless we ask them to , give them permission to - so do it with me now, say, 'Angels around me, I give you permission to help me and help those around me.' There are more formal words, but simple ones will do. Angels only need to be freed to help us; Guardian Angels hover near everyone, and some people have more than one, but they are trapped watching us screw our lives up, unless we allow them to help us." Which, at least on the surface, is coming from the perspective of this fictional character. Only the way it's written, it really does sound like Hamilton's voice and beliefs being parroted, especially the part where the reader is urged to say this inspiration-a-day-calendar stuff out loud, right then. The whole book comes across, to me, as a childish and underformed theology screed wrapped in a modicum of messy plotting and cardboard characterization. The whole thing both bored me and gave me contact embarrassment for the author, for putting something this poorly thought-out and executed into the world. Look, I don't know if I've made this clear enough yet over the course of this very long rant, but, uh...AVOID.

  3. 5 out of 5

    PamG

    A Terrible Fall of Angels by Laurell K. Hamilton is the first book in the Zaniel Havelock urban fantasy / supernatural suspense / paranormal police procedural series. She builds a new world for readers to marvel and explore. Detective Zaniel ‘Havoc’ Havelock has the ability to communicate directly with angels. He is now part of the Metaphysical Coordination Unit. From the age of seven, he was trained as an Angel speaker, but an event when he was around twenty caused him to leave the College A Terrible Fall of Angels by Laurell K. Hamilton is the first book in the Zaniel Havelock urban fantasy / supernatural suspense / paranormal police procedural series. She builds a new world for readers to marvel and explore. Detective Zaniel ‘Havoc’ Havelock has the ability to communicate directly with angels. He is now part of the Metaphysical Coordination Unit. From the age of seven, he was trained as an Angel speaker, but an event when he was around twenty caused him to leave the College of Angels. After spending time in to the military, he is now a police detective. Havoc is called to the scene of a murder. There’s no doubt that there’s evil, but is it the evil between human beings or is it the work of a demon, or is it something else? We get insight into Havoc’s character during the course of the investigation. He is strong of faith, courageous, and kind, but past events affect how he views himself. There’s inner discourse that helps the reader understand what he’s thinking and feeling. Many other characters in this novel are woven into the story line in a way that makes it easy to keep track of them. They either provide support or conflict and I expect several of them to gain depth as the series continues. This is the first series by Ms. Hamilton that features a male main character. Additionally, he is married, but has been separated for six months as they attend couples therapy. They have a three-year-old son. Will Zaniel and his wife reconcile and will romance be added to the genres that this series encompasses? Between and during action scenes and investigations, this novel spends a significant amount of time world-building. Now that we have that understanding, I hope those descriptions aren’t covered in quite as much depth in future books in the series. It is very much a good versus evil world, but there are other important themes including marital issues, friendships, how events affect relationships, different religious and belief systems and how they can work together, and much more. One thing it didn’t have was the steamy scenes that are common in the Anita Blake and Merry Gentry series. Overall, this book was an entertaining and thought-provoking paranormal police investigation with strong religious and belief overtones. It is definitely a departure from the previous series written by this author in many ways. However, she continues to bring great characters, entertaining and unique story lines, action, and suspense together in her novels. The book has a great first sentence and quickly pulled me into this new world. I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series. This is my honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own and are not biased in any way. Publication date was August 17, 2021. This review was originally posted at Mystery and Suspense Magazine.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Astrid - The Bookish Sweet Tooth

    DNF If it takes me more than a week to make it to 20% it's a sign that the book isn't for me. This was a bit of a mess, I couldn't connect with Zaniel, the writing is all over the place and while I know that world building in PNR/UF is tough if you still want to keep the reader's interest at the same time. This was info dump galore with no real background from the start and so, so confusing. Pains me to wave the white flag because I found the premise fascinating. DNF If it takes me more than a week to make it to 20% it's a sign that the book isn't for me. This was a bit of a mess, I couldn't connect with Zaniel, the writing is all over the place and while I know that world building in PNR/UF is tough if you still want to keep the reader's interest at the same time. This was info dump galore with no real background from the start and so, so confusing. Pains me to wave the white flag because I found the premise fascinating.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kezia Duah

    Hmmm. If I was grading books based on how well they dragged, this would be a solid A+. I am actually sad that I didn’t like this because it started off really interesting. There was almost no plot and the unnecessary focus on people’s appearances and their characters was not the best. I honestly wouldn’t recommend this to anyone.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Erica Chilson

    This pains me to write this review and give a rating of 2 stars, as I've read LKH's novels numerous times. One of her largest fans, seeing the author as an influence on my own writing. Anita Blake & Merry Gentry are constant comfort rereads of mine. Hardcover, paperback, duplicate paperback, Kindle, audiobook, a graphic novel or 3... to say I'm a fan would be an understatement. I was beyond excited for new characters, a new world, and a male protagonist. Never thought I'd abandon an LKH book at This pains me to write this review and give a rating of 2 stars, as I've read LKH's novels numerous times. One of her largest fans, seeing the author as an influence on my own writing. Anita Blake & Merry Gentry are constant comfort rereads of mine. Hardcover, paperback, duplicate paperback, Kindle, audiobook, a graphic novel or 3... to say I'm a fan would be an understatement. I was beyond excited for new characters, a new world, and a male protagonist. Never thought I'd abandon an LKH book at 25% but I must. Perhaps after the world building, the second book would resonate more, but I found the MC to be an emotionless, loathsome creep. It's impossible to read a series if you can't stand the narrator. Irony with how Zaniel is directly tied to the big man himself. G O D.  The struggle was real... especially in the beginning, during a tedious convo with an angel at a murder scene. The poor dude just wanted to relay a short message, but Zaniel (LKH) just had to be tedious and exhausting for the reader & the angel. I'm sure some of her fans will understand that statement better than a new reader. Imagine Anita arguing with the detective in charge at a murder scene, who obviously has biases against her, instead of letting it go, she has to be unbelievably difficult. Yeah, now you get Zaniel. Out of everything I read in quarter of a novel, only that nameless angel made me curious. That was the hook for me, but I found Zaniel impossible to wade through in order to get to the angelic world-building. LKH's voice shined through the voice of the character. As one of her biggest fans, this was an issue because I could "hear" Anita- Anita's less than easy to deal with qualities & none of her deeply flawed human ones that were so easy to relate to as a reader. Zaniel was stiff, more overview narrator than a fully fleshed-out character who emotes feelings. I don't mean because he's a new character. Just that he has no inner monologue about his personal life outside of world building until it's the most inappropriate time. No feelings whatsoever, so me (the reader) had zero emotional investment in the story or characters. It was constant world-building, police procedural, and demonic action. Once a small slice of downtime came, Zaniel was beyond inappropriate with what little information about his personal life was given. Just as Anita, every conversation was like pulling teeth. Just get to the point. Five pages later, Anita (Oops, I mean Zaniel) is still going back & forth with an angel, doctor, nurse, police officer. over the most mundane of things, none of which has anything to do with the plot. What is meant to be banter comes off as frustratingly tedious. Why does every conversation feel as if the MC is combative, having to justify or prove herself (excuse me, I mean himself)  Zaniel Havelock, aka Havoc (can you guess where Havoc came from?) In the first 25%, every character calls Zaniel "Havoc", or says something like, "Your parents didn't like you, did they? Naming you Havoc Havelock. Hahaha." Where the reader is subject to once again hearing how it's a nickname. Then he (we) has to hear how cool the name Zaniel is, because Zaniel is just that dang AWESOME! Seriously, time & time again, I was pretty sure the characters heard him tell others seconds ago, then purposefully lined up so we could go through it again. How hard is it to figure out it was a play on his last name? These people are doctors/professionals. Then again, why would they care? When people in a professional/hazardous situation meet, they don't examine why you're named what you're named. EVER. They don't even care what your name is, they just need to know what to call you should you mess up so they can report you to your superiors or put your name on a medical chart. This was redundantly tedious, not cutesy in any fashion. I mean, there's a time & a place, & distraught and terrorized hospital staff could seriously give af about a nickname. C'mon! Then there is Kate, a patient in the middle of being sexually assaulted, physically tortured, and threatened with a gruesome murder via DEMON, after she witnessed a man's arm pulled from his body and a fellow nurse nearly murdered, and she has to stop everything to be insulted that the demon called her Katie instead of Kate. Seriously, why? Really? Is this the hill Kate wanted to die on, the indignity of being called Katie? Is this even remotely what would happen based on the human condition? Of all that, she's insulted he called her KATIE, not when he called her a bunch of ridiculously misogynistic derogatory names? Huh? Oh, we even had to hear about Hazel's name too. WHY?! I'm sorry, but Zaniel was a creep. Full stop. And the other characters were just as frickin' bizarre in their behaviors. Only being I could accept this from was the nameless angel in the beginning, as he's in no way subject to the human condition. Irony on how the demon (rider & horse) was a "Nice Guy" incel who raped & murdered a coed, who was holding a hospital hostage, tore a guy's arm off,  almost killed a male nurse, & just raped a female patient...  Hazel the nurse- old enough to be Zaniel's mother, because that's super important -they flirt while he BLEEDS from an injury just sustained, they do that "Havoc" routine, and suddenly Zaniel drops how he's married with a 3-year-old out of nowhere, all the while feeling super duper randy.  Suddenly, after LKH realizes she never properly introduced the character, at 25%, when it's the most inappropriate time, after nonstop world-building, battling, tediously combative conversations, & nickname explaining, Zaniel gets too personal, disgustingly so. Seriously, 25% before the reader learns the MC is married with a kid, while he's actively flirting at the scene of a violent crime and rape. At that point, the only personal stuff we knew about him was his occupation & height and angelic background. Inappropriate. Zaniel's a messenger for angels, who are messengers for God, but he's on multiple marriages, while flirting with a nurse, with a rape victim waiting to speak to him. Does God employ emotionless, unethical sociopaths now? The victims & staff dgaf about your marital woes or frickin` nickname! Time & place, dude! Time & place! Even the reader needs the appropriate time & place to "hear" it. Hazel the nurse, you suck too! Your colleagues were just terrorized & your patient needs your HELP.  Get your hormones in check!  Then as Hazel the nurse leads Zaniel to see Kate "Don't call me Katie" who was just brutalized by a demon in all ways (after Hazel & Zaniel made her wait while they flirted) he brazenly stares at Hazel's rear like a total NICE GUY as she leads him to. See. A. Rape. Victim. Staring at Hazel's ass while thinking this has been a painfully long 6-month celibacy since he started banging like a stud at 15. He just quite literally listened as a demon attacked a woman in the most grievous of ways, and this is where his head is at. This is where I need to point out, this was a make or break moment for me. LKH isn't known for treating female characters with dignity and respect, strong misogynistic vibes with the NLOG energy (Not Like Other Girls) Look at how dippy Kate and Hazel were written. First, Hazel the nurse insinuates that Kate will be needy with romantic and sexual desires for Zaniel since he saved her (saved her from a situation he directly placed her in, but why mince words, right?) so he better gently let the RAPE VICTIM down. Make or break. Without Zaniel's misplaced lust, & perhaps an ounce of survivor's guilt, sympathy & compassion, empathy maybe, or 2 seconds to stop & think about what just happened so even the reader could catch their breath and digest how the world building and plot fits in with Zaniel's newly shown personality, I wouldn't have thought Zaniel a monster but no... he suddenly wants to bang both the nurse and the rape victim while currently married to a woman he loves, sharing a 3-year-old with her. But, ya know, she told him it was okay to see other people, so now is the PERFECT opportunity for the Nice Guy Opportunist. C'mon! Why LKH introduced Zaniel's marital history, need to get laid, seconds after a huge battle, while being injured himself, with people who lost their lives or were irreparably harmed all around them, then to worry the rape victim would "WANT" him (for "not" saving her, white knight that he is) as he mulled over the merits of her height & age as whether or not she was phuckable, while she was lying vulnerable in a hospital bed moments after being violated.  Irony with the "Nice Guy" demon when our hero was one himself...  All of that is NICE Guy in the extreme. The entitlement and ego and one track mind. LKH turned Zaniel into a monster for me right then & there, & I was so done at that point. So done. So gross, so not the time nor place. Only monsters get hot & bothered after allowing a woman to be victimized (there was a hospital bed in front of the cracked door. How hard was it to have three guys shove hard, since the beds are literally on WHEELS!) while others were quite literally torn limb from limb, then honestly believe himself so irresistible that he'd have to let Kate down gently... as she healed in all ways from being violated! While he reduced her to her height & age & whether or not he thought her bangable. He expected undying love & for her legs to pop open because he was her "savior" & how uncomfortable it would be to tell her no. Instead of Kate going boy crazy for Zaniel, we (Zaniel and the reader) get some odd mythical creature world building from Russia that I'm pretty sure doesn't rear its head again. That's on LKH. Full stop! WHY DID YOU HAVE TO MAKE HIM CREEPY & DISGUSTING. RIGHT. THEN?!? Book ruined for me because of it. Why? After all that, while Kate is suffering the indignity of a rape kit (administered by Horny Hazel who warned Zaniel off the needy but not actually needy victim), right outside her door in the hallway, Zaniel & his cop buddies go on and on about his workout routine & how strong & amazing he is, while he inner monologues about how his "fat & out of shape" coworkers try to hook him up with their "hot and young" relatives, while he is currently married with a kid (idgaf if he's separated, the ink isn't dry on yet another divorce decree and he still wants to be married to her) because we need to understand how cops need to destress from the job... outside her door, as she was being re-violated... which is where I found no redeeming qualities in him. None.  Hot "Nice Guy" Zaniel, vapid & emotionless "we can't take our work home with us" excuse as to why he shrugs it all off (but you can at least wait to get out of the vicinity of the victims) with no empathy, yet beyond religious. Hmm... this character profile doesn't seem to add up. Doesn't need to be pious just not a full-fledged C R E E P.  And what's up with giving everyone's height as a descriptor? I knew nothing of these characters, but I know Kate is 5' 7" as if measured while lying prone in a hospital bed, not standing upright, with a blanket covering said legs. Did Zaniel get out a dang tape measure? Zero emotions but we must know their height in feet & inches. I miss the clothing descriptions LKH is infamous for, but we do still get weapons and ammo details... and height. DNF. Put a fork in this series, I'm not trying the next. And this makes me very unhappy, makes me feel awful. I tried for a solid week to read past that point but the rage kept coming up every time Zaniel spoke or thought.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Babs

    As intriguing as this premise is...it really missed the mark. With any new series there will be world-building, any avid reader would expect this, however, there is usually backstory and a flow and reasoning. This book had none of that, it was truly all over the place with the information dump and at times very random and in the most awkward ways. Our male protagonist, Zaniel (Havoc), is just plain exhausting. I felt no real draw to him, nor to any of the other characters, they really fell flat f As intriguing as this premise is...it really missed the mark. With any new series there will be world-building, any avid reader would expect this, however, there is usually backstory and a flow and reasoning. This book had none of that, it was truly all over the place with the information dump and at times very random and in the most awkward ways. Our male protagonist, Zaniel (Havoc), is just plain exhausting. I felt no real draw to him, nor to any of the other characters, they really fell flat for me. There was one intriguing character and that was her, the nameless angel. Hopefully there will more of her in the follow up book. The plot, if you can truly call it that, was weak at best and truly the timing of it all just felt rushed. Thank you to Netgalley and Berkley Publishing Group for allowing me to read a copy early.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Amy Imogene Reads

    I am arguably too excited over this, but I don't care. BRING ON THE ANGELS! I am arguably too excited over this, but I don't care. BRING ON THE ANGELS!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Merve

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. 18.08.21 This book is Ok but there is so much problems. First of all, it is like a didactic child book, we are always explaining the world always chatting. The person says call her before your phone rings and we are still talking shit and waiting. In real world half an hour passed man, alive is dead and young is old. The topic is just so simple. What was the problem which made angels talk to Zaniel again? Yeah, it was not that big of a deal now was it. Character is not original. All of the female 18.08.21 This book is Ok but there is so much problems. First of all, it is like a didactic child book, we are always explaining the world always chatting. The person says call her before your phone rings and we are still talking shit and waiting. In real world half an hour passed man, alive is dead and young is old. The topic is just so simple. What was the problem which made angels talk to Zaniel again? Yeah, it was not that big of a deal now was it. Character is not original. All of the female characters are problematic. First woman we see, dead and raped. Second one scared shitless, on the floor, nurses are blissed out, other one raped. We see police woman, she is bi/lez. So repetitive. Two pages ago, Emma says these are like this, two pages later we are issued same thing, with the same sullen and serious context. It is like nobody reads these books before publication. He is truly the male Anita. Always blushing, getting shy, getting compliments, everybody hits on him. But he has only eyes for oooone person. However, this book needs an editor or more wilingly author to get the help of an editor. LKH has a problem with women. And I am totally done reading her. Oh, no orgy or sex. That is a win I suppose. ---- Finally she decides that she needs to write something new. Welcome male Anita I suppose.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Margaret

    Content note: rape/sexual assault Review contains spoilers. (view spoiler)[I've been trying to figure out how to leave a review on this book, mostly because I'm torn between being just short and vague or do I write a giant slab of text. I can't stick to brevity so here we are. The plot: There's been a rape and murder and angel feathers found at the crime scene to let our protagonist, Zaniel, know that this is no ordinary rape and murder. An angel shows up to pass on the message that no, this woman Content note: rape/sexual assault Review contains spoilers. (view spoiler)[I've been trying to figure out how to leave a review on this book, mostly because I'm torn between being just short and vague or do I write a giant slab of text. I can't stick to brevity so here we are. The plot: There's been a rape and murder and angel feathers found at the crime scene to let our protagonist, Zaniel, know that this is no ordinary rape and murder. An angel shows up to pass on the message that no, this woman wasn't supposed to die, she had a vital part in God's Plan (how vital? We never find out). One of Zaniel's coworkers walks in, sees the angel, and passes out, which means he has to go to hospital where conveniently the murder suspect shows up, there's a fight at the hospital where hostages are taken, a patient is phsycially and sexually assaulted, and the suspect seemingly dies. Case closed, right? No, because we have to then follow Zaniel to his couples therapy session with his wife, Reggie. Only then to be called back to the police station to view evidence taken from the suspect's home, only for that to be derailed by magical shenanigans which leads to some of Zaniel's former friends from the College of Angels showing up. In the process, Zaniel's clothes are conveniently destroyed so he has to sit in the office shirtless to show off all his mucles until he's told to go home. Once home, he finds another one of his friends from the College - a former member who was cast out for mental illness and spent the last decade homeless - to discover that he's doing much better now and Zaniel simply needs to meet the witch responsible for this right now. So the story lurches to a meeting at a cafe and the initial plot suddenly returns with more deaths off-page but one potential victim is fortuitously right there and can be saved if only Zaniel can keep an eye on her. And so he must go undercover in his gymwear and flirts so well that he accidentally picks up another customer at the cafe and later she literally swoons into his arms and they make out so that the murder suspect does not recognise him from the hospital. And then we have a final confrontation which leads to Zaniel getting knocked out and waking up in hospital two days later. But it's ok because his wife is there to take him home and she's decided that she's horny as heck for him and they're going to go home to have all the sex. THE END. The good: Credit where credit is due, Hamilton does write some very cool action and magical scenes. The fight with the demon at the hospital and Zaniel helping his boss throw up a magical ward around a vital piece of evidence were very entertaining and well-written. The bad: ...literally everything else about the novel. This started off fun and moved along at a reasonable pace but then took a sharp nosedive after about 100 pages. The next 100 pages could easily have been cut and nothing of value would have been lost, and then we get to a trademark Hamilton rushed ending where everything is resolved off-screen. Except nothing is actually resolved in this case. If you've read any of the Anita Blake books, you have read this book. It's Anita Blake, but with a palette swap so that she's now Zaniel "Havoc" Havelock, there are angels instead of vampires, there's the Metaphysical Coordination Unit instead of RPIT, straight up swaps for Dolph and Zerbrowski and Nathaniel. Zaniel even zones out lost in his own thoughts that usually have nothing to do with the scene at hand the same way Anita does, has the same gym fixations, has the same kind of emotional stagnation where crying is seen as a weakness and any kind of emotion needs to be ignored by either exercise or throwing oneself into work. And like Anita, Zaniel is needlessly obtuse, evasive, and argumentative - which leads to a lot of unnecessary verbiage dedicated to so much nothingnness. A lot of conflict in this book could have been avoided with some basic communication. If you've seen Venom (2018), Lucifer tv show (2016-now), The Witcher (2019), Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), and His Dark Materials tv show (2019-present), you've read this book. Zaniel is very clearly based on Tom Ellis, Zaniel's therapist shares the same name as Dr Linda Martin, Lucifer's therapist, Zaniel's wife bears an uncanny resemblence to Lesley-Ann Brandt; the College of Angels is borrowed from the Witcher with children being forcibly taken from their families to begin specialised training to fight demons; there's a scene that's basically the end of Guardians of the Galaxy where Star Lord, Gamora, Rocket, and Drax all hold hands to share the power of the Infinity Stone; it's revealed that all humans are born with an animal spirit guide and the College of Angels has been forcibly stripping them from the children they indoctrinate to their faith much like how Mrs Coulter wants to remove Daemons from children; and the demon acts like the Symbiote from Venom. I'm all for people drawing inspiration from pop culture, but this is really blatant. There's this really strange push for "political correctness" specially with regard to things like God and the Devil, which doesn't make a lot of sense since other religions and even other pantheons exist in this universe and presumably practitioners of those faiths view things from their own lens with their own terms; we get to hear about this from some pagan witches and a Voodoo priest. Zaniel is a Christian and when it comes down to the crunch, he absolutely prays to God and His Angels without hesitation rather than to Deity for help against the Adversary. Just who is this supposed to appeal to? Because agnostics and athiests aren't likely to reconsider their choices now that there's a generic term for God (in a universe where God and other pantheons have tangible proof that they exist, is there any room for agnostics and athiests?) This isn't like Happy Holidays vs Merry Christmas. Other things like "manpower" and "guys" are tripped over as "sorry, I mean person-powered." These are words that do not need to be changed for clarity or inclusiveness. A lot of the humour hinges on "we know that sexism and sexual harassment are bad, because the punchline is that we have been to the courses all about it, but we're going to be sexist and sexually harass anyway hahahaha!" It's not funny. I feel like the author justifies including this as an air of authenticity where women have to be "one of the boys" to fit into a male dominated profession but this is fiction: you can absolutely just...not include sexism, racism, sexual harassment and assault. It won't detract from a story that's aiming to be GrItTy AnD rEaL. All of this could have been axed from the book and it would have changed nothing. The sexual assault in particular could have been left out because it didn't raise any of the stakes and Hamilton does not have a deft enough hand to deal with such subject matter. Zaniel is married, but going through a trial separation with his wife. He doesn't seem to actually like his wife at all. He spends most of his time ogling or fantasising about other women. If he's thinking about Reggie, it's about arguments they have or how he's repulsed by her, how he laments not being the couple they used to be before they had a child, that she used to wear skimpy Halloween costumes but stopped after she had a kid (because she wants to teach her son to respect women), or if he does want to be around her it's only because he doesn't want to be lonely. Not because he genuinely wants to be a part of her life, to build something with her, to be a good parent. Is it any wonder his relationship is strained? Never once does he consider changing his own thoughts and actions, let alone think about anyone other than himself. It's pointed out that she's getting bad advice from her friends while he's definitely getting good advice from his, so clearly she's wrong. More than once he realises that he may not be in love with her and may not want to salvage the relationship but then he goes back to mooning over her because she kissed him omg and he's so touch-starved from his self-imposed celibacy of six months that he's ready to swoon at the merest brush against his skin. I'm supposed to believe that he's the romantic one and wants to fight for this relationship? He can barely bring himself to think fondly of the woman he thought was The One and then goes to offer to have sex with a stranger and kiss her in the middle of the street. Nothing about this says "I dearly love my partner and I want to spend my life with her and raise our child together." Reggie is practically begging him to give her a reason to stay and he's like "I can't talk about this right now." Just end this relationship, both parties would be much better off. It's actually insulting that the final chapter has Reggie suddenly decide that she's ok with Zaniel being a cop and this means he could get seriously hurt and die on the job, that this was a her issue and clearly he's done nothing wrong. She's not ready for them to officially get back together but also she's totally here in a sexy outfit to take him back to his place and have all the sex. So much sex. Apparently she had this revelation after she missed lunch and dinner with him because he was unconscious for no reason. (On a side note, Hamilton's weird fixation on smudging lipstick is alive and well. Nobody can kiss without smearing makeup all over each other's faces. Likewise her kink for someone wearing boots during sex is back. I feel like I can make a bingo card of Hamilton Tropes at this point.) Zaniel also thinks that parenthood ends when a child turns 18 and thinks it's weird that a young adult may be on good terms with their parents. While he does briefly float the idea of becoming a stay at home dad, he also dismisses it as "it's not going to happen so there's no point to even considering it." So he doesn't exactly come across as Father of the Year material. If anything, a wife and child are just inconvenient and things he has so he's not alone. Later in the book it's revealed that Reggie - who is described as being half Columbian, half Mexican with dark hair, eyes, and tanned skin - secretly wishes she were blonde-haired and blue-eyed and this is why she's so jealous of so-called Barbie type women. Why is this even in here? Nobody needs to know this. This is just one of many strange wtf things just casually thrown into random digressions throughout the narration. At this point, Hamilton has nearly 20 years of bad habits ingrained in her writing and they're on full display here. From the circular arguments, needless repetition with "what does that mean?" to inconsitencies within a scene. At one point, Zaniel is brewing a pot of tea with a rapid-boil kettle but takes the mug out of the microwave, or Zaniel makes sandwiches and explains what dijonnaise is (because we, the readers, need to know this) only for Levi to say "I don't like ketchup." Ketchup was never mentioned. God, the Devil, a mysterious "She" (implied to be a seraphim tutor Zaniel had as a teenager who then became his lover, which...why is this here? What is Hamilton's fixation with barely legal teen boys and older women? It's all through the ABVH books) do not have consistent pronouns/references. We have to have everyone's specific height mentioned. And this book has added emphasis on names, where people are confused over just how to address Zaniel, even though he's referred to as Detective Havelock, he still gets called Havoc by mistake; or the assault victim taking time out in the middle of the situation to tell a demon that her name is Kate, not Katie. There's a huge cast to this novel and we have to be introduced to each and every one of them even though the vast majority of them have no real impact on the scene or story. I don't need to know about Officer Odette Minis and her thoughts on casual sexual harassment in the office or Kate's Russian ancestry. I don't need to know about Zaniel's drill instructor yelling at him not to slouch. All this just bogs down an already sluggish pace the moment we leave the main plot. New information is constantly being added even as late as 3 chapters from the end, with new characters, new information, new side-quests. The final act should be focused on solving the first act. It never does. Throughout book, we're told that this possession is so special, impossible, and different from other demonic possessions and nobody can figure out why. Never, not once, does Zaniel go looking for answers. Any information he does get literally has to walk up and tell him. This seems counterprodcutive to being a police detective whose job it is to, you know, detect things. That we cut to Zaniel waking up in hospital and having to be filled in on what happened is so lazy, specially since there's an actual seraphim showing up as literal deux ex machina to save the day. Zaniel spends so much time being like "I cannot understand women, they are a mystery and unfathomable! What could they possibly want? I guess I'll never know." Even though people speak plainly and clearly to him, he zones out and ignores what they say. He emphasises how bad he is at reading women, but also he's meant to be so insanely good at flirting that people almost swoon into his arms at the coffee shop. You can't have it both ways. And I would have thought that being able to read people, their expressions and bodylanguage, their tone, would be a vital part to being a detective. As a result, Zaniel comes across as gross, incompetent, and uninteresting. (On a worldbuilding note, since angels and God, even other pantheons, are confirmed to be real in this universe, am I supposed to believe that WWII went down without any literal divine intervention? Having actual Celestial beings and people with superpowers exist since the dawn of time is going to drastically change the course of human events, and yet here we are with Marvel movies and Netflix specials and it's no big that an angel showed up at a crime scene, somehow this woman's apartment is not a holy site.) It's really frustrating because there are some moments where this book shines, but all it serves to do is highlight just how much wasted potential there is. And for the first book in a new series, that's incredibly rough. I've taken a big break from Hamilton's books because I just wasn't enjoying them anymore, but thought I'd give this one a shot because new protagonist, new world, new ideas. I'm so disappointed with how lacklustre this book turned out to be because I really wanted to enjoy it. The first twenty chapters or so actually exceded my expectations, but then just crashed and burned. This is likely to be the only Zaniel Havelock book I read because I just don't have the energy to be invested in an entire series dedicated to so many words and very little substance. EDITED TO ADD: I've been thinking about this for the last few days and it relates back to Zaniel and his faith - he doesn't come across as a person who gains comfort or strength or guidance from his faith. He knows angels and God exist because he's experienced these things first hand. He prays because he knows he gets reactions from the angels around him. It very much echoes Anita's whole schtick where she maintains that since holy items still glow for her, she's still good with the Big Guy despite her not devoting any time or thought to her faith. Complete with Zaniel musing that angels still talk to him so he must still be a good person. I understand that an overly religious protagonist can be offputting to readers and I'm not asking for that, but just telling me that he prays and gets answers doesn't actually show me he's got faith. (hide spoiler)]

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jenna

    A little to much "religion" at times but was needed for the world building. I was definitely glad about the lack of Hamilton’s known "sexcapades". Looking forward to the next, hoping she can keep up with her series'. 🔸 4 stars 🔸 A little to much "religion" at times but was needed for the world building. I was definitely glad about the lack of Hamilton’s known "sexcapades". Looking forward to the next, hoping she can keep up with her series'. 🔸 4 stars 🔸

  12. 5 out of 5

    Christie«SHBBblogger»

    Title: A Terrible Fall of Angels Series: Zaniel Havelock #1 Author: Laurell K. Hamilton Release date: August 19, 2021 Cliffhanger: no Genre: PNR, UF I just finished a four hundred page information dump on demons, angels, witches, spirit guides, animal guides, guardian angels, a baba yaga descendant, a voodoo priest, a "remote viewer," different specialties in the College of Angels, and abrupt, abstract descriptions of otherworldly interactions in the heavenly realm. As you would imagine, I'm feeling Title: A Terrible Fall of Angels Series: Zaniel Havelock #1 Author: Laurell K. Hamilton Release date: August 19, 2021 Cliffhanger: no Genre: PNR, UF I just finished a four hundred page information dump on demons, angels, witches, spirit guides, animal guides, guardian angels, a baba yaga descendant, a voodoo priest, a "remote viewer," different specialties in the College of Angels, and abrupt, abstract descriptions of otherworldly interactions in the heavenly realm. As you would imagine, I'm feeling just little bit mentally exhausted after such a marathon of data. There was a slew of characters from Zaniel's past at the College of Angels, there was another huge set of police force characters-and if that wasn't enough, some of the characters had three different names. (Zaniel couldn't even get his best friend's name straight for the life of him.) So in other words, there was so much to compute that my brain is feeling a little numb right now. I'm going to try to sum things up as concisely and clearly as possible. This was my first read by this author so I have nothing to compare this new series to. I've always been curious about Ms. Hamilton's work because of the popularity of her Anita Blake books. However, as a blogger I just didn't have the time to attempt an established 28 book series when I have so many ARC obligations on my plate. That's why I jumped at the chance to try out her new Zaniel Havelock series. My first impression here was that she's a big fan of detail. Normally that's a good thing to have intricate world building in urban fantasy. In this case, it was on the opposite side of the spectrum from "too little, too late." There were supernatural lessons like these littered through every chapter- even in the middle of character building, internal dialogue. “Infernals take on the appearances of the human imagination nearest them,” Charleston said. “What?” Miller asked. “What he said,” the female security guard said. “It means they look like what the nearest human thinks they should look like, but they won’t appear in their true Hellish form, not here on Earth, except maybe for a second, then it changes,” I said. I didn’t add that a second could be enough for insanity or death for the human seeing it, but our minds protected us from so much, including demons. If a person could survive that second, then what they thought changed what they saw; demons used it to appear as our worst nightmares, but even that was usually less soul-destroying then the demon’s original form. You take your time to get a good grasp on what is being explained, but the problem is that the infernal creature committing murders in the central mystery plot breaks all the rules in the rulebook. So this thing has abilities that contradict everything we've been told and by the end of the book, there was only the barest hint of why that could be. I understand that this is the introduction to a very long series and we should expect things to be drawn out far into the future, but I felt that the purpose of this book was to simply teach us who the characters were and begin to explain the world they live in. There were many different plot arcs such as Zaniel's marriage difficulties, his friend Levanael's mental illness recovery, his mysterious past affair with a Seraphim, the events that broke his faith in the college of angels, and attempting to piece together the mystery of the demon possessed/merged Cookson. The plot was so erratic, jumping from one point to another, that your attention never truly has time to engage with any one thing. To be frank, my favorite parts of the book were the action sequences where Zaniel was facing off with the demonic being. All of the other parts were often rambling, disjointed scenes stuck together. For instance, why was Kate introduced? She is supposed to be from the lineage of a russian folklore witch called Baba Yaga. Zaniel seems notably attracted to her (despite his conflicted feelings about putting his family back together). He has an odd wound from her that keeps strangely seeping blood which we're led to believe has some deeper meaning. Then it just heals at the end and nothing ever comes of it. She never enters the story again, and we don't know why the wound behaved that way. Then there's the conflict that occurred with the spirit animal raccoon. We were told that this was a very strange and worrisome thing that the raccoon had been separated from a witch named Ravensong. She and Emily were both so distressed over the matter and then after the climax of the story it was never addressed again. Lila and Adam got only a hint of a romantic connection before disappearing from the story. Then we have the tangled mess of the College of Angels. I can't seem to get a cohesive picture of that place at all. Zaniel grew up in the College of Angels. For a long time, he believed that he was training for a higher purpose and putting his supernatural gifts with angels to good use. He and his best friends Surrie and Lev were like the three musketeers in the strict religious faction he lived in until he broke away and joined the military. Something happened to severely disillusion him and I sensed that it was caused by the leaders in particular. However, what they were being taught about angels and demons actually seemed valid. Zaniel himself truly has the ability to communicate with angels and yet he feels as if he has just been indoctrinated by the group. She was still comfortable and secure in the College of Angels and everything they taught us there. No, not taught, indoctrinated. How do you know you’re in a cult? You usually don’t until something happens that is so terrible you can’t ignore it, or pretend it didn’t happen, and then you start questioning everything. Zaniel is able to withstand holy fire and speak with the higher forms of Celestial beings without dying or going crazy. Surrie helps heal people who are demon touched-once again, a true ability. She's even called in as a consultant for one of Zaniel's jobs on the force. And yet, the college is classified as a cult by Zaniel and the rest of society. There was even a Netflix documentary about their cult-like practice of recruiting children and then permanently keeping them from their parents. Why would the police force recruit help from a cult? That would be like recruiting a Scientologist even though its been established that they are brainwashed at best and criminals at worst. The definition of a cult is a religious sect considered to be extremist or false. Most of the time led by one charismatic or deranged leader. Holding the kids captive fits, the extreme rules forced on the members, the disassociation from members who leave...they fit. So then why are they teaching them legitimate skills rooted in truth? Why did Zaniel feel loyalty towards the "masters" at the College when they very clearly failed his friend and ruined his mind for over a decade? I was baffled as to why he seemed to be defending them when Levanael confided in him that they played a large role in his tragic break from reality. It didn't begin to come together for me. “So, you are no longer Christian,” she said. “I am still a follower of Christ.” “How is that different from being Christian?” she asked. “I find organized religion difficult to deal with.” Again, I get that there will be many books to come in the series that will potentially shed some light on all of my questions and inconsistencies. I just don't know if I am suitably invested in our hero Zaniel enough to wade any deeper into these murky waters. I felt like he was a good guy for the most part, but I didn't get a full grasp of what shaped him to be who he is now. And by the time book two comes around, the characters and plot points will need to be refreshed in my mind all over again. If you love complex stories and paranormal series with very detailed world building this could very well be the book for you. Unfortunately, this one was just okay for me so I think I may have to throw in the towel here. FOLLOW SMOKIN HOT BOOK BLOG ON:

  13. 4 out of 5

    Darcia Helle

    I love supernatural thrillers. The premise for this book fascinated me. And, so, I expected to at least like, if not love, the story. It's a DNF (did not finish) for me. The short and not so sweet of it: The plot execution is a mess. The story is all over the place. Nothing made much sense. The characters are just sort of there. And I didn't care about any of it. I gave up a little past the halfway point. *I received a free eARC from the publisher, via NetGalley, which they're probably now regretting I love supernatural thrillers. The premise for this book fascinated me. And, so, I expected to at least like, if not love, the story. It's a DNF (did not finish) for me. The short and not so sweet of it: The plot execution is a mess. The story is all over the place. Nothing made much sense. The characters are just sort of there. And I didn't care about any of it. I gave up a little past the halfway point. *I received a free eARC from the publisher, via NetGalley, which they're probably now regretting.*

  14. 4 out of 5

    Mandy Lee

    I am a huge fan of her Blake and merry books. But this book is a piece of junk. They added so many useless things. Apparently her new editor is awful. Seriously you couldn’t have made a book more boring. I was all excited at the beginning. It was a great start. Then the book just ran on and on. Seriously I started skipping pages. Something I’ve never done with her books. LK goes from rape and sexual torture in beauty. To this no sex but boring book. I was happy with the no sex part. Being tired I am a huge fan of her Blake and merry books. But this book is a piece of junk. They added so many useless things. Apparently her new editor is awful. Seriously you couldn’t have made a book more boring. I was all excited at the beginning. It was a great start. Then the book just ran on and on. Seriously I started skipping pages. Something I’ve never done with her books. LK goes from rape and sexual torture in beauty. To this no sex but boring book. I was happy with the no sex part. Being tired of the orgies. It’s wasn’t that I wanted that. I just want a story that keeps me interested. This book as great start and ok end. The middle drags on like nails on a chalkboard. I asked for a refund. That’s how terrible boring it was. Save your hard earned money.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    I really wish I read slower or authors wrote faster. The only thing I don’t like about getting books early is having to wait so long for the next one. This is absolutely fantastic. I need to absorb before writing a real review.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Nikki

    Face palm I'm not even finished with this book yet 😒 I've honestly been trudging through, and am at 70% of the book, and I'm honestly clueless right now. Let me back up and say I was a huge Anita Blake fan until it became more orgy than story, so I wanted to give this one a shot. The beginning seemed promising. Raped and murdered chick found in a bed with angel feathers. Mystery crime... cool. At 70% there has been zero sex, (I don't mind sex in books as long as it accompanies an actual plot) but Face palm I'm not even finished with this book yet 😒 I've honestly been trudging through, and am at 70% of the book, and I'm honestly clueless right now. Let me back up and say I was a huge Anita Blake fan until it became more orgy than story, so I wanted to give this one a shot. The beginning seemed promising. Raped and murdered chick found in a bed with angel feathers. Mystery crime... cool. At 70% there has been zero sex, (I don't mind sex in books as long as it accompanies an actual plot) but I'm not really sure what the plot is? Spoiler? So again, at the beginning, there was a murder that Zaniel/Havoc/detective Havelock was investigating that had to do with a weird demon. Ok cool. They had a fight in the hospital... I'm pretty sure he killed the human that was working with the demon... no clue what happened to the demon itself.... fast forward like 45% of the book because I really don't remember what happened.... Surriel is helping Havoc with something with some other chick... and there's a lot of talk about the College of Angels and his history with them and then it's almost like they're foreshadowing some nefarious tidbits about the college?? I dont know.... there are SO MANY characters to keep up with and SO much filler... like... Connery his 3 year old son... should be a close secondary character, because he's talked about a lot, but he hasn't been in the first scene yet. Reggie, his always angry wife who he isn't sure he loves... has been in 1 scene... I can't even name all the characters. Surriel, Jamie, Havoc, Charleston, MacGregor, the other MacGregor, the one guy he may or may not be friends with that he punched in the kidneys at one point in the book? The other dude that was with them, the medical examiners assistant that had a LONG scene about getting Havocs shirt as evidence... he was literally fighting with him over whether he should take his shirt off in front of his colleagues or wait for him to go into the locker room... and then there was a scene with the medical examiners assistant maybe getting a date with one of the other chick characters?? Not sure if that ever happened or not.... I'm just not even really sure what this book is even about and I'm 3/4 through it already. *Edited to add the last 30% I struggled through was no better* Definitely disappointed in this book

  17. 5 out of 5

    GONZA

    I had an immense love for L.K.Hamilton and I continued to read Anita's stories well beyond the limit imposed by the fact that the author had begun to edit her books on her own and .... the havoc! The lack of plot was known to me and eventually I used to read the novels in the two series to go back and "say hello to old friends in between their orgy". So when I was sent the ARC of a new series by what was an author I had enjoyed, I was so ready to give it another chance, in fact, I was looking fo I had an immense love for L.K.Hamilton and I continued to read Anita's stories well beyond the limit imposed by the fact that the author had begun to edit her books on her own and .... the havoc! The lack of plot was known to me and eventually I used to read the novels in the two series to go back and "say hello to old friends in between their orgy". So when I was sent the ARC of a new series by what was an author I had enjoyed, I was so ready to give it another chance, in fact, I was looking forward to it. Unfortunately at 22% I stopped reading what seemed to me to be an even verbose and repetitive jumble of uninteresting characters, chaotic worldbuilding and some kind of poly-theology. I can only close this review of mine with a warm suggestion to the author to start real psychotherapy and stop using books as self-therapy and get back to having an editor other than herself. Io avevo un amore smisurato per L.K.Hamilton e ho continuato a leggere le storie di Anita ben oltre il limite imposto dal fatto che l'autrice aveva cominciato ad editare i suoi libri da sola e.... lo scempio! La mancanza di trama mi era nota e alla fine ero solita leggere i romanzi delle due serie per tornare a "salutare i vecchi amici tra un orgia e l'altra" come dire. Quindi quando mi hanno mandato l'ARC di una nuova serie di quella che era un'autrice che avevo apprezzato, ero prontissima a darle una nuova chance, anzi, non aspettavo altro. Purtroppo al 22% ho smesso di leggere quello che mi sembrava un'accozzaglia anche prolissa e ripetitiva di personaggi poco interessanti, worldbuilding caotico e qualche tipo di poli-teologia. Non posso che chiudere questa mia recensione con un caldo suggerimento all'autrice di iniziare una vera psicoterapia e smettere di usare i libri come auto-terapia e di tornare ad avere un editor diverso da lei stessa. I received from the Publisher a complimentary digital advanced review copy of the book in exchange for a honest review.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Belles

    I expected more from a seasoned author like Hamilton. My two biggest issues were pacing and lack of a cohesive plot. I didn’t have an issue with the characters, but none of them was particularly compelling, either. Frankly, I’ve read better books by self-published authors who have a lot less experience.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Darlene Harbick

    I received the book in a Goodreads giveaway. I'm really torn about continuing to read in this series. On the one hand, few authors are as good at world building as LKH, and this is a new world that might be interesting to explore. On the other hand, this book was not much more than an explanation of how politics work between people and angels and demons, I am used to some discussion of vampire politics, or fae or werewolf politics, etc, from LKH, but frankly I think she has been taking that much I received the book in a Goodreads giveaway. I'm really torn about continuing to read in this series. On the one hand, few authors are as good at world building as LKH, and this is a new world that might be interesting to explore. On the other hand, this book was not much more than an explanation of how politics work between people and angels and demons, I am used to some discussion of vampire politics, or fae or werewolf politics, etc, from LKH, but frankly I think she has been taking that much too far lately, and I got bored with this book's angel politics, to a great extent. I guess I will decide about a next book when we get there. This first book was all introduction, and the series shows a little promise. As an introduction, it introduces, but this book is not action packed and not dramatic and not very fun. As a standalone book, I don't recommend it. As an introduction, it is going to depend a lot on the rest of the series.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Dana

    Oh my, was I on the struggle bus with this one! I am more than a week late with this review and I feel terrible, it's the first book commitment I've made that I struggled to keep. I generally fly through books in a day or two - this one took me 16 days. I'm not sure why, I like fantasy and this is a well known author (even though I've never read her myself). The premise was really interesting, a cop who can communicate with angels in a world like ours but where magic is just more accessible. It h Oh my, was I on the struggle bus with this one! I am more than a week late with this review and I feel terrible, it's the first book commitment I've made that I struggled to keep. I generally fly through books in a day or two - this one took me 16 days. I'm not sure why, I like fantasy and this is a well known author (even though I've never read her myself). The premise was really interesting, a cop who can communicate with angels in a world like ours but where magic is just more accessible. It had elements I really liked including blending fantasy and religion (although I didn't love the way it treated those religions but I digress...). The magic and the fantastical beings were really cool and the descriptions of them were fun to read. What I struggled with is there was a total information dump throughout. Even when we were following the characters around, the information about the mundane interactions they had were exhausting. How many times did we need to learn about the main character changing his clothing? His interactions with his wife were really uncomfortable, he seemed to worship her even though she was not the nicest person. It was also not easy to see where the book was going, things happened SO SLOWLY! I literally made it through less than 10% on my kindle each day because I just struggled with the writing. I was compelled to know what was happening but probably would have DNF-ed if I hadn't committed to a book tour. I usually only post reads that are three stars or higher here but this one just didn't get there for me. Even the ending felt like a rushed info dump that I just didn’t find satisfying. But just because it wasn't for me doesn't mean that it won't be for you, so if you're looking for a good mystery with angels and demons and you have patience for some irrelevant minutiae and annoying characters than give this one a try. Thanks to Berkley for a copy of this novel. All opinions above are my own.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Patrizia

    No comment

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kati

    I cannot stress enough how badly this book is edited. The conversations are *all* stilted, needlessly combative, and repetitive as hell. Chapter length is inconsistent, with several consecutive chapters in an early fight scene averaging 1 page. The story itself is weirdly paced, with the conclusion coming from seemingly nowhere and wrapping up approximately none of the plot points introduced. The portrayal of women is pretty gross, with a huge focus on the fact that all women the protagonist mee I cannot stress enough how badly this book is edited. The conversations are *all* stilted, needlessly combative, and repetitive as hell. Chapter length is inconsistent, with several consecutive chapters in an early fight scene averaging 1 page. The story itself is weirdly paced, with the conclusion coming from seemingly nowhere and wrapping up approximately none of the plot points introduced. The portrayal of women is pretty gross, with a huge focus on the fact that all women the protagonist meets will definitely fall at his feet.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Simply Love Book Reviews

    4.5 stars This story is the first book in what looks to be an amazing series. Detective Zaniel “Havoc” Havelock is on a special force known as the Metaphysical Coordination Unit, but most everyone calls this unit the Heaven and Hell Unit. They deal with crimes on both the human and spiritual sides and try to maintain the peace between both. As a trained Angel Speaker, he has the ability to communicate with the celestial beings that only he can see. When a string of murders begins happening, Zani 4.5 stars This story is the first book in what looks to be an amazing series. Detective Zaniel “Havoc” Havelock is on a special force known as the Metaphysical Coordination Unit, but most everyone calls this unit the Heaven and Hell Unit. They deal with crimes on both the human and spiritual sides and try to maintain the peace between both. As a trained Angel Speaker, he has the ability to communicate with the celestial beings that only he can see. When a string of murders begins happening, Zaniel must use every ounce of his training to try and solve the case before more innocent people die. There is a lot in this story, but every angle has a reason for it being told and builds the world for the upcoming books in the series. I really feel for Zaniel as he is being pulled in so many directions that at times, he feels that is too much to handle, but there is so much for him unravel with the crimes that he asked to investigate. This is definitely a page turner that will have readers devouring every word. Cannot wait to see what happens next. Review copy provided for a voluntary review.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Tracy

    Big fan of Merry the Fairy, so I was surprised to take as long to get into this one as I did. Last 150 pages flew by though - very interesting! new things to think about in the unseen world :)

  25. 5 out of 5

    Suz

    For about the first half of this I figured it wasn't really going to be my thing due to the amount of Judeo-Christian/ Abrahamic mythos and dogma. A bit past half way the previously only dusted across non-Christian religions started getting some representation and the story got more interesting. Satanists are still the bad guys, though. We couldn't actually get a non-Christian perspective about Satanism from someone who has struggled with religious belief for as long as LKH has done so. It left For about the first half of this I figured it wasn't really going to be my thing due to the amount of Judeo-Christian/ Abrahamic mythos and dogma. A bit past half way the previously only dusted across non-Christian religions started getting some representation and the story got more interesting. Satanists are still the bad guys, though. We couldn't actually get a non-Christian perspective about Satanism from someone who has struggled with religious belief for as long as LKH has done so. It left a bad taste in my mouth and has definitely impacted my perspective of this work. It's left me feeling like the premise is trite, albeit executed with the amount of attention to detail, similarly likable characters, and a deeply considered magic system that you would expect from LKH. For the first half of the book I thought it probably wasn't for me, but by the end I was thinking I could probably do another and see if the other-than-Christian-dogma aspects of the story gain traction, and the emerging power drama at the school doesn't take too long to unfold.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    DNF @34%. I hate to dump this but it's not grabbing me at all. Disappointing. DNF @34%. I hate to dump this but it's not grabbing me at all. Disappointing.

  27. 5 out of 5

    FV Angela

    DNF- I tried, but I am just not interested and I feel like the entire 20% that I did read was just so incredibly slow and tedious.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ágnes

    DNF at page 148. The world-building had some potential but the characters are meh and the story is non-existent. :( Huge disappointment.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Ricketts (Donnie Darko Girl)

    DNF at 16%, review to come

  30. 5 out of 5

    Martha M. Neese

    I hate to give a bad review but this was way too hard to follow and I fell asleep so many times trying to get into this. Worst book I’ve ever read. I loved all of the Anita Blake books she wrote so had high hopes for this series but I was so disappointed in this one. Way too complicated to keep up with.

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