Sunday, March 21, 2010

In Which Trai Reviews 'Angelic'

The Book: Angelic

The Author: Kelley Armstrong

How I Found It: I'm a huge fan of Armstrong's and have been since I was fourteen. I reviewed the second of her YA books towards the beginning of this blog.

The Review: This was a different thing for me-- an audiobook. I meant to buy the actual book when it was out, but it was a limited edition and I didn't snap one up fast enough, so I got the audiobook off of Audible and listened to it today. It was short-- just over 90 minutes-- since this was a novella.

Since the first book of Armstrong's I read was Haunted, narrated by Eve, Eve was always my favorite narrator. I always wanted to see another book from her point of view, but it never became a reality (though the book coming this summer will be from the point of view of her daughter Savannah). I was really glad to see Armstrong wrote this, but I was a little disappointed to not see more of Trsiel, Eve's angel partner.

This might be a little spoilerish for anyone that hasn't read the series, but Eve's book was around in 2005, so I doubt I'm spoiling anything for anyone who has. (I'm also a few books behind; the last Otherworld book I read was No Humans Involved.)

To put things very simply, Eve Levine has been dead for some time now, having died prior to the second book in the series, Stolen. She is a very powerful witch who also has half-demon blood, and she is a highly powerful and respected master of dark magic. More than anything, Eve cares about the daughter she left behind (Savannah), whose father (Kristof) she reconnected with in the afterlife. (Kristof was accidentally killed by Savannah in Dime Store Magic, I believe.) At the end of Haunted, Eve was offered a job by the Fates: hunting down spirits and other nuisances and sending them to Hell. She became an angel and was partnered with another angel, Trsiel, and the deal is that she spends six months of a year doing work for the Fates, and gets six months off with Kristof as a ghost.

Angelic lets us follow Eve on a very simple example of the jobs Eve does. Since it was a novella, things weren't nearly as complex as they could have been, and I did find myself wishing it was a full book. There were some appearances by other characters in the series, albeit briefly (Jaime, Jeremy, and Kristof are the major ones).

When the book starts, Eve is attempting to prepare for a vacation with Kristof. The Fates have already postponed her six months of freedom by a week, and Eve is getting annoyed. The Fates call her back to ask her to deal with a problem: djinn who are torturing the people who summon them. Eve has a difficult time saying no to cases involving witches who are being hurt, and thus agrees to the job. Even though she says yes, Eve is annoyed with the Fates' poor (in her view) treatment of her and decides she wants to quit her job.

The book follows Eve as she finds who is behind all the attacks, attempts to stop them, and realizes the orchestrator might not necessarily be who she thinks it is. Through it all, she debates whether or not to leave her job, and finally has to enlist the help of Jaime and Jeremy.

As I said before, it would've been so nice if this could have been a full book. As it was, it was nice, but so much could have been done with it. I really missed hearing the story of Eve and Kristof from her point of view-- seeing them in No Humans Involved was nice, but Eve was a good narrator and she was always my favorite. So hearing from her again was good, but I just wanted more. I wanted to see more struggling on Eve's part to get the case solved. I wanted to see more of her with Kristof. I wanted Trsiel to show up and kick ass and take names.

As it was, I liked it. Eve was fun and a couple lines made me laugh. It was nice seeing a little Greek mythology worked in. My one problem was that it's been so long since I read the early Otherworld books that I was a tiny bit fuzzy on little plot details from them that show up briefly. But I liked the insights we got into Eve, and the reveal that Kristof's son knew about Eve was interesting. I wonder if that will play into Savannah's upcoming book.

Though the book could have been longer if Armstrong had had the time and inclination, I didn't fault it for being what it was. It was nice of her to do it for the fans in the first place. It was well-paced and I was never bored, though I do wish it was widely available in book form. The audiobook was well-done, though the narrator's voice felt a little too girly for Eve. The voices were distinctive enough, but we didn't really see enough of each character to require it, so it wasn't a big deal if they were or not.

Overall, I think the only people this book will appeal to are Armstrong's fans-- though you don't have to know her world, I can't really see anyone else picking this one up. For what it is, I think it was very good. I'm hoping Eve will figure more in the next few Otherworld books, but until then, I'm glad Armstrong gave us this.


  1. Given how interesting you seem to be, and given the amount of time and effort you put into your blog, it's a little surprising that you don't get more comments. Maybe it's because you don't talk about yourself. Maybe you should. If my novel ever gets published, I'll send it to you for review.

  2. Thank you! I try to keep to talking about books, but occasionally in my rants I'll veer off into my personal life :) I also don't promote myself much, besides linking to my blog on a few social networking sites (Goodreads, etc). I'd definitely love to read your novel-- if it ever gets published, keep me in mind :) And feel free to keep coming back!

  3. For what is Trai a contraction? I know of a man called Tra', which is short for Tralee (he was Irish.)

    Now that I’m just about done with the fourth draft of Odyssey (my novel,) I’ve been scouring Literary Agents in Google. I’m not encouraged. They all stress the commercial aspects of the literary world (which is a turn-off for me,) many of them take a rather high-handed attitude to authors and the submission process (which I would find impossible to tolerate,) and most of them specify ‘no adult fantasy,’ which is how (wrongly in my opinion) Odyssey would probably be seen. I’m thinking I might have to stick with the small press, even though it would limit the readership to about five, or something – and that’s if I could get it accepted in the first place. I've had twenty four short stories published by the small press, but a novel is something else entirely.

    And where did you get the picture? The model has an unusually engaging look for a model. Modelling is a bit of a hobby hore of mine.

  4. Trai is my nickname-- my actual name is Tracy. I was called Trai by a few of my teachers in middle school, so I picked it up as my nickname. I initially used it on the Internet because it sounded androgynous. :)

    It's interesting to hear about what you're running into with publishing-- I'm a writer myself; my current project is the novel I worked on for National Novel Writing Month, which is at 52,000 words but still needs to be finished. I'm only in college, so I still have plenty of time to find an agent or a publisher, but I feel I'd run into similar problems. Even so, there have been success stories in recent years with small-press authors being picked up by major publishers. I would say don't give up hope!

    Oh, and my icon (I'm assuming that's the picture you're referring to?) is from the television show I took the nickname "Tutor Girl" from, One Tree Hill. As I got into the show, I realized that one of the characters and I had a lot in common. Her nickname on the show is Tutor Girl, and I started using it in usernames and such. When I started my blog, I decided to use it as part of the blog title. The icon is of Bethany Joy Galeotti, who plays Haley; I think the picture comes from an episode screencap.

  5. Fortunately, being published isn't that big an issue with me. If I have any drive in that direction, it's simply the old urge to communicate. I would HATE to be famous. I read Kafka's The Trial recently, and was interested to discover that he wasn't publiished during his lifetime. He even instructed that his mss should be burned when he died. I think too many modern authors are driven by the desire for celebrity.