Flaming Dove (Anglais) Broché – 15 septembre 2010
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Set against the backdrop of a post-apocalyptic Earth, where demons and angels have settled into an uneasy co-existence, and humans are all but extinct, Laila struggles to find her place. Heaven's godlight burns her, Hell's hellfires scorch her. She is of two worlds, but can belong to neither. Incredibly strong physically, emotionally vulnerable, and full of rage against both worlds, Laila unwillingly finds herself the key player in the continuing battle between good and evil.
Although filled with exciting battle scenes, and a cast of characters known to us all (Nathaniel, Lucifer, Beezlebub, Michael, to name a few), this is truly Laila's story. As Laila struggles to find her place, angels and demons alike try to use her for their own end. Each side believes Laila to be the key to victory. It is soon apparent that the entire outcome of Armageddon depends upon this one soul, and such an unwilling soul at that.
This book is a delightful read, with fluid writing and a nice pacing of action interspersed with tender moments. It was easy to get into this story, and hard to put it down. I love the way nothing is really cut and dry throughout this story; the Ruler of Hell is not without merits, and the archangels not without sin. The author really forces you to take a step back and question where the line between good and evil actually falls, if there is even such a line. The story seems predictable, but I was surprised many times with the events leading up to the climax of the story. Even when I thought I had finished the story, there was one last surprise waiting for me at the end, a surprise that really drove home a main theme of the story. Best of all, the ending did what all the best endings do; it left me with something to ponder.
My only critique is that Arenson perhaps describes the main character's sexy cape a few times, but hey, who can blame him? Laila is pretty hot. ;)
Fantasy these days seem to revolve around the same concepts (maybe we're all a little vampire crazy). Arenson has merged the pious with the evil, the corrupt with pure, and added the element that makes you relate to his characters: humanity. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
Plot/Storyline: 5 stars
The story began twenty-seven years after Armageddon. Armageddon had been prophesized for millennia as the ultimate battle between good and evil, between God's forces and Satan's forces. There was just one problem: neither side won the battle, and now--twenty-seven years later--both sides were still fighting a stalemated battle. Humans had virtually disappeared from the Earth, victims of the vicious fighting.
I didn't need my Bible for background material. Author Daniel Arenson created his own version of Heaven and Hell that only loosely conformed with Biblical scripture. And that's okay, because he wrote a dandy story of angels and demons warring over the Holy Land in a battle that had gone on for so long that it had become the holy equivalent of the Hatfield-McCoy feud.
Lucifer was no longer the King of Hell, having been murdered by Beelzebub, who now ruled the underworld with his Queen, Zarel. Lucifer and Beelzebub were fallen angels, ousted from Heaven when a rebellion against God failed. Zarel, however, was all demon, forged in the bowels of Hell, and she was possibly the most powerful warrior in Heaven or Hell.
NOTE: This review was originally published at Red Adept Reviews on April 29, 2011.
The angels' ace-in-the-hole was Laila, who had both angel and demon blood. Laila was also very powerful, but as the armies of good and evil maneuvered and fought, which side would she choose to fight with, and would she be able to defeat Zarel if the angels persuaded her to fight on God's side?
There were some great action battle scenes involving tens of thousands of angels and demons, with the battles being fought in historical places such as Jerusalem, Caesarea, and Masada. The Sea of Galilee played a key role, too, but not in a way you might expect.
As the story rolled toward a dramatic climax, the ending could have gone in any of several directions, but the author brought the story to a logical and satisfying conclusion.
Characters: 5 stars
The story was built around some very memorable characters. Archangel Michael was the pious leader of Heaven's forces on Earth. Beelzebub was the leader of the underworld. Laila and Zarel were powerful female warriors, each with their own strengths and vulnerabilities. Bat El was an angel sent to Earth to fight under Michael. She was allegedly the half-sister of Laila, with both having the same Heavenly mother. As unseasoned and inexperienced as Bat El was, she played a major role in the story.
Angels were not always... well, angelic, even before the rebellion against God occurred. Beelzebub reminisced: Those were the days, back before the rebellion... Oh man, the trouble we'd get into, sneaking down to Earth to run around, drink cheap beer, and hunt in the forests. We'd piss off God more than a few times.
Beelzebub was my favorite character. He was quite a ladies' man and a powerful seducer. His pick-up line to Bat El: Come with me to Hell. We'll have fun there, parties, drinking... We'll make love every morning and every night.
There were few black-and-white characters. Heavenly angels suffered evil thoughts at times, and demons were capable of tenderness, even love. This produced much of the drama and tension in the story.
Writing style: 5 stars
This was a serious story, but I loved the tongue-in-cheek comments that lightened things up at times, as when Beelzebub complained about all the dead angels' bodies littering the floor after a battle: Guys, really, clean up the mess.
The author's writing style was very polished. He used a third-person threaded narrative that kept the suspense going from one chapter to the next. Dialogues seemed realistic and natural, considering that the characters were angels and demons who had been at continuous war for almost three decades.
Editing: 4 3/4 stars
I found very few typos, and the Kindle editing was very good.
I recommend Flaming Dove to readers of urban fantasy, paranormal suspense, and especially to fans of dark fantasy.