Blood and Feathers by Lou Morgan
Book of the Year 2012 (see all)
Alice isn’t having the best of days: she got rained on, missed her bus, was late for work. When two angels arrive, claiming her life so far is a lie, it turns epic, grand scale worse.
The war between the angels and the Fallen is escalating; an age-old balance is tipping, and innocent civilians are getting caught in the cross-fire. The angels must act to restore the balance - or risk the Fallen taking control. Forever. Hunted by the Fallen and guided by Mallory - a disgraced angel with a drinking problem - Alice will learn the truth about her own history... And why the angels want to send her to Hell. What do the Fallen want from her? How does Mallory know so much about her past? What is it the angels are hiding - and can she trust either side? Caught between the power plays of the angels and Lucifer himself, it isn’t just Hell’s demons that Alice will have to defeat...
Blood and Feathers is the first novel by Lou Morgan. It is, as you might have guessed from the synopsis, a book about angels and demons, Heaven and Hell. Now, I have recently read various books that also featured this topic: The Dirty Streets of Heaven, God’s Eye and Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Angels and demons are a popular topic and even though this genre is represented by many others, they sadly have to make place for Blood and Feathers! As far as a first book goes, this is a very great book where Lou Morgan manages create a solid entry, authors beware...
The beginning of the book started off pretty weird, with teeth popping up in a lawn of a family. After this prologue you are switched to the main protagonist Alice. She is not having a great day and getting home soaked, she finds men gathered with her father in their house. From this part on she learns a lot about her past and that some dreams are more than what they seem. In the earlier chapters I got to know Alice as a careful girl who is still coming to terms with all the information that has been dumped on her. What her father hid from her, about her mother, why Heaven needs her, what her gift is etc.. I was very pleased with how Lou Morgan used a somewhat natural approach in the main character in terms of adjusting her to her new surroundings and the ultimate goal. As the story continues, there is an intervention with Mallory, where he decides that Alice should be trained, from this point onwards Alice felt different too me, more determined, self conscious and really voicing her thoughts. An added bonus to this all is that she also started mastering her powers, which produced some flashy scenes.
Another character that is important to Blood and Feather is Mallory, who is Earthbound, forced to live out a sentence on Earth and one step away from becoming Fallen. Mallory is really a cool character. Just from the start I had a certain feeling about his characters and with the description given along the way they came more than true. Mallory is a soldier who is very determined to eradicate all the Fallen (the Fallen are people in Hell). In his goal he has one very trusted item, his Colt: This gearing up angels with guns might not be that original but story wise it really made Mallory come to life. Taken together with his easy, witty humour, this provides on more than one occasion a laugh. Lastly there is Vin who still remains a bit in the background more as support towards Mallory and Alice, but in the end he manages to pull of some neat and important stuff. I think that we will see Vin recurring in the books to come. Of course there are more additional casts in the book other angels and Fallen, each of them had a special part in the book and there was not all of a sudden an introduction that felt to rushed.
Another part of the book that I liked was they way that the story was told. Using a multiple perspective viewpoint. In some chapters you see that there is focus on Alice, but in others you see that the story is being told via one of the Twelve, Lucifer or Mallory. With this multiple points of view the story always seems larger and that more engaging since you see what the other parties are planning in doing. From the cover of the book I thought this would be a very dark and gritty story about angels and demons, but was I wrong. There is good amount of humour and funny scenes thrown in that gave a more light hearted air to the book instead of always droning on the darkness behind it. Like the dialogue that Abadonna had with Alice “Hello?” “Fallen not supposed to be nice” “Clearly”. There are a lot more featuring mostly Mallory. Next to the funny scenes there was also a chapter that is making me reconsider puddles... similarly what I had with storm drains after It, I will most likely not look the same at a puddle. This chapter really gave me an eerie and dark feeling.
As the book is running on its ending there are quite a few revelations along the way. But all the attention focuses on a big battle planned in Hell. I really liked what the gate represented that the angels meant to destroy. That it was not to keep the Fallen in Hell, but that is was created by the Fallen to keep the angels out of Hell. The final battle reveals some of the powers that the angels and the Fallen have and was quite spectacular. Going from the Angel of Wrath flaming sword style and guns and mortars to fists. This was more that I thought would happen in a first book and I can only imagine what is in store in the sequel. In the end there is scene with Michael, one of the highest angels, and I do not quite know what to make of it, but looking back over his intentions he is willing to do anything without remorse. In a dialogue between Michael and Alice, prior to this quite turned a light on in Alice that he is thinking of Alice as more dispensable and just look for another. I am quite interested in how this will play out along the way.
There are a lot of things going on in Blood and Feathers that I can continue for quite some time still. Like the division of hierarchy in Heaven with the Choirs and awesome powers that they have, but then this would be too lengthy. Blood and Feathers is a great start to a series having a great writing style that got me through this book in an afternoon. Next there is a cast of likeable characters bolstered by their own personalities and a dose of humour, last is the action that forces you to read this book in one sitting.
This Blood and Feathers book review was written by Jasper de Joode
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