By far the best book in the series so far.
A revolt in Heaven, angels fighting angels. Who better to mediate a peaceful resolution than the Devil's nephew, Frank "Triggaltheron" Trigg?
Don't answer that.
When Scarlett arrives at his door, beaten to within an inch of her life, Frank finds himself in the middle of a war as the Nephilim arrive to finish the job. With only Eden still standing, the battle for Heaven spills over and ravages the Earth with deadly storms. Amidst the chaos, Frank must find a way to end the war before the battling hordes of half-breed angels, vampires, and lycanthropes reach Eden and bring about the end of existence.
People who have read my reviews know that I have a bit of a soft spot for Frank "Triggaltheron" Trigg, the down on his luck demon who fights hordes of monsters so that he can continue to live a life of sexual depravity. So when Tim Marquitz sent me through a copy of At The Gates, the third book in the Demon Squad series and the second Demon Squad book this year, I immediately dropped everything I was reading to get my Frank fix. And I'm glad I did because At The Gates has emulated it's predecessor, Marquitz again showing a marked improvement in writing skills, addressing the issues I had with Resurrection, and raising the stakes even higher for Frank.
At The Gates follows on immediately from the events of Resurrection with his cousin Scarlett, mysteriously missing during the events of Resurrection, knocking on his door having been beaten to within an inch of her life. The message is clear, if they hurry they might just have enough time to save heaven. At the same time, mysterious purple storm clouds start appearing around the world, the innocuous snowflakes destroying everything they touch, wiping out entire cities and populations in the space of minutes. Thus begins a global treasure hunt on a strict deadline, Frank and his team scouring the globe for a set of ancient religious artefacts that will grant them entry to Heaven, hoping that from Heaven they can end the war and save the world.
One of the big differences you will notice from the opening chapters is that Marquitz has taken Demon Squad global, removing that seemingly invisible partition between the mortal world and the supernatural world. The wars being fought by the supernaturals now have real world consequences, and these consequences are devastating for the human population. These world wide consequences have been introduced with purpose and forethought, raising the stakes and adding an extra dimension to Franks decision making rather than just self preservation. It is the direction this series needed to take and I am glad Marquitz was able to really embrace it and make it part of the story.
The full cast of heroes from Resurrection are back, and this time we get to see much more of the motivations that drive them. Each character now feels far more rounded, particularly Scarlett whose despair at being left by God feels much more realistic this time around. Frank's personality has also subtly changed this time around. He is still the sexually depraved pervert who feels much better when he has an unobstructed view of his cousins cleavage, but with his new found power he has become a bit of a leader, proactively seeking solutions to problems and making his own luck rather than just reacting to the situation and riding his luck wherever it takes him. It is nice to see Frank grow as a person while still retaining that part of his personality that make him Frank, and hopefully Marquitz can continue this trend in future books.
The writing is still very much the same, this is a fast paced action oriented book that easily entertains. The prose here has improved out of sight since the first Demon Squad book, it is very slick and only rarely does Marquitz stray into those bad habits that marred the first book. The change in style from defeating the villain of the week to the global treasure hunt is reflected in the writing, the suspense filled scenes now enhanced by some spectacular locations and a new sense of urgency. The tone is also a lot more serious in this book but Frank's personality used to much greater affect, providing some very witty and much needed comic relief during some of the darker moments. This is a book designed to thrill first, and it does a very good job of it.
At The Gates is an entertaining read that exceeded my high expectations and is by far the best book in the series. The humour and sexualism has been slightly toned down in the face of some impossible odds, but this is still unmistakeably a Demon Squad book with more than enough Frank moments to make you laugh and cringe at the same time. These books are not for everyone and if you are not a fan of the series, At The Gates is probably not going to convert you. But those who are fans will love this book, rejoicing at getting a second helping of Frank within twelve months.
Review by Ryan Lawler
FBR favourite Tim Marquitz is back, only this time it's to promote the anthology he edited called Fading Light. Tim was able to attract a number of high profile authors to anthology, and fantasy readers are likely to be f [...]
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