Monday, October 6, 2008

“Blood Angel” by Justine Musk

FROM THE BOOKCOVER:
In downtown Manhattan, a rising young painter is haunted by disturbing dreams. Her walls are covered in her own scrawls: Release the boy....

In small-town Minnesota, a teenage orphan struggles with a knowledge beyond his years—and a destiny he wants no part of....

In California, people are tuning in to a new underground rock band. Young and old, hipsters and. hippies, all are falling under the spell of its wildly charismatic lead singer.

Her voice breaks down all barriers—including the ones between heaven and hell.

The fans of Asha are starting to find one another—and the world is running out of time...
I had read some glowing reviews about Lord of Bones the sequel to Blood Angel, so I figured I would start at the beginning and ordered copies of both. The series is an urban fantasy featuring the supernatural and demons. Frankly, I haven’t read a more depressing book since my first reading of Donaldson’s Thomas Covenant stories years ago.

All of the principal characters are broken individuals (can’t call them people because some aren’t). Lucas, an ex-rocker and addict; Jessamy, an artist with a tragic past and troubling dreams; Ramsey, a foster teen also with a tragic past; Kai, a 700 year-old nephilim, alone and burdened; and Asha, Kai’s equally old, demon possessed half-sister consumed with rage. With a few exceptions, the supporting cast are equally from the fringes of society.

Asha has escaped from her prison and returned to the human world with an all-consuming hatred for mankind and the intent of cleansing the world by bringing demons through a portal from the Dreamlines. Kai is out to prevent this with the help of Jessamy who unbeknownst to her is the descendant of a powerful nephilim family. She has a dual soul and unrealised magical abilities that must be awakened and used to defeat Asha. Ramsey nature is similar to Jessamy’s and he also plays a pivotal role.

There are a lot of dream and ‘visions’ sequences in this book described in circuitous and oblique language. I don’t mind a few of these types of literary devices to advance a plot but essentially the overall style of the novel follows this pattern. Scenes often seem incomplete or fragmented and almost deliberately obscure - creating a feeling of disconnection from the story and the characters. This is not to say the novel is badly written – it is not. In fact, stylistically it is quite impressive for a debut novel, but for me not a very approachable or likable story.

The sequel was written and released three years later and may in fact be totally different from this first book. I would like to hear from anyone with an opinion on the sequel. In the meantime it is coming off my TBR pile in favour of more pleasurable reading options.

Fans of some of Stephen King’s more macabre offerings may find aspects of Blood Angel to their taste.

Read the first chapter.

2 comments:

  1. Yeah it sounds a little depressing!

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  2. Sorry, I can't help you with the sequel, but I haven't picked it up yet. I did think Blood Angel was bizarre and leaned more towards horror than anything else. I'll be interested to see what you think if you get around to the second book. :)

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