Angelology by Danielle Trussoni – Book Review

Angelology by Danielle Trussoni
Published by Penguin

In the days before the Great Flood, a choir of angels called The Watchers took advantage of their position on Earth to form romantic attachments with human women. The results of these liaisons were known as Nephilim, human-angel hybrids who were larger and more powerful than humans. One of these creatures managed to escape the waters of the Flood, working his way onto Noah’s Ark through the subterfuge of his kind, and thus ensuring that Nephilim would continue to exist. In the years since, the physically superior Nephilim have, as the ruling classes of Europe, oppressed humankind (can I just mention that this sort of disturbs me, as it seems to me a justification within the book of the oppressions that Europeans have wrought on other peoples by explaining that the rulers who ordered them weren’t actually human at all). However, they have also been fought by a group at times loosely affiliated with the Catholic Church, Angelologists.

Angelology tells the story of the Angelolgists of the late 20th century. A formally powerful, now sickly, Nephilim named Percival Grigori is searching for an ancient artifact to restore himself to health and power, employing an art historian named Verlaine. Verlaine discovers the existence of a series of letters from the 1940s between Abigail Rockefeller and Mother Innocenta, the Mother Superior of a convent in New York State. When he visits the convent in an attempt to research the connection, he meets Sister Evangeline, a young woman who was until now blissfully unaware of her place in one of the great Angelological families.

The majority of the action in Angelology takes place in 1999, although the second of three sections takes place during and in the lead up to World War II, in a renowned Parisian school of Angelology. I found the first section and the first half of the second to be quite slow, particularly for a book that is considered to be a thriller. The problem is that Trussoni has to set up a particularly complicated plot and world view, made even more complicated by the fact it was grafted upon the real world we know, while at the same time completely changing our conception of human history. The result was sort of an info dump. It was interesting information, an interesting alternative history, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t bog down the story. Once the story got going, however, it was engaging and moved fairly quickly.

The saving grace of the info dump is the fact that this is apparently the first book in a series, the length of which I am not certain, although it does stand alone. The second half of the book intrigues me enough that I will likely pick up the sequel whenever it becomes available. I recommend this to people who are interested in well-thought out world building and who are willing to sit through an initially slow thriller for the payoff.

Buy this book from:
Powells | Indiebound*

I have two copies to give away, via the publisher, to readers with a US or Canadian mailing address. Just fill out the form below by the end of the day on Monday, March 21.

I read this book as part of a TLC Book Tour.  Check out some of the other tour hosts for more reviews.  Links go to the host’s site, not to their specific review.

Tuesday, March 1st: My Two Blessings

Wednesday, March 2nd: English Major’s Junk Food

Thursday, March 3rd: Life In Review

Tuesday, March 8th: Unabridged Chick

Wednesday, March 9th: A Bookish Way of Life

Thursday, March 10th: The Book Faery Reviews

Friday, March 11th: Katie’s Nesting Spot

Monday, March 14th: A Fanatic’s Book Blog

Tuesday, March 15th: Book Reviews by Molly

Wednesday, March 16th: Devourer of Books

Thursday, March 17th: Chaotic Compendiums

Monday, March 21st: Boarding in My Forties

Tuesday, March 22nd: Café of Dreams

Wednesday, March 23rd: Sara’s Organized Chaos

Thursday, March 24th: The Infinite Shelf

Monday, March 28th: Calico Critic

Wednesday, March 30th: Alison’s Book Marks

Thursday, March 31st: Booksie’s Blog

* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.

14 comments to Angelology by Danielle Trussoni – Book Review

  • Beth F

    Interesting. I am the opposite of you. I loved the first parts of the book — all the way up to the last 50 pages. I never thought it was slow or too full of information. The Hollywood thriller persona of the very end was a turn-off for me.

    • I think I would have felt the same way if it weren’t for some of the thrillerish conventions of the writing. I don’t love those in general and didn’t have a fast enough pace to excuse them. I was perhaps more interested in the set up in the first half, but the second half of the book worked better for me.

  • This isn’t usually what I read, but this does sound like an interesting read. I’ll have to keep an eye out for this one.

  • I had this out from the library and never did get around to reading it. One of these days I will because angels are a bit different… The angel series I really enjoy, though, is by Sharon Shinn. I doubt anything can top that. :)

  • Pam

    I read this last year and absolutely adored it. I think it has a Historian vibe to it.

    • Yeah, I was describing it to someone as a Historian/Da Vinci Code hybrid. I think I was expecting more of The Historian, and it had more of a thriller vibe than I thought it would initially. I also think that Kostova did a bit of a better job integrating the vampire lore into the story than Trussoni did with the angel lore. Of course, I also think Trussoni had more information she needed to impart faster, which made it harder.

  • Ashley Holt


  • I’ll be reading this one over the next few days in preparation for my tour stop. I don’t usually do well with slow-paced thrillers but I’m crossing my fingers that I enjoy this one.

  • Wasn’t that a real trip trying to summarize this novel? You did a great job though. I agree with Candace, I really liked the world-building (or re-building, or whatever it was), but the end felt way too much like The Da Vinci Code. I will most likely read the sequel though. It was a long book, and I did get invested.

  • Funny, I felt the exact opposite as you! I felt like the ending was thriller-esqe and left me wanting, but I absolutely loved the worldbuilding.

    • It is weird, I usually adore world building. I think my problem with the first part of the book is that there were still thriller-esque conventions in the writing. I’m not a huge of those, if they are going to be there, the plot had better be rocketing along. If the writing had been more like The Historian, I would have been totally happy with the world building and annoyed by the ending like everyone else. But the style told me it was supposed to be thriller, and if that’s the case I want it to actually be a thriller.

  • I think I would say that I loved the idea of the world she built and the detail she put into it, but I wasn’t totally sold on how she went about it.

  • I’m glad you’re open to a sequel – that’s certainly saying something!

    Thanks for being on the tour Jen.

  • […] Angelopolis is the second book in the Angelology series. I previously reviewed the first book in this series, Angelology. […]