Angelopolis by Danielle Trussoni – Mini Book Review

Angelopolis by Danielle Trussoni
Published by Viking Books, an imprint of Penguin

Angelopolis is the second book in the Angelology series. I previously reviewed the first book in this series, Angelology.

From the publisher:

A decade has passed since Verlaine saw Evangeline alight from the Brooklyn Bridge, the sight of her new wings a betrayal that haunts him still. Now an elite angel hunter for the Society of Angelology, he pursues his mission with single-minded devotion: to capture, imprison, and eliminate her kind.

But when Evangeline suddenly appears on a twilit Paris street, Verlaine finds her nature to be unlike any of the other creatures he so mercilessly pursues, casting him into a spiral of doubt and confusion that only grows when she is abducted before his eyes by a creature who has topped the society’s most-wanted list for more than a century. The ensuing chase drives Verlaine and his fellow angelologists from the shadows of the Eiffel Tower to the palaces of St. Petersburg and deep into the provinces of Siberia and the Black Sea coast, where the truth of Evangeline’s origins—as well as forces that could restore or annihilate them all—lie in wait.

I probably need to give up on this series, because it just isn’t what I want it to be. It is not bad by any stretch of the imagination – in fact, that’s the problem, why I can’t give it up. Trussoni uses a lot of thriller conventions, she does them well, but many of them are the reasons I don’t read thrillers. In Angelopolis there are a number of story lines happening simultaneously and the action continually bounces between them. It absolutely keeps the story chugging along and kept me reading compulsively, but it just isn’t my cup of tea.

Trussoni has created a very rich world and I adore all the details of the angels and the Russian tzars. I really can’t fault Trussoni for writing a very good series that just isn’t quite written in the genre I wish it was.

Buy this book from:
Powells | Indiebound*

Source: Publisher.
* 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.

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Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans – Book Review

Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster

Note: I have been friendly with Lenore Appelhans for some time in the book blogging community, but we have never been close, nor even consistent commenters on each other’s blogs. I received my copy of the book from the publisher, not from Appelhans, and this is my unvarnished opinion.

Felicia has been in Level 2 since her sudden death at the age of 18. Her days consist of little more than re-watching memories from her own life. Things are starting to change in Level 2, though. The girl in one of the neighboring chambers dies, but nobody seems to notice. In fact, nobody but Felicia remembers that she was even ever there. It is when Julian,  a boy from Felicia’s past, shows up, though, that things really start to get strange.  Felicia and Julian have a complicated history, and she isn’t exactly thrilled to see him, but she still agrees to go with him when he helps her escape from her hive and tries to enlist her in a rebellion.

Lenore Appelhans’s version of the afterlife is unlike any I have ever experienced: the hives, the memories that are replayed and used as currency. What is more familiar is the ongoing war between good and evil that does not end with death. There are some connections to Judeo-Christian traditions, but at the same time this is not a religious or preachy book in the least. What Level 2 is is an incredibly engaging book. I found myself reading so quickly that I almost felt that the pacing was off. It was me, though, and not the book; when I forced myself to slow down to a normal reading speed the pacing worked well, but if I did not pay attention I would find myself racing through the book at breakneck (breakeye?) speed because of how purely engaging the book is.

In Level 2, Appelhans creates a world and a mythology that is unlike any I’ve experienced before, but that is still believable and internally consistent and is the basis for an incredibly compelling story.

Buy this book from:
Powells | Indiebound*

Source: Publisher.
* 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.

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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.