What to say… I’ve always enjoyed Urban Fantasy for its larger and longer story arc that really gives an author room to build their plot and their characters. I might have to rethink that after this one- just kidding. This is what I call the ‘trust me’ book of the series. It is the third story of a ‘must read in order’ series and it will be the one that will shake loose any lightweight fans or have those in for the long haul really girding up their loins when its through. I let this review sit to give me time, but no, I’m still pretty torn up about where things are left in the end. Oh please, oh please, I am begging for the next installation to come out in a reasonable amount of time- or faster, unreasonable works for me too.
What can I say to keep from giving it all up and ruining the experience for everyone? Hmmm.
Alex and Seth have returned to Toronto to pick up the pieces after what happened with Lucifer and Mikael’s plan involving Aramael. Alex has recovered physically, but she is not dealing well with being attacked and raped, but she pushes her personal stuff aside because of the whole Armageddon thing coming really soon. Unfortunately, her not dealing with stuff has effects on Seth because she pushes any intimacy away.
Seth too is coming to terms with his big decision when he gave everything up to be human and be with Alex. He could care less about the end of the world and saving humans. Both parents betrayed him and tried to kill him. He’s done with their issues; he just wants Alex, but she wants to save the world first. It doesn’t help that Alex gets called back from leave early because pregnant women are being murdered and attacked from both the fallen ones and paranoid humans. Everyone is needed. Seth now has to compete with her job too. He’s hurt by her choices, angry and scared that he gave it all up for- well hopefully not nothing.
Alex gets to add trouble with her sister who confronts her angrily, but really doesn’t want to listen or know what is really going on with the spiritual realm stuff. Then there are the troubles with the work psychologist who deems her unfit for regular duty and she gets blindsided with Elizabeth the shrink from Vancouver. Everyone wants her to deal with her stuff, but she can’t talk about it because of the big secrets about the angels, fallen ones, and the nephalim army that’s out there readying to be unleashed on humans. She’s barely holding on by a thread and just wants to do her job and repair her relationship with Seth so they can be together in peace for whatever time they are left.
Meanwhile in the other realm, things are going down that force Mikael to have to break his word to Alex and involve her in the spiritual stuff again. The One is weakening because of Seth’s choice and has a plan to deal with Lucifer leaving Mikael to deal with the rest. But first, Seth must be convinced to take his powers back and they have determined that Alex is the only one who can get him to listen. Lucifer is still plotting the end of humankind, but his lieutenant starts making his own plans. Both of their plans intersect with Alex’s sister and niece and Seth now in their sights. Plots galore!
Aramael returns to the spotlight when Mikael sees enough facts to think that Alex is back in Lucifer’s crosshairs. The soul mate bond between Aramael and Alex is as strong as ever even if she made her choice to be with Seth. Aramael is her new guardian and it is hard on both of them. It is also a further strain on her relationship with Seth who is jealous even though she has given him no reason to be. Aramael is back to being tortured every moment of his day by what he cannot have and having to watch Alex with Seth.
It all comes down to such heartbreaking tragedy in the end. I truly hope this series is at its darkest point because I don’t know how much more I can take even as I don’t want to miss what comes next.
This may seem odd since this was a dark part in the series, but I think this one far surpasses book two in my mind. The plot was hard pounding and strong right on through even if a lot happens in a little time. The focus on Alex’s ability to keep coming back time and again, coping (or not coping as the case may be) with all on her plate and making some serious sacrifices just keeps bringing me back for more when it comes to her. She’s got her flaws and they’re big ones, but even her bad decisions make perfect sense under the circumstances. Truthfully, I found what hit her in this one was too much. There is not an aspect of her life that is not in serious crisis. Alex wasn’t showing much softness and light in this one, but yet I still admired her because she’s a hard woman doing what she has to. She feels deeply, but she has a deep-seated commitment to do the right thing even if it means that she must sacrifice.
But as to the biggest part that was better? I saw that my misgivings in book two came to fruition. This is not me gloating; this is me feeling validated by my impression that the direction that book two went just felt way off for me and I just couldn’t accept what seemed to be happening. I’m referring to the relationship. I like Seth and I like Alex, but I wasn’t sold on them together. This only has a little to do with Aramael and Alex together in the first book and a whole lot to do with Seth and Alex feeling forced.
Now after this one finished, I don’t know what to think. I cried for Alex, I cried for Aramael, but I really cried for Seth. I just hurt over what happened. This is a sign that I’m so vested in this series. I’ve got to say that more and more I’m loving the curmudgeonly and yet dangerously capable Mikael. I really want to see him shine.
So in the end, those this one ripped me apart, I loved it. This series gives a unique take on Angels, Demons, God and everyone in between. It’s raw, gritty, dark and between the action, the character development and the heart-breaking romantic entanglements it can offer a lot to a Urban Fantasy lover.
My thanks to Net Galley for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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