Saturday, February 18, 2012
Angels? Demons? Well, that sounds like weekend reading time to me, y'all.
I don't love the angelic trend in urban fantasy. It mostly feels very Twilight-influenced, in that the angels are all Edward and the girls are all Bella. The other thing I really dislike in a lot of the angel stuff is the way God is depicted - He's always this uncaring, absentee father which generates a great deal of the Edward-esque emo. I'm not religious by any means, but that always strikes me as pretty trite. It's been done (and done and done). Let's see something new and fresh, eh? Well, A Kiss Before the Apocalypse by Thomas E. Sniegoski is both.
When the Angel of Death goes missing in the mortal realm, Heaven comes to private investigator Remy Chandler to find him. Remy is uniquely qualified to find an angel who's gone native, since he's done exactly that himself - he is the archangel Remiel of the host Seraphim, now living on earth as a mortal. The world edges closer to apocalypse while Remy searches for Death - no one is dying, wars are escalating, seas are rising - and yet, it is Remy's looming private apocalypse that is the most painful; Remy's human wife, Madeleine, is at the very end of her life, dying of cancer and old age. Every step Remy takes brings him closer to finding Death and averting the apocalypse all while knowing that saving the world means losing everything that matters to him.
I love that Remiel isn't some fallen angel - he's just a heartbroken soldier who can't accept the terrible things that happened during the war in Heaven. He left Paradise to try to find some peace in being a mortal, and God seems to be cool with that. Remy can talk to every living thing, and his interactions with his chocolate lab, Marlowe, are alternately touching and hilarious. At one point Marlowe demands to know when Maddy is coming back from the nursing home and refuses to be distracted. Man, I bawled my stupid head off. (I'm sitting here sniffling just thinking about it.)
This book is hard-boiled mystery, old Testament smiting, and great characterization. In short, it is just plain excellent. The series gets better as it goes on, too, and I've loved every installment. Get thee to a bookstore and pick it up today.