18 July 2014

Review: Guarding Angel - S. L. Saboviec

Guardian Angel Enael has always had trouble connecting with her humans, that is, until she meets the charismatic Kaspen and he teaches her how to understand them. Unfortunately, Kaspen has secrets of his own, and one very big problem in the shape of a former lover, Yasva. When Yasva falls from heaven and becomes a demon, Enael and Kaspen are thrown into peril, along with their humans. Yasva will stop at nothing to get Kaspen back, one way or another, and with her abilities as muse, she gets stronger every day. Yasva has big plans for the world, and it seems that it is up to Kaspen and Enael to stop her.

I loved the idea of this novel; the way that Saboviec has blended traditional ideas of heaven and hell in the Christian sense and mixed them with religions from all over the world. She has taken all the ideas of angels and woven them into a tapestry that blends in perfectly to the story. I loved the way that the angels were ranked, giving new life to old terms such as Seraphim, Nephilim, Archangels, Cherubs, Muses and Guardians, and giving new stations to angels that would be essential to the running of the heaven system. In this book, everyone goes to heaven unless they choose not to, and here humans are reincarnated into other lives to enrich their souls. This makes sense of the feeling of purpose we try to have in our lives. I also liked the fact that hell still exists in this version of life and death, but here the lines are blurred; demons are not always evil. It added another dimension to the book and helped with the overall story, especially the idea of the fearlings.

Enael and Kaspen were very interesting characters. As much as I liked them and understood them, I never really loved them. Maybe they were too far removed from my human state at first, because they both seemed to go through human lives without honestly caring, and their emotions worked in a very different way to my own. However, I did like them more when they began to take control of their own destinies and made their own decisions. Perhaps that is why I felt much more drawn to Yasva. I completely understood her motives, her actions and her words. Everything about her just made sense to me, and she felt like a much more real character.

Another point to make is the romance. Angels seem to love differently to humans and therefore it was a slow, steady kind of relationship. This is fine; I liked that there was no insta-love, and I liked the way the feelings came slowly. However, I never truly saw any spark. Their love was tentative and to be honest, it was more of a companionship than a relationship.

Guarding Angel is a nice read, but I thought it might have been more suitable for me as a holiday book due to the languorous style of the writing. The style was good, but the pacing was slow, even the end, which got slightly more into the action. I can see a lot of potential for the second book, with the biggest focus being on the structure of heaven and control over Earth's plan.

The cliffhanger wasn't so huge that you were gobsmacked. In fact, I expected it. You could see the end coming and you kind of knew what would happen in the end. However, the way the climax weaved its-self into historical events was very well executed; it really lent a sense of place and time, which I felt was missing earlier in the book. I do wonder what will happen during the inevitable struggle in the second Fallen Redemption book, and with Voctic yet to make an appearance, my guess is that it's something to so with his tea shop in Asia.

Overall, this was a good read, suitable for people who prefer smoothly flowing books and different takes on heaven, hell and the afterlife. A must read for someone who loves books about angels.

Thank you to S.L. Saboviec for gifting me a review copy of Guarding Angel. This has in no way affected my rating of this book.