Friday, July 2, 2010
Book Review Friday: "Angelology" by Danielle Trussoni
Angelology is an epic tale of the eternal battle of humankind versus Nephilim, which are the spawn of male fallen angels and human women. The book has a "Raiders of the Lost Ark" kind of feel to it because the good humans and evil Nephilim race to find a powerful golden lyre, once used by the angel Gabriel, just as Indiana Jones raced against the Nazis to find the ark in the 1930's. In fact, a good portion of Angelology takes place during the same time period as "Raiders."
I have never read much paranormal or sci-fi fiction because I have a need to have the plot at least somewhat plausible. Though a plot involving multiple orders of angel spawn isn't what I'd call realistic, at least the author explains that this race has kept itself hidden from humanity, the Nephilim can appear as human, and she also weaves in plenty of Biblical references to the miscegenation of heavenly and earthly creatures. I wasn't too disturbed by this suspension of reality.
The lead character, Sister Evangeline, is a young nun at a convent in rural New York. Even though she's in her early twenties and separated from society, Evangeline is a bit too naive to make a strong lead in the novel. Evangeline operates the convent library, which contains a vast collection of material regarding angels, and she often turns away researchers seeking access to the library's materials. However, a letter from a scholar, Verlaine, who suggests that the wife of John D. Rockefeller Jr. had correspondence with the abbess of the convent in the 1930's, piques Evangeline's interest. She helps Verlaine confirm his suspicions. However, Verlaine has been hired by the Nephilim ring leader to research Abigail Rockefeller, for she was the last known person to have had possession of the magical lyre. And so the race begins.
The pacing of the book slows when the story turns to pre-WWII France when Evangeline's grandmother, Gabriella, and Celestine, Evangeline's present-day mentor, were students at an underground academy devoted to the study of angels, Nephilim, and their generations-old conflict with humanity. The reader is forced to sit through lectures along with the characters, all for the purpose of revealing back story through the professor's ramblings. As if that weren't bad enough, the author occasionally uses one sided dialogue to reveal even more back story, but the dialogue reads as if it were literary prose, not a conversation. Picture an information dump with quotes around it, essentially.
Even with the book's faults, though, the suspense is strong enough to carry the day. That's what might make Angelology a good movie. The Nephilim, despite their angelic ancestry, don't hesitate to lie, cheat, steal, and kill...even nuns. Evangeline and Verlaine are drafted into the academia and action of angelology, leaving their past lives behind to pursue, protect and study the lyre.
The premise of Angelology is intriguing enough to outweigh the rookie mistakes of this first-time novelist. The author does have a literary style to her writing, which makes the language rich and tactile. I have no doubt that a sequel is on the way, so I'm hopeful that this talented writier will have worked out some of the kinks by then.