I was more than a little skeptical about a book based completely on the fall of Lucifer. Could anything new be added to this? There have been several attempts at weaving the fall of the angels into science fantasy lore – but usually as background for a story. Would it be possible to create an original and compelling narrative without being bogged down by the inherent religious dogma?
Surprisingly the answer is yes.
Harry Aderton has created an intricate and compelling angelic world. He combines familiar aspects of the biblical story with aspects of other world religions and with modern scientific theory. For the most part this works.
The story focuses on Sariel, one of the Archangels, and tells the story of the fall from his perspective. Sariel is a warm and relatable character which was pleasantly surprising. To take a figure as naturally imposing as one of the Archangels, chosen hand and voice of God, and humanize him without weakening him – well that is impressive.
Lucifer is almost sympathetic. Almost. And at first you find yourself feeling creeped out by that. Who wants to feel sympathetic towards the architect of the fall of man? But then you realize that it is necessary. Lucifer has to be more than just a stereotype for the meaning of the story to really hit home.
It is a little confusing at times though. Aderton has brought a wealth of biblical and canonical knowledge to this story paired with a fairly robust amount of information from other world religions. And it is a lot for the reader to take in. At times I felt like I needed a flow chart. I enjoy detail and backstory and intricacy… but occasionally I wish the knowledge had been imparted in a clearer fashion.
More importantly this is a well-crafted tale that does not preach or seek to shove a religious view down anyone’s throat. That is not to say there is not a discussion of faith and belief and relationship with God. There is. But it is an exploration of the broader ideas and concepts related to that- on a very personal level.
And did I mention there are some pretty awesome angelical battles? Because there are. The descriptions of the heavenly host battling the fallen created cinematic images in my head. Extremely well done.
I am no longer skeptical. I am a fan.
I was provided a gratis copy of this book for review.
Marley grew on me – as did the rest of the book. But I spent the first chapter or two wavering between really liking it and being put-off by the unusual style. The longer I read the more the style grew on me.
I still think I would have liked the story even better if the writing had been slightly less esoteric – but even that couldn’t take away from the draw of the story.
Chrysoula Tsavelas has created a vivid reality in “Matchbox Girls” that feels well thought out. The angels/demons/humans idea has gotten a lot of play in the book world lately, but Tsavelas takes the familiar theme and creates new depths and twists. Mixing the Fae in as well was an inspired choice.
Marley is an interesting lead character. We are thrown into the middle of her world without a lot of explanation. This makes for a disjointed and somewhat confusing start. On one level this completely works. I was figuring things out as she was. Where it occasionally came up short is that the reader doesn’t have the knowledge of Marley’s history that Marley obviously has. A few times it almost felt like as a reader I was supposed to already know something that I had no way of knowing. This was a tiny bit frustrating.
There are freaky Angels, mellow demons and two adorable little girls (with intense powers) thrown in the mix as well. My favorite character by far though is “the Whispering Dark” – I mean how cool a name is that. And what a character. A part of me is sincerely hoping that behind that kaiju façade is some incredibly sexy dark demi-god that Marley can totally fall in love with. The chemistry between them was astronomically more intense than between her and either of the other 2 possible hook-ups.
Then there is the odd bit of steampunk thrown in with the heavenly machinery. Jury is still out on that one, but secretly hoping to be convinced.
I really am looking forward to the next installment. I am hoping that the writing itself will be less disjointed. On the one hand it did help to get into the mind of Marley – who is on medicine to control what she believes is an anxiety disorder – and see the world perhaps as she sees it. On the other hand it seems a bit much at times. Maybe now that she is no longer repressing an integral part of who she is the writing will reflect that by becoming more concise as well. As long as it doesn’t lose the edge it has.
That’s not asking too much… right?
Oh – and more sexy kaiju. Can’t have enough of that particular sexy kaiju.