Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Review: Angel Time

Summary: Anne Rice returns to the mesmerizing storytelling that has captivated readers for more than three decades in a tale of unceasing suspense set in time past—a metaphysical thriller about angels and assassins.

The novel opens in the present. At its center: Toby O’Dare—a contract killer of underground fame on assignment to kill once again. A soulless soul, a dead man walking, he lives under a series of aliases—just now: Lucky the Fox—and takes his orders from “The Right Man.”
Into O’Dare’s nightmarish world of lone and lethal missions comes a mysterious stranger, a seraph, who offers him a chance to save rather than destroy lives. O’Dare, who long ago dreamt of being a priest but instead came to embody danger and violence, seizes his chance. Now he is carried back through the ages to thirteenth-century England, to dark realms where accusations of ritual murder have been made against Jews, where children suddenly die or disappear . . . In this primitive setting, O’Dare begins his perilous quest for salvation, a journey of danger and flight, loyalty and betrayal, selflessness and love. -- Knopf

Like many of you, I have read a few Anne Rice books in my lifetime. When I was younger, I read some of her vampire books; and then for book club a few years ago, we read CHRIST THE LORD: OUT OF EGYPT. Needless to say, her books have definitely changed throughout the years (much as a result of her Christian faith.) So when I heard that she has a new series of books coming out about angels, I was curious to say the least.

I have to admit that I wasn't exactly sure if ANGEL TIME: THE SONGS OF THE SERAPHIM, was going to work. I was hesitant to think an entire book about angels would hold my attention. That's not to say that I'm not interested in the idea of angels and how they possibly affect our lives -- I'm still thanking my guardian angel for saving my family in our car accident. It's just that I was wondering if the book would be a little too much on the "sweet" side. Would there be enough of the Anne Rice style that I had grown to enjoy?

I was very relieved to see the book described as a "metaphysical thriller;" and when I read the following quote from the author, I felt even better:

“I have never been satisfied by the way that angels are portrayed in modern films and fanciful stories. Too often they appear as sad characters who love Earth more than Heaven; sometimes they are downright flawed. How much more exciting is it to imagine wise and joyful angels who might at times be baffled by humans, yes, but who are always filled with optimism and loving kindness, because they are very special children of God. Why can’t we have good and exciting and suspenseful fiction about such angels? I think we can.”

After "flying through" (get it?) ANGEL TIME, I have to agree wholeheartedly with Ms. Rice. She managed to come up with a very unique premise for a book, and I think she definitely pulled off an intriguing book that also happened to have angels as characters. What I really enjoyed about this book is how the author managed to incorporate so many elements into the story. This book really did have a little bit of everything -- suspense, adventure, time travel, historical fiction, and religion.

In addition to a very entertaining story, I also appreciated some of the messages in this story. When the book begins, the main character Lucky Fox is a basically a murderer-for hire. He is about the last person you would expect an angel to turn to for help! As the story unfolds, the reader learns about Lucky's past and the reasons why his life turned out the way it did. I ended up really liking Lucky (despite his career choice) and my heart definitely went out to him. Through Lucky's transformation, the author manages to reveal some pretty major themes in this story including redemption and forgiveness. ANGEL TIME actually ended up being much deeper than I was first expecting.

ANGEL TIME: SONGS OF THE SERAPHIM is the first book in the series. The second book is already completed, and Ms. Rice is currently working on the third. I pretty sure that I'm already hooked, and I am definitely looking forward to the future novels. If you are like me and enjoy adventure books that include time travel or even historical fiction novels, then I think you will like ANGEL TIME!

Thanks the the publisher for sending me a review copy.


bermudaonion said...

Thanks for the review! I too thought this was a book totally about angels, so I wondered if it would be any good. I'm glad to see it is.

Nicole (Linus's Blanket) said...

My mom really loves Anne Rice so I will have to be on the lookout for this for her. I never really got int her books. Interview With A Vampire was one my mom loved, but I got bored with it.

Joanne said...

Great review! I have Angel Time on my TBR list this year, and I, too, am curious to see Rice going in a different direction.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I remember reading the vampire series a long time ago, and that she does have a way of reeling you in. This one sounds good!

Sandy Nawrot said...

I think I've spent half my life reading Anne Rice. I read all the series...the vampires, the witches, and seems like there was another one in there somewhere. I eventually got burned out when she started traveling down the obscure branches of the vampire family tree. Still, she is always wildly creative, incredibly deep at times, and spins a fun story. She does have a habit (ala Stephen King) of going on and on sometimes. I might give this one a try, for old times sake!

Ashley Ludwig said...

Great review! I'm reading it now - just as a busy writer mama, I wanted to see your take!

Truth? I checked it out from the library, so I HAVE to finish it by next week.

Consequences? I'll be purchasing it for my Sister for her birthday, my mom for mother's day, and will definitely buy a copy for my Anne Rice library.

Great review! See you on Twitter!



Unknown said...

I am a couple chapters in to "Angel Time" and am intrigued. I've only read a few of her paranormal books but thought her "Cry To Heaven" was one of the best I've ever read.

An interesting role for an angel....

Beth F said...

Very cool trailer! I am not that into angels so I wasn't sure about this, but now I think I'll have to keep my eye out for it when I have some space in my reading schedule.

Unknown said...

Oooh, Great review! Don't throw books at me, but I have never read Anne Rice. I think this might be a good place to start!

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to see you enjoyed this. It's one I've been wanting to read.