Sunday, October 30, 2011

Guest Review: The Lost Angel

Summary: New York Times bestselling author Javier Sierra returns with a heartpounding, apocalyptic thriller about mankind's most ancient desire—and the modern evil some will unleash to obtain it.

Every religion has a story for how our species came to mix with yours and was doomed to this planet. We are the sons of exiles. Cursed. Even man condemned us, blaming us for all the evils of the world. On the one hand you worshiped us, these beings who brought knowledge from the heavens. But you also feared us for what we might want in return. . . ."

In approximately seventy-two hours, a little-known Middle Eastern terrorist group plans to bring about the end of the world. Convinced that they are the descendants of angels, they believe they are on the verge of at last being returned to heaven. Central to their plan is the kidnapping of Martin Faber, an undercover American scientist whose research has led him to an extraordinary secret.

Martin's only hope for survival is his young wife, Julia Alvarez—a woman born with a rare psychic gift. But she must find the courage to save her husband, all while running from religious extremists and clandestine government agencies.

Sierra takes readers on an adventure across the world, from the summit of Mount Ararat to the high desert of New Mexico, from the monuments of Washington, DC, to the medieval city of Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Sierra spent years investigating scientific and historical mysteries related to mankind's efforts to engage directly with the Almighty.

The Lost Angel bears all the hallmarks of Sierra's erudite yet fast-paced brand of storytelling, combining historical fact and fiction with dazzling narrative feats. -- Atria

When I received a copy of THE LOST ANGEL by Javier Sierra, I took one look at the cover and passed it along to my dad, Booking Pap Pap. I assumed it was some type of thriller and I figured he'd appreciate it more than I would. However, I didn't take the time to read the description of the novel; and I'm not so sure that I would have given it to him had I realized that it was a little "out there." He usually enjoys books that are are more reality-based, but he gave it a chance anyway. Here are his thoughts:

THE LOST ANGEL by Javier Sierra is a most unusual religious thriller. The novel is about a group or religious fanatics who are convinced they are descendants of angels and feel the time is right for a return to Heaven. In order to accomplish this they must bring the world to the brink of extinction and utilize the psychic powers of Julia Alvarez and two rare stones she and her husband possess to accomplish their wishes. Julia’s husband, Martin Faber, a scientist who has researched communications with God, has been kidnapped by the group to lure Julia to the location of Noah’s Arc on Mount Ararat.

To complicate matters, the National Security Agency and the President of the United States, in addition to wanting to protect the U.S. citizens Faber and Alvarez, are also in pursuit of the stones. The United States apparently has had an interest in these stones since the time President Chester Arthur set up Operation Elias to control communications with any higher intelligence.

Author Javier Sierra takes the reader on a journey around the world while at the same time sharing his meticulous research of religion, mystical and historical facts. Along the way the reader is introduced to Sumerian King Gilgamesh, Elizabethan astrologer John Dee, Noah’s Arc, the Book of Enoch, the Arc of the Covenant, the Holy Grail, Jacob’s ladder, Mormon founder John Smith and Hopi Native Americans.

Even though the book is grounded in facts gleaned from Sierra’s detailed research I still found the premise of the book a stretch for my imagination. I also felt that there were too many characters to keep track of and the abundance of research shared with the reader sometimes slowed the story down. The author does include a glossary of Sierra’s research which is a very helpful reference tool to be used while reading the novel.

One technique used by Sierra that I found interesting was that Julie Alvarez spoke in the first person and all other characters spoke in the third person. For me, this helped emphasize Julie’s significance in the story. In general I thought the character development was weak and the personalities of the characters never materialized.

The novel comes to an interesting and somewhat surprising climax when all key participants come together at Mount Ararat and everyone witnesses the same thing but interprets it in different ways.

THE LOST ANGEL is a unique religious thriller with an interesting combination of facts and fiction. Even if the reader can’t “buy-in” to the idea of angels on earth, the immense research undertaken by Torres that serves as the basis of the novel will introduce the reader to many interesting facts about religion and history.

Thanks to the publisher for sending a copy of this novel and to Booking Pap Pap for his insightful review.


rhapsodyinbooks said...

I usually feel like BPP, so if he isn't raving, I feel free to skip this one!

bermudaonion said...

I have a feeling I'd feel the same way. This one's probably a little too "out there" for me.

Beth F said...

I'm trusting BPP -- I'm guessing this isn't for me.