The Books of Raziel, Book 1
Released: 05 Jan, 2012 (AUS)
HarperVoyager, Trade, 385p.
ISBN: 978-0-06-212817-1 (international edition)
Between Heaven & Hell, a battle for
supremecy is about to begin...
For years, Angela Mathers has been plagued by visions of a supernatural being - an angel with beguiling eyes and magnificent wings sho haunts her thoughts and seduces her dreams. Newly freed from a mental institution where she has been locked away for two years, Angela hopes that being accepted at the Vatican's exclusive university, the Westwood Academy, will bring her peace and a semblance of normality.
But Angela isn't normal. With her stain of dark red hair and alabaster skil, she is a blood head - a freak, a monster, and the possible fulfillmentof a terrifying prophecy. Blessed with strange, mystical powers, blood heads hold a special place in Luz, the remote island city that is home to the Academy. Among them, one special blood head is more powerful than all: the Archon, the human reincarnation of the dead angel Raziel. And when the Archon arises as foretold, it will control the supernatural universe.
I came across this book by accident yesterday when I happened to pass a discount store and they were having a 3 for $10 sale. Now, I can't resist a book for a decent price, so I scoured through the tables of junk and found three possible gems. Archon was my last discovery, but the cover was so beautiful that I just couldn't pass it up. So with nothing on television last night, I cracked open Archon, and from the first page, I was hooked. Archon follows the struggle of Angela, the newest student at Westwood, who starts off as a more reserved girl, and the resident bitch queen Stephanie Walsh - head of the Pentacle Society - who lusts for power over the everyone at the University.
The world building was so believable. I never once questioned, or was jolted out of the realism of Luz, and the world of the Westwood Academy. Of all the characters we meet, it was the demonic pairing of Troy and Kim that held me in suspense. Their very intense history makes for some of the most revealing scenes. Angela's brother was another suprise. Since he is in the opening scenes I thought he'd play a major roll, but he disappears and pops up two or three more times and that's it. It was his relationship with Angela that was one of the very few cons of reading Archon in my opinion. Ms Benulis could have used their fractured relationship for so many intense scenes, but alas, it was not to be. However, that's not to say that Brendan's role is just blink and you'll miss it. When he does rock up, you just know the sh!t is going to hit the angelic fan. The most memorable scenes involve his seduction by the angels. That was kind of a kinky twist (not that there is any details - just a whole lot of implications) as it's usually the demons that want your soul. Then there was his major blow up at Stephanie ;-D
It took me about 4 hours to motor through Archon, and by the time I closed the book I just so into the story that I just wanted to read more! I enjoyed watching Angela come out of her shell, but it was Sophia who intrigued me the most. This seemingly insecure doormat who just took whatever treatment Stephanie dished out turned into the most delightfully complex character. By the time you get to the end of Archon, you almost wish that she had a spin-off series of her own ;-D
Now, Archon did remind me of a few YA books on my shelves - Daughter of Smoke and Bone, as well as Marked, come to mind as they share a similar ideas of a chosen one, visions/dreams, demons,etc - but the addition of the Archon angle, Sophia's true identity, as well as the angelic family fued, made the book different enough to be very intriguing. However, it was Angela and her inability to die that fascinated me. I can't say anymore without spoiling it, but it was a very exciting twist to what could have been just another YA paranormal romance book.
If you love angelic themes, and struggles between the forces of Heaven & Hell, then this book is certainly for you. Aimed at a late teenage audience, it isn't full of the puppy love overload that usually saturates a book so as an adult I was ever so grateful not to have to wade through all that. Book Two, Covenant, is due out early April so I won't have long to wait before I find out what happens next.