Friday, July 22, 2011

Nephilim by Mary Ann Loesch

TITLE: Nephilim
AUTHOR: Mary Ann Loesch
PUBLISHER: Lyrical Press
LENGTH: Novel (roughly 70k)
GENRE: Urban fantasy
COST: $5.50

As a nephilim – the child of an angel father and a mortal mother – Faye has certain talents, like being able to heal and encourage life. She’s also sensitive to a lot of other aspects of the angelic realm, but ever since her family and fiancĂ© were killed, she’s turned her back on any kind of heavenly creature, even her guardian angel Azal. When he comes to her with a request to investigate another angel, she doesn’t want to take the task. But the description of Nathan Ink, a tattoo artist who puts the personification of a human’s sin directly into his skin, intrigues her enough to at least check him out. It’s the question he raises, as well as the fact that the people he tattoos keep dying, that intrigue her enough to continue…

Finally, something compulsive and surprising. I was beginning to wonder if these books existed anymore.

Faye is a nephilim, the child of an angel father and a mortal mother. She owns a nursery, where her talents for encouraging life and healing are well utilized, as well as sings part-time at a club. She doesn’t have many friends. Touching people shows them too much most times for her to be comfortable. She’s also cut herself off from everything heavenly, since she blames God for the death of her parents and fiancĂ©. A visit from her guardian angel Azal, however, sends her into a tailspin. He wants her to look into a potential rogue angel called Nathan Ink. Nathan tattoos sins onto people’s skin for the world to see and for the bearer to survive, but the mortality rate of his clients is unnaturally high. Faye doesn’t want anything to do with it, but she’s curious enough to at least go check him out. What she doesn’t know is that it’s a ruse. Azal has set her in Nathan’s path for a reason, though he isn’t telling anybody yet what that reason is. The more Faye learns about Nathan, however, the more concerned she gets about his methodology.

There’s more. So, so, so much more. You can read the blurb at the publisher’s site if you want to be spoiled for it, but honestly, I wouldn’t recommend it if you want to be surprised. Because this book offers that in spades. It is twist after twist after twist, some of which left me gasping out loud, almost all of which had me compulsively turning the pages until I was done. It’s not an easy read. The prose is dense, the explanations not always clear, the characters sometimes frustrating. But I couldn’t put the damn thing down, getting increasingly invested in how it was all going to turn out. It doesn’t shy away from the violence that accompanies the darker side of humanity, but at the same time, there’s a certain hope that permeates Faye, brightening the path of the story more than once. I felt much as she did for a good part of the story, especially in regards to her contradictory feelings for Nathan in the first half. He is not your typical angel. His methods are twisted and dark, incredibly nihilistic in tone and deed. Whenever he’s on the page in that first half, the story becomes almost bleak, slowing my reading down even further. I didn’t stop, though. I couldn’t. I needed to know what happened next.

Bear in mind that this is not a romance. It’s not sold as one at Lyrical, and it doesn’t fall within the genre parameters. Expect a romance, and you’ll be disappointed. I knew all this, but the last chapter still managed to upset me, mostly because I’d become so emotionally involved with everyone. As a result, it’s a mild detraction in my overall enjoyment.

Due to the level of violence in this, it’s probably not for those who are bothered by it. And I do wish the editors and the author had taken better care with the use of apostrophes. Their misuse was starting to annoy me about halfway through (you’re for your, possessive apostrophes in the wrong place, apostrophes used on a plural word that wasn’t possessive, etc.). It complicated an already dense read, no matter how compulsive it was. In spite of that and my other minor concerns, however, this remains one of the more memorable, intense reads I’ve had in a very long time.


8/10 – Dense and compulsive, though the author and editors need a crash course on how to use apostrophes


8/10 – The bad guy was a stereotype, and I felt the heroine flipflopped a little too much at the beginning, but by the end, I felt like I knew all of these people


8/10 – Twisty and turny, just like the way I like it

Entertainment value

8/10 – When story developments make me gasp out loud, I know it’s working

World building

8/10 – Some aspects weren’t as well explained as I needed, but overall, I was impressed with how rich the world was.



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