Saturday, May 1, 2010

Review: Angelology by Danielle Trussoni

A thrilling epic about an ancient clash reignited in our time- between a hidden society and heaven's darkest creatures
There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bore children to them.
Genesis 6:5

Sister Evangeline was just a girl when her father entrusted her to the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in upstate New York. Now, at twenty-three, her discovery of a 1943 letter from the famous philanthropist Abigail Rockefeller to the late mother superior of Saint Rose Convent plunges Evangeline into a secret history that stretches back a thousand years: an ancient conflict between the Society of Angelologists and the monstrously beautiful descendants of angels and humans, the Nephilim.

For the secrets these letters guard are desperately coveted by the once-powerful Nephilim, who aim to perpetuate war, subvert the good in humanity, and dominate mankind. Generations of angelologists have devoted their lives to stopping them, and their shared mission, which Evangeline has long been destined to join, reaches from her bucolic abbey on the Hudson to the apex of insular wealth in New York, to the Montparnasse cemetery in Paris and the mountains of Bulgaria.

Rich in history, full of mesmerizing characters, and wondrously conceived, Angelology blends biblical lore, the myth of Orpheus and the Miltonic visions of Paradise Lost into a riveting tale of ordinary people engaged in a battle that will determine the fate of the world.

Here's a great way to start this review: I HATED the ending. So much so that this book was almost a wallbanger. Yeah, it was that frustrating. And it wasn't an ending like Atonement where the author yanks the rug out from under you but it pissed me off just the same. But. Once I finished the book, I went on Trussoni's website and saw that there will be a sequel called Angelopolis. Ooh. Then I calmed down. Actually, she's writing a series of these books and the rights to Angelology has already been bought by a major movie studio. That is definitely a no-brainer since angels are all the rage these days.

So, I HATED the ending for a little while but now just have some issues with it. I thought that the ending was a bit rushed; there was a ton of explanation, inspection, and action leading up to the conclusion, barreling towards it actually, and then BAM! Bad things happen and that was that. I felt so cheated! The conclusion was predictable too and while that's not really a good thing, knowing that there will be a sequel makes what happened pretty necessary. 

I may as well mention too that I found Evangeline to be even more frustrating than the ending. I've been trying to think of another character I've read that was more clueless than she but I'm coming up empty. Evangeline had been witness to much of the backstory and she still couldn't piece things together without lots of help. I was a little bit proud of her at the end but just a little. After all, she did let her father put her in a convent without protest. I'm sorry, but I would not be a good nun. And not just because of the obvious reason :) Neither was Evangeline - she falls for the first man she meets outside her family or the convent that catches her attention.

Speaking of the backstory, a big chunk of the middle of this book is a flashback covering about four years during WWII but the actual progression of the plot speeds through only two days. When I finished Angelology, I felt that the book did indeed stretch two days into years but conversely, the flashback seemed much shorter even though it covered four years. It took me a while to get absorbed in the story - and I did, halfway through the flashback - and by two-thirds of the way through Angelology, the plot really gets rolling. Unfortunately, it gets rolling into its ending. 

I haven't read many reviews of Angelology but I'm sure it's been compared to The Da Vinci Code. Possibly The Historian too and those are both legitimate comparisons because Trussoni definitely did her homework for Angelology; as with The Da Vinci Code and The Historian, there's just enough factual and true history to make the reader wonder how much of what she writes about is true. Using Abigail Rockefeller as a central figure without ever presenting her directly was a clever idea and it worked - I looked her up. I bet the MoMA is loving this book.

I will definitely be reading Angelopolis whenever it comes out since I have to know what happens. She better pick up the story right after Angelology ends or I might be throwing a book that day. I originally gave Angelology a B- but have since changed it to a C. I was intrigued yet disappointed with this book and that little part of my brain that HAS TO KNOW what's going to happen isn't going to let go anytime soon. That has to count for something, right?

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