Review: Blood and Feathers
Thank you, oh thank you Literary Gods! I was terrified that BLOOD AND FEATHERS by Lou Morgan (Amazon) would turn out to be Twilight with angels standing in for vampires. Why read on with the threat of a sparkly-vampire guillotine hanging over my head? Well in case you hadn’t noticed I have become a big fan of Solaris Books. So far this is a publisher that has done little to steer me wrong. Oh and there is a quote by EBR favorite, Sarah Pinborough that goes a little like this…
“Dark, enticing and so sharp the pages could cut you, Blood and Feathers is a must-read for any fan of the genre.”
High praise indeed, and the more cynical I become with my reading, the more I have come to rely on author blurbs. So what is BLOOD AND FEATHERS about?
Alice is a pawn in a conflict that has been waging since the Lucifer broke faith with the heavenly host. Under the tutelage of a hard drinking, hard fighting Earthbound angel by the name of Mallory, Alice must gain control over her blossoming powers and choose a side before the balance is forever tipped in the wrong direction.
So Lou Morgan actually manages to pull a sort of Anti-Twilight. Instead of making vampires seem really lame, Morgan takes angels and makes them dangerous and more than a little frightening. I’ll stop with the Twilight comparisons there though, the two books have nothing important in common. What you need to know is that BLOOD AND FEATHERS is not paranormal romance. This is urban fantasy, colored in plenty of shades of blood-spattered moral gray. Morgan’s angels are vengeful, ferocious, and downright psychotic. It’s not their job to save the souls of humans. They are soldiers in an unending war against the brothers who have betrayed them.
This is a portrayal of angels that appeals to me. And if you think about it, it makes a sick sort of sense. After all, if Lucifer fell from grace and took a third of the angels with him then that obviously means that angels are far from perfect (at least in this story). So even the “good” guys have their flaws, and after thousands of years of fighting a losing battle they have become desperate as well. This is where Alice comes in.
Alice is a plucky young woman and that’s good because she will need all that spunk to survive what she’s got coming. She has an attitude and a sarcastic mouth to match but once you learn more of her history you can start to see why. Alice has not had an easy life and a lot of the blame could be placed on the Angels and the Fallen. Alice endures hardship and horrors that would have most grown men crying in the fetal position, and she keeps on going.
Mallory the Earthbound angel is the other main character. A hard drinking, hard fighting angel. Who could have expected? So at first Mallory strikes me as a bit of a cliche, but after a while the drinking is explained and it makes every bit of sense. Mallory has a legitimate excuse to be bitter about his station in life, and still he copes.
The Fallen could use more characterization. As is, the real bad guys sometimes appear to be the angels. Motivation aside the angels can be every bit as callous and sociopathic as their enemies. This ambiguity is a big bonus but I would still like to see more villainy from the Fallen in future entries. Much of the time I found myself mentally siding with the Fallen and were it not for the mind-control of Lucifer that is probably where I would stand.
There are some really creepy and powerful moments, not to mention a huge cataclysmic battle that takes place in the very bowels of Hell. I’m not sure why Lucifer risks losing dominion over Hell just to turn Alice rather than simply having her killed. That was really the only major question I had regarding the plot. I understand why Alice was so important to the angels but I feel like the threat she poses to the Fallen outweighs any utility she may offer. Other than that BLOOD AND FEATHERS is a solid debut novel, and promises a beginning to what will surely be an interesting series.
- Recommended Age: 15+
- Language: Nothing too explicit but it is certainly there
- Violence: Plenty to be found, but it's not all that gory
- Sex: None - to my utter surprise