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The battle of Armageddon was finally fought... and ended with no clear victor. Upon the mountain, the armies of Hell and Heaven beat each other into a bloody, uneasy standstill, leaving the Earth in ruins. Armageddon should have ended with Heaven winning, ushering in an era of peace. That's what the prophecies said. Instead, the two armies--one of angels, one of demons--hunker down in the ...
The battle of Armageddon was finally fought... and ended with no clear victor. Upon the mountain, the armies of Hell and Heaven beat each other into a bloody, uneasy standstill, leaving the Earth in ruins. Armageddon should have ended with Heaven winning, ushering in an era of peace. That's what the prophecies said. Instead, the two armies--one of angels, one of demons--hunker down in the scorched planet, lick their wounds, and gear up for a prolonged war with no end in sight.
In this chaos of warring armies and ruined landscapes, Laila doesn't want to take sides. Her mother was an angel, her father a demon; she is outcast from both camps. And yet both armies need her, for with her mixed blood, Laila can become the ultimate spy... or ultimate soldier. As the armies of Heaven and Hell pursue her, Laila's only war is within her heart--a struggle between her demonic and heavenly blood.
Posted March 11, 2013
I must state up front, that as a writer, I am a much more critical reviewer than any casual reader. And, because I'm not a regular reader of this genre, I can't say it is a five star per MY tastes…but I am certain a reader of epic or dark fantasy will agree this is a five star work.
Preamble stated to be fair. Now I'll rate per my normal thought process.
Setting (4 stars) The reader will smell the brimstone and fire, sense the decay and rot, visualize in the sky the black, bat-winged demons, and the swan-winged angels.
Plot (4 stars) This work would be a good example of how to use multiple points of view. The reader gets four complete stories in one, bringing together the lives of the characters in a fabric rich with emotion.
Action (4 stars) The most difficult task a writer has is getting across to a reader, the horror of war, scene after scene. Daniel did an admirable job, allowing us to feel more the gut reactions of the point of view character, without bogging us down in the gut wrenching gore.
Character (5 stars) This element of Daniel's writing is his greatest feat. Not only did he make you see, feel with, and care for the protagonists, he enabled the 'bad guys' to show their motivation in just as riveting a story.
Overall, a good read. I recommend.
Posted July 9, 2012
This review was originally posted on Big Al's Books and Pals review blog on 06/28/2012.
The first character we are introduced to is Nathaniel. He is a jaded and gritty angel who had lost his wings and an eye fighting an arch-demon during the battle of Armageddon. He was my favorite angel and he drew me in. This story though is about Laila, both forces of Heaven and Hell think having Laila on their team will finally turn the tide in their favor.
When Laila returns to Jerusalem and finally chooses a side, she has her own agenda and refuses to follow orders. She will not let her fate be decided for her. Her only friends are Volkfair, a very large black wolf, who fights by her side, and Bat El, her innocent and pious angel sister, who has only been on earth a few months and serves as a captain in Michaels’ army. We learn of their relationship through flashbacks that are easy to follow. Humans are a rarity now and seldom mentioned. It was easy to feel the angst and exhaustion of the characters. God seems nonexistent, except to Raphael, who seems to be in the story only to remind us that God exists in all things.
The characters are complex, fully developed, and well drawn; the plot is unique and flowed well. I enjoyed the tongue in cheek dialogue that served to lighten some scenes. The battle scenes were epic with tens of thousands of angels and demons, narrated with descriptive prose. The settings were vivid around Jerusalem, Caesarea, Masada and the Sea of Galilee. The ending was a bit surprising with a twist to leave us something to ponder and open enough for perhaps a sequel.
Arenson did get a bit repetitive in a few places describing angel wings and demon wings, but not enough to remove a star or lessen my enjoyment of the whole story. This story may cause you to rethink or reevaluate your concepts of good and evil. If you can not handle spitting, cursing, hard edged angels, or devils who have a heart and react with some humanity this book may not be for you.
**Originally written for "Books and Pals" book blog. May have received a free review copy. **
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Posted November 26, 2010
draw as the legions of Hell led by ruler Beelzebub and the armies of Heaven led by Archangel Michael fight for every inch of land; a sort of WWI trench warfare. Humans have become constant collateral damage with the population now at about one million and dwindling. The earth is in ruins although the battles continue. Into that horrific stalemate Laila arrives.
A hybrid, Laila is half demon and half angel. Her father Lucifer was killed by Beelzebub when he refused to allow his aid to marry his daughter. Laila is unable to survive in either Heaven or hell as Angel and Hel burn her. She teams up with Michael seeking a place where she can live. Her half-sister Bat-el, daughter of Gabriel, is a legion captain until Beelzebub captures her. She falls in live with the devil. Ironically he falls in love with the angel. Laila plans to invade Hell and cleanse if of hellfire even if it means combat with the devil and his new wife. Twenty-seven years of unrelenting combat, but the end of days seem near cur but who will win is in doubt.
Flaming Dove takes an intriguing spin on the more typical interpretations of Revelations as Daniel Arenson implies the New Testament is a form of propaganda written by one side to make them victorious. Additionally there is little to choses between the two combatant sides as each goes all out at any cost for victory. Michael is the action leader representing Heaven while Beelzebub is sort of his evil counterpart who contains some goodness. Laila is the wild card as she is a mix of the two enemies. Though God never intervenes (for that matter surfaces much), this remains a fascinating creative endless days' thriller.
Posted November 25, 2010
The Armageddon has taken place, and now angels and demons are fighting for the Earth. In the middle of this fight is Laila, the half angel, half demon. Her only place to live is Earth, since the light at Heaven or the hellfire at Hell would burn her. Laila was an intriguing character. Since the begging of her story, we know she isn't interested in this war. It doesn't matter to her who wins, since she would still die. She only cares for her wolf, and drinking. But when she discover she may have a future after this war, she decides it's time for her to take her rightful place. Besides Laila, the other characters were also interesting. They were all angels or demons, but it was difficult to think of them only as good or bad. For example, Michael, the good archangel, likes to lie. And Beelzebud, Michael's brother and the ruler of Hell, can be kind and charming when he wants. As if it wasn't difficult to fight your own family, love is also present, mixing things more, specially when the characters fall for someone at the wrong side. Personally, I wasn't immediately caught in the story. The first chapters were slow, only trying to explain the war and Laila's life. But as the story unfold, I found myself wanting to know more about the characters and wondering how was this story going to end. It wasn't a light reading, and it took me more time to read it than normally because sometimes I stopped, and continued after a couple of hours. Overall, I liked the story even when it wasn't the page turner - fast-paced book I prefer. I recommend it if you're interested in the fight between good and bad, angels and demons. Posted at Oh My Books!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 7, 2010
n Flaming Dove, Arenson weaves an absorbing tale of the ultimate example of internal conflict: a being part angel, part demon, and fully belonging nowhere. In her quest for a home, she becomes caught up in the ongoing battle between Heaven and Hell for dominion over the Earth, knowing that a win from either side would lead to her death. He places his heroine in quite the predicament!
Laila rises to the task admirably, causing the reader to root for her despite the impossibility of her goals. The complexity of her character - unpredictable, angry, impulsive, loving, and lonely - makes her personality stand out when it could easily have been swallowed up by a face-paced storyline and rapid-fire action sequences. Similarly, Bat El and Beelzebub are thoroughly explored, calling into question the belief that the two represent opposite ends of the spectrum. There is a humanization of the major players here that draws out a reader's compassion. I was flipping each screen with a combination of anticipation and dread, knowing that there was no way for everyone to wind up happy.
One of the risks in writing about angels and demons is the polarization effect: characters are depicted as being wholly good or wholly evil. In Arenson's world, however, the angels have their own hedonistic tendencies, while the demons are barbarians with a heart. He capitalizes on these traits, creating a storyline filled with internal conflict, betrayal, and sacrifice, with thousands of unnamed casualties tossed in for good measure. I almost missed my bus stop a few times as I focused on satisfying the itch to find out how everything would be resolved. I finished the novel satisfied with the course of events and the open doors that the author left.
A second challenge in writing about angels and demons is dealing with readers' preconceived notions based on Judeo-Christian theology. Some circumvent this by leaving faith and God out of the equation, creating an alternate environment in which these beings exist and fight one another in an age-old battle of good versus evil without the oversight of an omnipotent, all-powerful being. Arenson, however, takes a different route entirely, referencing angels such as Michael and Gabriel and turning them into flawed protagonists. While this is an innovative approach, it greatly diminished my ability to believe in the book.
There were many passages in this book that were written well, drawing the reader into the unfolding drama and rapidly pushing the story forward. Even so, there were also areas where the information presented became redundant. For instance, multiple references might be made to a character's current location when it has already been established where he or she is. This might not have been as noticeable had the same word, such as amphitheater, not been used each time and in back-to-back paragraphs. The author also favored the word "maw" throughout the novel, and it started to lose its impact by the fourth or fifth instance of its use.
Overall, this was a fascinating fantasy novel. The plot moves along quickly, the sequence of events makes sense, and the development of the characters along the way adds depth to an action-filled tale.
-Stimulated Outlet Book Reviews
Posted February 16, 2011
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Posted June 7, 2011
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Posted June 19, 2013
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Posted April 26, 2011
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