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Chasing Azrael (Deathly Insanity Book 1) by [Butler, Hazel]
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Chasing Azrael (Deathly Insanity Book 1) Kindle Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Length: 366 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

Review

'A paranormal thriller about an unwilling necromancer who gets entangled in difficult relationships... this is a dialogue driven narrative that will change the reader's ideas about death and dying...  a compelling read.'  - Readers' Favourite ****

Product Details

  • File Size: 4221 KB
  • Print Length: 366 pages
  • Publisher: Aädenian Ink (April 23, 2014)
  • Publication Date: April 23, 2014
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00JX0EYIW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #923,476 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Chasing Azrael tells the story of Andee, a young archaeologist who sees ghosts – including that of her husband, who killed himself two years before the start of the story. Haunted by his spirit and unable to move on, Andee becomes obsessed with death and barely able to cope with the real world. She turns to her two best friends for support, but when one of them, Josh, becomes the target of a strange and dangerous woman wanted for several murders, Andee is dragged into the investigation.

Part ghost story and post mystery-thriller, Chasing Azrael is an intriguing and atmospheric read that evokes a distinctly gothic feel. The word that kept coming to mind when I was reading it was creeptastic. Creeptastic descriptions, creeptastic paranormal elements, creeptastic plot. Butler draws you into this dark yet strangely enchanting story that, while set in contemporary times, feels otherworldly. The references to angels of Death and other dark legends, the shadowy tone that envelopes the whole book, the twisted plot – it all comes together to form a sometimes disturbing yet overall entertaining read.

As a protagonist, Andee is relatable yet far from perfect. She's a brilliant university lecturer yet rather awkward and something of a loner. Her personality comes off as prickly and detached at times, yet it's understandable. After all, it can't be easy being haunted by the spirit of someone you love. All kinds of thoughts and emotions swirl beneath the surface, and yet it seems she reveals little of the real Andee to those around her.

All in all, Chasing Azrael is a creeptastic (that word! again!) paranormal mystery and contemporary gothic tale. There are romantic elements, and yet the story isn't an outright romance. I think this book will appeal to anyone who likes their books veiled in shadow and tinted black.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I don't really know where to begin with this review, although I'll say that this book is not YA (or "new adult") fiction, even though you might get that impression from the apparent age of the character on the cover. The protagonist is in her early 30s, if I remember correctly (old enough to be a university professor, at any rate) and there is a fair amount of violence plus some sexual content (as well as 4-letter words, and some British slang that I don't really have the means to gauge as to whether or not it counts as profanity).

One strong theme in this book is mental illness. I think it's handled very well (not that I truly have any experience with this issue, to be fair). I was struggling for awhile to identify with the main character (Andee, which is short for Andrea). I always found her sympathetic, I just didn't really "get" her at first. But as I read more of the book, as I learned more about her relationship with her deceased husband and her struggles since his death, she started to make sense to me. And by the end of the book, I like where she ended up (and was glad to learn there are planned sequels).

Other characters were also reasonably well-developed, which is especially nice for a first-person POV book like this is. I think we'll learn more about the police officer in sequels; there are hints that there's something more to him. Lily, a friend and fellow professor of Andee's, is mostly a support character. And yet, as I think back, I really know a lot about her by the end of this book. Joshua is, likewise, a friend and fellow professor, and he had me confused for awhile (but, this is explained by certain events we learn of at the end of the book).
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Format: Kindle Edition
Spoiler-free Review

This book engaged me very quickly, and I ended up reading it over the course of about a day and a half, enjoying the entire experience.

On the surface, this is a psychological thriller/paranormal mystery/romance, and the book adheres to the reasonable expectations readers have for all three of those genres. This perhaps includes some of the less fortunate expectations, such as a bit of gender stereotyping (although not nearly as much as in other books I have read). Deeper down, however, the book deals with mourning and melancholy, differences between, and the intermingling of, grief and depression. It's poignant, and Butler makes you care about her characters.

Which brings me to another refreshing aspect of this book: the sympathetic protagonist. It seems like it has been decades since I have read a book with a likable protagonist. Since the 1990s, most books (the ones for grown ups, anyway) I read have main characters who are insufferably good, insufferably bad, insufferably narcissistic, insufferably clueless, or insufferably quirky. Andee seems human. Smart. Not perfect. Not awful. A little clueless but not completely self-absorbed.

The dialogue is well-crafted, which is good, because there is a lot of it. There is also a fair amount of action. Between those aspects of the story, the book goes fast. I recommend it for romance novel readers, people who like the Vampire Chronicles (this is not as dark but it did feel similar to me), and fans of the various female detective series out there. I do not recommend it for anyone who lacks patience with romance/serial drama themes.

I am very much looking forward to the next installment.

Full disclosure: I received a kindle copy of the book from the publisher so that I could read and review it.
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