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Of Love and Evil: The Songs of the Seraphim, Book Two Paperback – January 10, 2012
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From Publishers Weekly
In Rice's slim second Songs of the Seraphim novel (after Angel Time), the angel Malchiah whisks ex-contract killer Toby O'Dare back to 16th-century Rome, where Toby must save Vitale de Leone, a young Jewish physician who's been implicated in the poisoning of his gentile master and accused of bringing a poltergeist-like dybbuk into the household. Toby resolves both problems efficiently, but tragedy ensues, shaking his faith and leaving him vulnerable to powers of evil lying in wait to exploit his weakness. Toby's life back in modern times also grows complicated with the sudden appearance of an ex-lover and the son he never knew, neither of whom he can share his angelic interventions with. Though the plot is surprisingly similar to that of its predecessor, Rice's fans will easily succumb to the charm of her lapidary prose and a cliffhanger ending that sets up the next book in the series. 200,000 first printing. (Dec.) (c)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Toby O’Dare, the assassin who started on the path to redemption in Angel Time (2009), continues his quest for salvation. He has just learned that he’s the father of a 10-year-old boy and is nervously awaiting the arrival of his former lover, Liona, and their son at the Mission Inn in California. He longs to be a part of the boy’s life and to rekindle his relationship with Liona, but he is summoned on another time-traveling errand of mercy by the angel Malchiah. This time Toby is transported to fifteenth-century Rome to respond to the prayer of a Jewish physician named Vitale, whose best friend and patient, Niccolò, has clearly been poisoned. Given the city’s virulent anti-Semitism, Vitale is at risk if the real culprit isn’t discovered. In addition to helping Vitale save Niccolò, Toby must discover the origins of an angry spirit that is haunting the house Vitale lives in. Toby is surprised by the dangers he faces in a story shaped by Catholic doctrine. Readers who enjoy Rice’s larger-than-life tales and elegant writing will find much to appreciate here, and the cliff-hanger ending will leave fans eager for the next installment. --Kristine Huntley --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Most fans are aware of the major change to her novels a few years ago, as she took on Christian themes. Actually, she had been moving that way for some time, for example when Lestat met Memnoch the Devil.
I lost interest in her books after the change, but I had an opportunity to review this one through the Vine program, so I gave it a try.
Some things have not changed. She still has stories within stories, going back in time. There are supernatural creatures - but instead of preternatural creatures, we now have angels and a ghost. She still gets into a lot of descriptive detail for the places we visit. And we get plenty of insight into the main character, but the angels remain vague and inscrutable.
Toby, the main character, is a man who has gone through a transformation from darkness to light, giving up his evil ways in favor of dedicating himself in the service of God. His redemption has made him passionately happy - he frequently weeps with joy. Personally, I can't relate to the ecstasy thing, and a lot of tiresome words are spent on this subject.
The book is very short, especially from an author known for writing long books. My review edition had less than 170 loosely-filled pages and plenty of white space. A book does not have to be long to be good, but this one is thin in pages AND plot.
It is the second in the "Angel Time" series. Enough of the story from the first book is repeated so that it's easy to get involved. At the end a new character from Toby's past forms a bridge to the sequel, which I won't be reading.
Bottom line: I would give this book 2 1/2 stars if I could. I wanted to like it, and I read it with an open mind, but I am disappointed: I know that Anne Rice is capable of writing much better novels. Still, if Anne Rice is happier in her religious mode, I'm glad for her.
UPDATE: Google 'Today I Quit Being A Christian' for a related article about Anne Rice, about a posting she made on Facebook in July 2010. And check out "The Wolf Gift", to be released on February 14, 2012. "The Wolf Gift" does not appear to be a sequel to this book.
NOTE: I am an Amazon Vine reviewer. This book was provided to me free for my review. I am not paid. My opinions are not influenced by getting a free book, nor am I asked to write positive reviews: I call them as I see them.
We were spared, mercifully, the pages and pages of emo at the beginning, and instead got right into the story...which was short, but not bad. As for the rest, instead of emo, we get an overabundance of religiosity and so much sweety-sweetness from Rice's horribly dull angels that we go into sugar-shock. The demon in this is so laughable it's not even funny (like that pun ;) ). Seriously, this seems like an attempt by the author to convince us that the flaws in the whole guardian-angel-who-always-watches-over-everyone thing (just talk to any victim of violent crime...) aren't really flaws; it's really quite sad, because she chooses to ignore the more rational arguments and instead focus, rather pathetically, on more abstract and new age arguments. This is one of those cases where it's better to leave the topic alone rather than try to convince the reader with a bad argument.
Another point that seemed off in this book was the things Toby notices. He meets a new angel (well, that's what he thinks) and immediately notices his beautiful eyes and "full lips", and "attractive" manner. How many guys think in terms like that about other guys? For that matter, who thinks like that at all?
All in all, the time travel part of this book was a 4 out of 5 points -- very short, but interesting. The rest, with very few exceptions, is 0. Overall, I give it 1 star for being, frankly, lame.
I have always been a big fan of Anne Rice and own every book she has ever written, her Vampire Chronicles, the Witches, she is an amazing storyteller. She combines her Catholicism, her fictional takes on the Gospel, and her passion for the dark side. This is a must for all Anne Rice fans, and if you have never read Anne Rice this is a great new series to get started with.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Most readers will feel confused in Anne's writings because of the background of the Catholic Church.Read more