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Malakh Paperback – June 6, 2012
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What worked for me:
* Loved the way that Suzanne came up with Icarus' name.
* I really enjoyed the fact that Russ' eyes changed colors. I could totally picture it, and that along with his general physical description made me want to swoon.
* I am completely fangirling over the idea that Suzanne had enjoyed supernatural abilities and supah physical skill back when she'd been with her angel lover, but then lost those abilities when he left her. Can you imagine being incredibly strong and fast, having incredible stamina, being able to influence others with your thoughts (and perhaps most importantly, being able to eat whatever you wanted to without gaining weight!) in addition to having an incredibly sexy and skilled lover, and then suddenly not only have you lost your beloved, but you're back to being a "normal", weak human again? Talk about devastation! *scoffs* And Russ wants to rag on her about the fact she's still pining for her former lover. C'mon, wouldn't you?
* She twists! She turns! Like a... twisty.. turny.. thing.. The twist at the end absolutely made this story for me.
What didn't work for me:
* Good Lord these people walked everywhere! While it served the purpose of illustrating that Suzanne was drawing strength and endurance from Icarus, all I could think was that they really needed to just catch a cab or something. Suzanne even mentioned the same thing about 44% in, and there was a reasonable explanation, but even so. Sheesh.
* The whole "marking" thing was never really explained to my satisfaction.
I'm so torn on the ending. See, there was this incredible twist at the end. I'm talking a forehead-slapping, I-really-shoulda-seen-this-coming-but-didn't-holy-crap-that's-awesome twist. And yet... Unfortunately, the part that bothers me is an enormous spoiler, so I can't really say much of anything about it without ruining the entire story. Therefore, I think I'll have to go with "I felt misled in the end, and not because I hadn't figured out the twist". I know that sounds incredibly vague and mysterious, and probably makes it seem like a much larger deal than it is, but I promise, it wasn't enough to ruin my enjoyment of the story.
Overall, a very enjoyable novella. While I wish a few things had been explained a little better, and that perhaps there'd been more worldbuilding, I still loved it. Even as a novella, it was really the perfect length where the action and story arc was concerned, so unlike most novellas I wasn't left at the last page asking "that's it??", which was a nice change.
I have to say though, that despite the lack of sensuality and the fact I'm still disgruntled over the ending, that Ms. Gerlach is a masterful storyteller. The plot twist was so beautifully done that nothing became glaringly obvious until you reflected on everything after the twist had been revealed, and for that alone, I will give this one 5/5 Stars.