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On Unfaithful Wings (Icarus Fell Series Book 1) Kindle Edition
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While there are a few typos/word switches in the book, overall the writing is fantastic. I felt like I could see, hear and feel everything Ric was doing, but I didn't notice much exposition or description. I felt like I was experiencing the story through Ric.
One of my recent pet peeves these days is when books stop with no ending in an effort to force you to buy another book in the series simply to find out what happens. I am happy to say that this book is an example of how to avoid that annoying problem. There is a clear plot with a big problem that is resolved in a satisfying way at the end of this book. But so many doors are opened along the way that I am dying to find out what will happen after all the dust settles. Ric is changed by how this story ends, and I can't wait to find out what that will mean for him next. Plus I really want to learn more about many of the other characters.
The characters of the Icarus Fell novels are by no means bright and cheery 'angels running around with wings saving souls' and these are no bright and sparkly novels. They are dark, moody pieces with a deeply noir feeling and a sharp edge to the humour which abounds throughout the book. Icarus himself, the victim of vicious childhood abuse by a priest, finds himself lost and alone on the streets, deep into drugs and booze, traumatized past what he considers any sort of salvation at all. Murdered one night in the graveyard of the same church where his abuse took place, he awakens six months later in a nasty No-Tell Motel to find that he is a Reaper of sorts. And things get even weirder and darker after that.
It. Was. Awesome. The whole feeling of the book can be described by this quote from the early pages:
"And, let's face it, if God existed, he probably looked down one day on the s*** he created, packed up his tent and went somewhere else to give it another shot, hoping for better luck on the second go-round."
Mr. Blake does a perfect job of pointing out the ridiculous nature of religion when looked at from a logical rather than superstitious view. The angels are, at best, incompetent clowns more intent on their political games than on actually doing good. One of the 'good' angels is guilty of rape and another is more interested in proving a point than helping Icarus save either his son or a kind-hearted selfless nun. Is Icarus really better off helping the so-called good guys? Or are the so-called good guys so far off of reality that they don't even qualify as such any longer? Child molesting priests meant to go to heaven, nuns carted off to hell and one comment by an angel that really points out the weirdness of it all:
"Murder is a tool. Just because someone kills someone else, it doesn't make them evil. You're all instruments of God."
Perfect! Murdered and abused children, rape, torture. It's all good! Blake writes the story that I have always wanted to write - if there really is a God, it is removed far enough from our reality as to no longer exist, if it ever did at all. And he does it with a turn of phrase and intelligence that led me at warp speed through his writing.
Overall, this is a dark, moody piece which left me sad in places and laughing hysterically in others. A Reaper who has a solid body and can be shot, knifed and beaten - and can't really afford a car to go pick up his next soul for delivery? Love it. I am so looking forward to the next installment. If you are a fan of the old noir detective stories, the Nightside novels, or similar you will love these novels. Off to read the next one!
I absolutely loved this character. Icarus (Ric) Fell is not your typical hero. He has no desire to be a selfless savior. Instead he is pretty much a selfish jackass. He has a bad attitude and he fights his calling tooth and nail. Despite his resurrected status, he still clings to his vices and uses them to neglect his duties. It is only after he realizes the severity of the consequences that he gets with the program. I know that doesn't seem to be a glowing recommendation but I believe that a great character is one that learns and grows and Ric does just that. The path he takes towards atonement and redemption isn't the best or even the easiest route but one filled with internal and external conflict.
He isn't alone on his journey, in fact there is a cast of well developed and unique character that interact with the protagonist. The host of angels, all with different personalities, that come to Ric's aid are likable even when they are standoffish. There is a job to be done and these beings know exactly how to get it done. Ric's friends are exactly what you'd expect considering his status as an alcoholic- birds of a feather and all that. Then there are those important in Ric's life--the nun who cared for him and his son--they embody the goodness he never really understood and the promise for something greater than himself. Lastly, there is the one man who has always wanted Ric's destruction and will stoop to any level to achieve it. Each character is detailed and as true to life as they can get; each perfect and imperfect in their own way.
I love the author's style. Elements that should conflict actually blend together to make for a great story i.e. destiny vs freewill; non-believer vs divine, duty vs addiction...Each of the elements work in the story, creating complex characters and a rich environment for the tale to unfold. I like the way the story feels realistic despite its paranormal elements. The characters and their actions make sense but they aren't predictible; each action and reaction builds the suspense and creates many possible outcomes. I also appreciate how Blake holds nothing back--horrific accidents, gruesome murders, suggested abuse, detailed descriptions of the effects of drug and alcohol abuse, frank comments on arousal--all of these elements give the story a edge that separates it from most books in the paranormal genre. It's definitely not what I expected but I'm hooked. I have to read the other books in this series.
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