Saturday, September 29, 2018

Book Review: The Angel Gift (Dark Word: The Angel Trials #4)

Release Date: September 30, 2018
Author: Michelle Madow
Publisher: Dreamscape Publishing
Length: 270 pages
Source: Review Copy from the Author

Everyone is separated, and no one is safe.

Raven Danvers didn’t think her life could get any crazier since the night a demon attacked her in an alley and abducted her mom.

She was wrong.

Because now that same demon has abducted her too. He’s thrown her into a secret bunker with a group of humans who have unique abilities that make them “gifted.” They don’t know what the demons want with them, and the bunker is impossible to escape.

Her only hope is Noah—the wolf shifter she’s imprinted upon. She just needs to let him know where she is. But she can’t do it alone. Her only way to get a message to him is to team up with the other humans by making use of their unique gifts.

But they have to do it fast. Because their time in the bunker is temporary. The demons are prepping them to go somewhere else… somewhere far worse than where they are now.

They don’t know what this place is.

They just know they really, really don’t want to find out.

Get ready for a magical, twist-filled ride in the fourth installment of The Angel Trials series, a fast-paced urban fantasy adventure that will leave you on the edge of your seat wanting more!



Protagonists: In this installment, the POV characters are switched up a bit. There’s a greater focus on Noah and Thomas, specifically Noah as I think he has the most chapters out of anyone, even Raven, in this book. We do get to see quite a bit of Raven though, as she learns more about both her captivity and her “gifted” human status. Interestingly, Sage does not narrate any chapters in this book, which makes sense due to her being forced into the blood bond at the end of the previous installment and this story does go into why her having a POV chapter wouldn’t be so interesting without actually addressing it head-on. Finally there is a new POV, or at least I think her POV is new, and that’s Mara, Azazel’s daughter, I was extremely surprised at how much I liked her chapters, sure her character arc does feel a bit tropey, but it’s a trope that I like so I’m completely on board. I really loved reading from all these characters POVs, each one (apart from the last chapter POV) had something to learn and experience over the course of this tale, except maybe Noah, which is a little disappointing, I mean there are plenty of other characters that had phenomenal development in this story, but since he has the majority of POV chapters, not to mention that he’s my favorite character, I would have liked to see some more development from him in this story and more of a purpose in this installment than just the guy who wants to get Raven back.

Romance: There was actually very little romance in this story, I mean it’s not surprising as our two main romantic couples have been separated, not to mention the fact that an individual in one of those couples, Sage, has been so fundamentally changed that she’s pretty much not the same person anymore. There is some romance in this story, though there isn’t much romantic development, and certainly no romantic development with our two main couples as they need to overcome a few obstacles before those relationships can continue to develop. The romantic development that is in this story is more laying the groundwork for another couple, Flint and Mara, finally showing Mara’s side of things and her feelings about her imprinting bond with Flint after the blood bonding ritual.

World Building: How the world Building unfolds in this installment feels a bit different than the previous installments in the series, I mean, there is expansion to the world, we start to get a better idea about what the demons are planning, in fact, I’m pretty sure I know what their endgame is, but I did leave this story with more questions than answers as to HOW they will accomplish this feat. Still, in many ways this story feels like filler, pretty open and shut in terms of the amount of story progress this installment will have, and while we have some new information and we’ve met some new people, this felt like more of an unplanned pit stop (or kidnapping, whichever you prefer) on their way to Avalon and while I didn’t expect they’d reach Avalon in this story, which they didn’t, and even though I told myself to view this story as an episode of a TV drama which helped immensely in the previous installment, this story just felt like it was missing something, maybe more about the “gifted” humans, though I suspect we’ll get more on that later, maybe another Mara chapter, maybe even an Azazel chapter, I’m not sure all I know is it feels like it’s missing SOMETHING. (Edit: About a day after writing this review I realized what that SOMETHING was, I talk about it in the conclusion.)

Predictability: Overall this installment did feel very by the numbers, there were, of course, a few moments over the course of the book that caught me off guard, such as what I think Azazel’s, and by extension many if not all of the demons’, plans are, but even then, when I’m caught off guard like that, I’m not surprised, in fact, I was only surprised two times and they were both towards the end. Also, I will say that there are a couple moments in this tale that seem a bit too easy and a bit too constructed which pulled me out of the story a few times, so I do wish things were a bit harder on our protagonists, that way they feel like they’ve really earned their victory, should they have one.

Ending: Again, as it seems the theme of this review is, the ending was pretty predictable, and while this was the only time in the entire story that I was truly surprised, that only applies to two moments in the last few chapters. The final climax is great and included one of the shocking and surprising moments, but it did play out mostly how I expected. There was also only one point during this story that I was at all confused, and that was the final chapter. In Madow’s typical Dark World form we have a final chapter from the POV of someone new, but unlike past, let’s just call them epilogues, unlike past epilogues this one didn’t have the same cliffhanger gut punch for me that it usually does, I feel like I missed some subtext or just plain text because while I felt I understood what was going on, I just didn’t feel that signature Madow stomach dropping cliffhanger, but then again, I’d rather have a calmer ending than that torture-fest and the end of the last installment.


While I did utterly devour this installment, as I said numerous times in this review, it’s missing something, everything that’s in the book is fantastic, except for maybe the epilogue, but it's been about a day since I wrote this review and upon reflection I realized what it was missing, it was missing all of the great character interactions from the previous installments, while I love seeing our main characters interacting with newer and returning characters, because everyone's split up, there's sort of a hole left in the story that not even a fantastic story like this could fill in.


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