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After reading and thoroughly enjoying the first book in the "Novel of the fallen angels" series by J R Ward, I jumped at the chance of reading the newest book in the series "Crave".
Jim Heron is finally a fully fledged angel, with him having his dead body in the local morgue and a huge pair of wings as proof!
After winning the first round between good versus evil, and managing to steer his first floundering soul down the right path the game is on, with Devina (his polar opposite and his biggest enemy in this game), realising her mistake in under estimating him, but not again!
His next soul to save must now be identified, with one of the rules being that aside from his two side kick angels Eddie and Adrian, he has no outside help, so has he chosen the right person?
Isaac has gone AWOL from his military outfit, not the worst offence you may think, but he is no ordinary soldier, he is what is deemed as a ghost.
His missions involve murdering people who the government deems as a security risk, with him having done this since he was hand picked out through an underground online computer community called "sKillazS", due to his ingenious methods of execution and hiding the bodies once done!
After being arrested during an illegal cage fight, which he was ding to raise enough funds to disappear for good, he is assigned a "pro bono" solicitor, trouble is SHE is beautiful and smart, a bad combination to be facing for someone who is trying to hide and potentially not exist!
Things will of course come to ahead once the powers that be find he has now got someone to focus Isaac's attention on, nothing more effective than having a loved one's life threatened.....
Mathias has been running the XOP's department for years now, though his body is now broken and failing him due to a certain incident that involved a self set bomb, and a stubborn pair of work colleagues insisting they save his life, though not for any other reason than to bribe him about his suicide attempt, now one of them is dead however (Jim) he only has to find and "get rid of" the other one, but until he hunts Isaac down he will have to wait patiently, though patience he has in abundance.
Will the battle between good and evil be won, or will the shades of grey in between be the deciding factor?
As much as I enjoyed the first book this one was ten times better, with me already having a real grasp of the main characters so could concentrate on the story itself rather than character development.
As with the previous book there are plenty of really adult theme's, these being the obvious violence that would be expected between a battle of good and evil, but also a rather high amount of sex, with there being a particularly nasty scene where Devina has kidnapped Jim, this is about breaking his spirit by defiling him and letting some of her demons have him too (male and female), though there is no real graphic detail with it, it still feels quite disturbing.
This is in the main a thriller type book, with it having a "cat and mouse" feel to it, but it is not without it's humour, the other two angels in the book have seen plenty of action and are both war scared characters, but are what I would deem as the complete antithesis of what I would expect an angel to look like, with them both being tattooed and pierced, and both resembling biker dude's, never before has the name "hells angels" been more appropriate!
The top dogs though were portrayed as foppish dandy types, though are again much more violent and resilient than you would expect a divine being to be, with them at times melding into the characters portrayed by the "down bellow" crew, such a fine line tread between heaven and hell!
This is a well written if sometimes intensive book to read, with this not being a light and fluffy affair, and it taking me a good week to work my way through the 454 pages, due to the swapping of characters followed between chapters, but also due to the detail that has gone into the book itself.
Don't let the theme of heaven and hell put you off reading this, the theme is more a backdrop with the actual complexities and flawed traits of the characters being the real basis of each book, thus the theme of persuading a "chosen one" to choose the right path, though I would advise you to read the first book in the series "covet" before attempting to read this one, as it does set the scene, and introduces the complex characters without overwhelming you.
Price wise this is available from www.amazon.co.uk for £4.63.
This is a fantastic book that I would quite happily recommend!
Thanks for reading x
For more information visit - www.jrward.com
'Crave' is the second book in J R Ward's new series 'Fallen Angels' and although there are elements which remind the reader of her other series, 'The Black Dagger Brotherhood', this purports to be urban fantasy rather than paranormal romance. I emphasise this fact because there is a real difference between the two. Urban fantasy, which I've discovered I really enjoy, features the extraordinary set into the everyday and ordinary landscape and although there is frequently an element of romance in these books, it isn't the primary focus. Paranormal romance, on the other hand, emphasises the romance between the leading protagonists and can be set either in reality or fantasy. Both types of book depend for their success on the quality of world building delivered by the author.
Following God's abandonment of the people on Earth, Jim Heron finds himself to be a Fallen Angel walking amongst the living. He's required to help certain individuals achieve redemption in this life and their redemption will help Jim discover his own and also help good triumph over evil. He has already completed his first task, during which he battled a demon which is able to take any form it chooses. Now this is his second task and Jim is instructed by his old boss, Matthias, to seek out and kill Isaac Rothe, but Jim gets the feeling that he's expected to save Isaac, not kill him. Isaac had been part of a special operations team, alongside Matthias and Jim, and is now on the run as he's suspected of being involved in killing Matthias. Just as Jim find's Isaac at the venue of his illegal boxing match, Isaac is arrested.
Price and availability:
This is a recently published papaerback book is available from Amazon for £5.59. I borrowed my copy from the library.
I'm going through a bit of a fiction Doldrums at the moment because, although I'm reading books by authors I've previously always had a great deal of respect and admiration for, they just don't seem to be delivering in the way they used to. Sadly, 'Crave' is no exception.
I'd quite enjoyed the first book of this series, the premise of which is that God has abandoned the world and its inhabitants and left it up to the angels to ensure that good triumphs over evil, although so far, we've only been introduced to one truly evil being, the demon Devina. Each book in the series deals with one of the seven deadly sins, the first being covetousness . Quite frankly, I'm not sure what sin this second book is supposed to be dealing with as it has elements of lust, anger, pride and envy with a touch of greed added in for good measure!
Maybe I'm being a bit dim here but I found the set up for this world rather confusing. Not much of it was explained in the first book, other than the basic premise and that Jim was dead and that he and his fellow angels were in a battle where good needs to triumph over evil. From the prologue in this book, it now seems that Jim, along with his boss Matthias and Isaac, were all fighting somewhere in the Middle East and that Matthias was killed, Jim went on the run and has subsequently also been killed and only Isaac remains alive and yet they are all still on this plane of existence. What added to my confusion somewhat is that parts of the story take place in Caldwell, New York, which is the setting for the Black Dagger books too. The place must be positively swarming with paranormal creatures! Anyway, as I couldn't get my head completely around the world that J R Ward has built, I decided to just go with flow and see where the story took me.
This is really a book with two stories. On the one side there is the continuing battle between Jim and his fellow fallen angels and Devina, the demon, over the soul of Isaac, who is at that point in his life where he can turn towards evil or stay on the path of righteousness, as it were. On the other side, there is the story of Isaac, which is little more than a standard love story.
Isaac Rothe has quit the army and is now earning a living as an illegal bare knuckle fighter, a trying to avoid detection by the Special Operations people who believe him responsible for the death of Matthias. To that end he's laying low, although being involved in illegal street fighting doesn't seem to me to be the way to go about that. Once Isaac has been arrested, he's given a public defender, Grier Childe, and inevitably before too long, Isaac and Grier discover an attraction for each other. This is a fairly stock scenario for a romance and I found it quite trite and ultimately rather boring. There isn't much of the paranormal within this story, although Grier's dead brother does appear to her in dreams from time to time.
Because of Jim's interest in Isaac, he becomes the target for Devina and the battle for his soul commences. The action between the paranormal beings really takes centre stage, although I'm not sure that that was the author's intention. Jim and his nemesis , Devina, a demon who has taken on the form of a beautiful female, have something of a history and despite being sworn enemies, before Jim realised who or what Devina actually was, they had carnal knowledge of each other. Devina would like to do so again, which seems to be the reason why she's even bothering with Isaac at all.
Add into this mix, a few more angels, some fallen and a couple of archangels, called Colin and Nigel (which made me immediately picture them as Colin and Justin, the interior decorators). These archangels are British and given dialogue which involved adding in the odd "bloody hell" or "mate" just to emphasise their origins.
Did I like any of these characters? In a word, no! Jim was OK, as a fairly decent man who's bewildered at where he's found himself following his death, but he's making the best of it. Devina comes across more as a rampant nymphomaniac than particularly evil. Did I mention the book is full of raunchy scenes involving quite a bit of S&M style sex? Don't get too excited about those sex scenes though, they aren't much of a turn on. The other angels seem to be very rough and ready types who display little goodness despite being on the side of righteousness and as I've already said, Colin and Justin, er, Nigel, are just too camp to be taken seriously. I just didn't care about any of these people, human or angelic and I'm not surprised God has abandoned them.
All in all this book was a total mish mash of various paranormal elements and the plotlines and story were confusing and boring in equal parts. The use of language, too, deserves a mention. At times I felt that J R Ward was on a mission to see how many grammatical ways she could use the word 'fuck' apart from as an expletive, She certainly found it to be adequate as a verb, both transitive and intransitive, an adjective and a noun! I'm no prude but overuse of this word, not only reduces its effect, but displays a marked lack of vocabulary!
I feel that to market this book as an urban fantasy is wishful thinking. To my mind, this is a paranormal romance and not a very good one at that. The best bit about this book is the sneak peak at the next 'Black Dagger' book 'Lover Unleashed' which demonstrated that J R Ward should stick with that series which seems to be where she's better concentrated her efforts.