Book Review: Thomas E. Sniegoski’s Aerie & Reckoning

Posted January 11, 2013 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews, Young Adult

This book came from the library, and I will never give you less than an honest review, no matter its source. I do provide informational and purchase links to make it more convenient for you to access the book. I also receive a percentage of the sale if you use one of my links to buy it. And that's not enough money to be less than truthful *grin*.

Book Review: Thomas E. Sniegoski’s Aerie & Reckoning

Aerie, Reckoning

by Thomas E. Sniegoski

three-stars

Series: Fallen #3, Fallen #4

Other books by this author that I've reviewed include Mean Streets, A Kiss Before Apocalypse, Where Angels Fear to Tread, A Hundred Words for Hate, Dancing on the Head of a Pin, An Apple for the Creature, In the House of the Wicked, The Fallen, Leviathan, Walking in the Midst of Fire, End of Days, A Deafening Silence in Heaven.

Genres: Urban Fantasy

This Paperback has 576 pages on April 28, 2011. Discover more about it at Goodreads. You can also buy it at Amazon

Third and fourth in the Fallen urban fantasy series for young adults about an angel who will forgive those of the fallen angels who regret their actions.

Aerie

…is the third in the Fallen urban fantasy series for young adults about an angel who will forgive those of the fallen angels who regret their actions.

My Take

Verchiel reminds me of religious leaders and priests who turned into zealots. Fiery, burning zealots who were/are as bad as the devil himself in their single-minded, narrow perspectives. Interpreting the compassion of God to suit their own ends. Twisting the evils that befall them into a license to destroy any who don’t agree with them.

It’s an interesting storyline if only for Sniegoski’s interpretation of Lucifer Morningstar’s revolt against God. It’s hard to believe that angelic beings could be so petty and insecure. It’s been a long, hard road for Morningstar. No less than it should be for what he incited against God, and it’s fascinating to listen to his story as he relates it to his tiny friend.

I do wish Sniegoski gave us some reason, a believable one, for why Verchiel has become the demon we’ve been taught that Lucifer was. How can he seriously believe the things he says?

It’s sweet that Camael is having his attack of conscience as to his worthiness in being in Aerie, but it feels more like “he doth protest too much”. I mean, gimme a break, he “came to his senses” and he’s been doing his best to counter Verchiel’s moves. He’s protecting the Nephilim and the fallen. What reason has Sniegoski ever given us to believe that Camael has to earn his ticket home? Supposedly Camael was doing what God wanted him to do. Including gaining a conscience and using his freewill.

Poor Gabriel. He is missing Aaron so much. “He was mine first; Aaron belongs to me” is a fair statement. I do love Sniegoski’s explanation of the bond between man and his dog. It certainly feels accurate.

Okay, yeah, I like the basic premise of the series’ storyline, but it seems as though Sniegoski slips into cliché every now and again. Although, then again, am I thinking this simply because some of the directions Sniegoski goes off in irritate me? I don’t know. All I do understand is that Sniegoski is expounding on his message and then suddenly jerks me back.

Belphegor is explaining Verchiel to Aaron, Aaron’s purpose in all this which results in Aaron’s anguish, which seems perfectly reasonable for a kid who just turned eighteen. Then the millenniums-old Lehash drops in with his whining. Well, excuse me.

The Story

The trigger is Aaron’s attempted rescue of a fallen angel being chased by a couple of Powers angels. And it’s the first hint Aaron has that having all this power is not going to be easy.

For it’s a suspicious, wary Aerie who finds them. A town of proscribed angels. Until they discover that one of their prisoners is Camael. A former Power who rescued so many of them.

Is it possible that this boy could be the prophecy come to life?

The Characters

Aaron Corbet is Nephilim. The one spoken of in the prophecy who will save the fallen. His one aim is to find and rescue Stevie. Gabriel is his yellow Labrador whom Aaron changed when he was struck by a car (see Fallen, 1); Gabriel can speak mind to mind and his understanding, while mostly obsessed with doggy delights, is very intuitive now. Camael is a former Power, who has turned from Verchiel’s path, appalled by the violence and death. And addicted to French fries.

Vilma Santiago, a very popular girl in Aaron’s old school, is in love with Aaron. Sad that Aaron left, Vilma is suffering from nightmares, depression, and a loss of appetite. That will all seem minor once Verchiel kidnaps her.

Verchiel, the leader of the Powers, has gone over the edge. He doesn’t heal as fast as he once did, and he interprets this as God being angry that he hasn’t done enough. He believes that God himself is ill and that he will have to take over until God recovers. Uh-huh. He despises mankind and will destroy anyone who gets in his way. Kraus is a blind human healer who willingly heals Verchiel. Malak has been distorted from the human child he was. Tortured by the Archons into a Hound who will be used to hunt down and kill his brother.

Archons Jaldabaoth, Oraios, Jao, Sabaoth, Katspiel, Domiel, and Erathaol are the “angels” who lend their magics to Verchiel’s madness.

The inhabitants of Aerie
Belphegor is the leader of this community and a fallen. Camael had pretended to kill him all those millennia ago and now Belphegor does his best to clean the planet of its environmental ills. Lehash is fallen and uses golden pistols as his weapon of choice; Lorelei is his daughter, a Nephilim with healing powers. Scholar is their knowledge keeper.

Nephilim are the rare children born of angels and human women (who usually die in childbirth). The Powers are secret police, God’s storm troopers, and their job is to destroy what they believe is offensive to the Creator. Only, they’ve gone overboard. Archons are Powers who have mastered angelic magick. Lucifer Morningstar is imprisoned inside an iron cage by Verchiel. His only friend a mouse he befriended.

The Cover
The cover is a black-and-white of Aaron in tight jeans and his black wings, heavy on the dramatic shadows.

The title is of a town thought to be mythical — Aerie.

RECKONING

…is the fourth in the Fallen urban fantasy series for young adults about an angel who will forgive those of the fallen angels who regret their actions.

My Take

It’s an interesting interpretation of the angels of God and Lucifer’s war against Heaven. To think that such power and beauty should be so insecure, to believe that God’s love for them could be less. Then there’s Sniegoski’s definition of Hell — the most realistic one I’ve encountered in all my reading. But if we were to accept this, then I suspect we’d have to accept that the only demons that exist are the ones already among us.

How can Verchiel possibly think that what he is doing is something that God will accept?

We learn of a sweet yet short period in Lucifer’s life. His time with Aaron’s mother. His memories serve two purposes: telling us of his love and their history and as a conversation with his conscience. We also discover how badly anyone needs to be assured of being loved.

Oh, boy. Sniegoski’s ending is opening up a whole new can of worms. I’m curious as to where he will go with this in Forsaken, 5.

The Story

Camael and Belphegor are dead. Verchiel is determined to break the barrier holding all of Heaven’s suffering inside of Lucifer. To let it loose upon mankind, and Verchiel anticipates this horror with glee. Only it will be necessary to rip the knowledge of destroying the Word of God from another angel. An innocent.

And the Powers know Aerie’s location. Fight or flight is the question now before Aerie’s inhabitants. But Vilma’s angelic side is thrashing its way out, battling everything and everyone and Aaron must fight the rest to allow her to live.

The Characters

Aaron Corbet is Nephilim and even the inhabitants of Aerie believe he is the one spoken of. He’s also Lucifer’s son. Gabriel is his enhanced yellow Labrador with a great nose. Taylor was Aaron’s mother.

Vilma Santiago, the girl with whom Aaron fell in love, is battling with her inner angel.

Verchiel, the leader of the Powers, can no longer heal; infection has set into his wounds. He intends to unleash Hell on earth before he returns to Heaven to take over for God. He is the true demon in all this. Kraus is a human healer who finally understands the monster Verchiel was/is, but he still does nothing.

Archons Jaldabaoth just wants to get along; Oraios is beginning to doubt the path they follow; Jao passionately follows Verchiel; Katspiel has been blinded and knows what he is doing is wrong; and, Domiel believes their cause is just, even as they murder angels who have no connection to the fallen.

Malakim Peliel is one of three angels who are a direct conduit to God; Raphael survives for a short time.

The inhabitants of Aerie
Lehash is a fallen angel and enamored of the time he spent living through the Old West; Lorelei is his daughter, a Nephilim with healing powers. With Belphegor’s death, Lorelei has become the leader of Aerie. Scholar is their keeper of angelic knowledge. Atliel is a fallen who is disgruntled with Aaron’s dedication.

Nephilim are the rare children born of angels and human women (who usually die in childbirth). The Powers are secret police, God’s storm troopers, and they believe their job is to destroy what they believe is offensive to the Creator. Only, they’ve gone overboard. The Archons are the “angels” who lend their magics to Verchiel’s madness. Lucifer Morningstar is imprisoned inside an iron cage by Verchiel, held for torture. His mouse friend may be his only salvation.

The Cover and Titles

The cover is a black-and-white of Aaron in tight jeans and his black wings, heavy on the dramatic shadows.

The title is Aaron’s purpose and what Verchiel has been pursuing for the past four installments. The leader of the Powers wants his Reckoning.


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