Offensive content: some violence and some sex. Not enough to offend me, but consider yourself warned
I finished book 3 late last night and I wanted to share my overall opinion on the whole series (books 1-3).
Let me start by saying that I love Elizabeth Hunter’s books and I’ve read almost all of the recent ones, with the exception of the Cameo Springs series. She writes about subjects I would have no interest in reading otherwise (vampires and angels are not me favorite book subjects) but she stills keeps me hooked. Reading her books is like watching a movie. A really good one.
That being said, I was slightly disappointed with the Irin Chronicles, and if the books had been written by any other author, I probably would have not been able to finish the series.
The first book is awesome, and the way we are introduced to Ava and Malachi’s world is fantastic. I really wanted a Malachi for myself (though I still prefer Giovanni, from the Elemental Mysteries series, any other day).
Ava is human (or so she thinks) and Malachi is an Irin scribe, a descendant of the mating between angels and humans. Some of the angels send by God to the human realm returned to Heaven (the Forgiven), and left behind their half-human offspring, to which they gave a piece of their magic. The Irin scribes use their magic through the written word (they tattoo the spells on their body) and the Irina project magic through songs (so they are called singers). Then there are the angels who refused to return to Heaven. They are the Fallen, and their offspring (half human, half fallen angels) are the Grigori, which are presented as beautiful men whose whole focus is to seduce human women and feed from them (not in the literal sense, they sort of absorb their life energy, which often results in the death of such women). Grigori kill humans and Irin scribes kill Grigori. It has been so for centuries but suddenly, Ava’s appearance, and the fact that she seems to be immune to Grigori seduction, are signs that something is about to change. And when you begin to understand a little about the background of both Ava and Malachi, the Fallen Angels and the Forgiven, you can’t really stop reading.
Ava has been plagued all her life by the voices she he hears in her mind, and she can’t even understand the words she hears. She thought she was crazy, but suddenly, things start making sense for her. Malachi has always been bound by duty. He was trained since he was a child, he has had a very long life, and he is a soldier, after all. So he doesn’t understand at first his attraction to Ava, but when he does, he accepts that she’s his fate much faster than she does. The other scribes in the Istanbul scribe house make up for a very interesting (and often funny) group of secondary characters.
The end of book one leaves you hanging off a cliff. I confess I was a bit lost in those last pages, but maybe it was just the reflex of the feelings of both main characters. I was practically in tears when Malachi died. But even if the setting is a bit odd (at least for me, I’m not very used to reading this kind of fiction), Ava and Malachi’s love story is still beautiful.
“I think I’d pull down heaven,” she said, “if that’s what it took to
keep you here with me.”
A slow smile curved his lips. “And I’d abandon it if you weren’t
If this is not the best love declaration of all times, I don’t know what is. And she did pull him down from Heaven. Enough said. You need to read it to find out more.
Book two starts at a sort of new beginning for both main characters but I was so focused on their reunion that I confess I was a bit bored by all the details in between. Still, the world the author weaves is pretty much convincing, and the way Ava and Malachi fall in love a second time is wonderfully written and entirely believable. They have to learn about themselves all over again, and at the same time Malachi is trying to remember his past and Ava is also learning about who she is. The power that she has is mysterious and the role of Jaron (one of the Fallen) in the story becomes interesting. I ended up liking Jaron (who has a major role in Ava’s past) and I loved Vasu (another of the Fallen), especially in book three. Actually, I ended up liking almost all of the Fallen, even Azril, the angel of death. Just Volund and Grimold are depicted as really, really bad characters.
Book three was the hardest to read for me. It is the longest of the series and it is really where you start to understand who and what Ava is which, in the end, has unexpected twists I had never suspected before. If you thought you knew it all from the beginning, well, you really didn’t. But overall, I still felt I was given too much information on some subjects and not enough on others. Ava’s relationship with her biological father was just weird, the break-in into his house not entirely convincing, the guards reaction to finding Malachi, Damien and a stranger (for them) in Mikhael’s armory seemed fake (even in an emergency, they were still trespassing an entirely forbidden and sort of sacred place) and I never fully understood the issue of the switch of the heavenly blades. But I still needed to read to find out the end of the story and I was not disappointed, even if I felt I could have jumped one third of the book to get to the end.
The fight between the Fallen was worth the wait. And the end is a message of hope that encompasses races, generations and worlds.
So, overall, very much worth reading, even if some parts of books 2 and 3 seem to move a bit too slowly. I would recommend it to everyone, even if paranormal/angels vs. humans themes are not your thing.
(book covers from amazon.com)