Review: Angel in Chains by Cynthia Eden

9 Aug

This is a book review that was originally published on the Smart Bitches Trashy Books website as part of their RITA Reader challenge where they asked their followers to review RITA nominated books. This book got a B- grade from me.

I put my hand up to review this book because I got excited by the summary posted on Amazon. Hot and angry Angel of Death saving a girl from snarling panther shifters? For the love of all that is paranormal, batman, sign me up! So I bought the book, put the kids to bed and got ready to stay up all night reading. Only, I didn’t. I was actually able to put it down after 3 chapters and go to sleep! This was my main problem with this book. Even though it had so many things going for it and I really wanted to like it, I never got into it the way I do with the really good books. You know the maybe I’ll just sneak a couple of paragraphs at the stoplight good.

Here are the things that I DID like about the book. It was an interesting premise and I liked that it started out exciting right away with big and bad Az saving Jade in the first chapter. The rest of the book is basically Az and Jade and a few other secondary characters along the way running away from and plotting to kill Brandt, a psycho panther shifter who is Alpha of a pack and is also crazy (as in CRAY CRAY) obsessed with having Jade as his mate.

This was the first and only book of the series that I have read and even if I read it out of order I was able to pick up the story and not get confused which was another thing that I appreciated.

I liked that the world building was interesting and just a bit dark. The whole idea of Fallen Angels is in turns fascinating and vaguely horrifying. It is a completely different take on Angels than Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter series where Angels are not from Heaven or have any sort of religious convent school like undertones to them. Cynthia Eden’s Angels have the whole heaven, hell, redemption theme going. There’s even talk of the different kinds of angels: punishment angels, death angels and guardian angels which brings to mind early childhood catechism classes.

I liked that it wasn’t one of those stories where they were fated and therefore fell in love with each other automatically. At the end of the day Az and Jade made the choice to believe in each other and be together, no one else made the choice for them.

One of the biggest things that I DIDN’T like about the book was the main characters. They just weren’t all that likeable. Jade is feisty and has been through hell and back running away from Crazy Brandt who kills everyone that is close to her. She is tough and can take care of herself, as she has been for years but all of a sudden has a blind and total faith in Azrael even if people are telling her he is using her? Just a little hard to swallow. I should have liked her but for some reason I didn’t.

Same goes with Az. One of the best things for me about reading a romance is being able to secretly swoon about the leading man. Az had all the elements but didn’t quite get there for me. In most of the novels that I read authors usually use italics to show the inner thoughts of their characters. This third person omniscient point of view of writing is my favourite because I like being able to read the thoughts of all the main characters of the book, but I found some of the writing of Az’s thoughts really weird. There’s this one scene in particular written from Az’s point of view that was pure WTFery for me:

Her legs curled around his hips and her neck arched as Jade choked out his name.

Thrust. Thrust. He couldn’t get deep enough. (p.105)

So… he is lost in the moment and thinking to himself Thrust. Thrust?! And then later on down the passage the author uses it AGAIN.

Az never wanted to let her go.

Couldn’t.

Thrust. Th-

At which point I thought to myself, Laugh. Laugh.

It totally spoiled the scene for me.

My other major dislike in the story was Brandt the bad guy. He was your totally cookie cutter crazy mad baddie. He killed people left, right and center including those most loyal to him but wouldn’t kill Jade no matter what she did. One of the most unbelievable parts of the story was when he killed his second in command for making a remark he didn’t like. It just didn’t make sense to me at all but then again that may have been the point so who knows?

I really wanted to like this book and give it a higher grade but I couldn’t. Would I read another Cynthia Eden book? Definitely. It was entertaining, the world building was really interesting and the storyline was exciting. Was it a great book? In my humble opinion, no and this probably just comes down to personal taste. Jade and Azrael unlike Eve and Roarke, Rafael and Elena, Rain and Ellysetta are not a couple that I will remember very clearly or with particular fondness.

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