Title: Angel Arias
Author: Marianne de Pierres
Reviewed by: Andrea
I have to admit, I read Burn Bright almost immediately after it was released, LOVED it, and spent a year anxiously awaiting this instalment of the Night Creatures trilogy. I had some mixed reactions to the story, as I will detail below, but for those of you who haven't read it, there may be some minor spoilers ahead, so be warned.
Things that I loved about the book.
1. Marianne is adept at world building, and the secretive city of Grave, with its Elders and secret alleyways, scared people and oppressive Wardens was a spectacular setting. Ruzalia's island was also a neat joiner between Ixion and Grave, and helped to put some perspective on the longer term consequences for the revellers on the Isle of Ever Night.
2. There was an introduction of a whole new cast of characters in this instalment, from the semi night creatures hybrid gand that helps Naif and Markes in Grave, to Emilia, Markes' betrothed, to the mutinying hordes on Ruzalia's island; they all help to contribute to the adventure of Naif and Markes in trying to uncover the secrets of Ixion in time to help their friends.
3. The small yet tantalising hints of a romance between Naif and Lenoir, and Naif and Markes left me wanting so much more. It's both a good and bad thing - what was there was great, but it really wasn't quite enough to be satisfying.
4. The brief but beautifully written tidbits about the Riper's background, about where they may have come from, and what they might be doing made me long for more. Also with the back story about the Uthers. Loved it!
Things that I wasn't so sure about:
1. When describing this book to a friend, I used the analogy of the Matrix movies. One of the best bits of the initial Matrix movie (and to a lesser extent the second one) was the characters' adventures IN the matrix. One of the major reasons that I initially felt so disappointed with the final Matrix movie was the fact that the majority of the movie wasn't spent in the matrix at all. I felt like this principle applied here. In Burn Bright we had this dark and glamorous world established, that appealed to the rebel in all of us. Ixion was captivating because it was forbidden, and dangerous and generally symbolising everything the rebel in teenage years desires. In Angel Arias, the glimpses of Izxion are limited to a couple of very short narrations by Lenoir, that had me flicking forward in the book looking for more. And the mission in book three is to bring about the downfall of Ixion as soon as humanly possible, so there is no chance of rejoining this world in that state in which it was introduced to us at all. It left me feeling a little disappointed.
2. A large proportion of the characters from book one are given but lip service in this book. Suki, Rollo, Cal, plus Kero and the Wings, and even Joel and Dark Eve. I wanted to see so much more of how life had been for them since Naif's departure.
3. Even though it was listed in the good points above, the relationship between Naif and Lenoir wasn't really fleshed out enough to keep me satisfied in Angel Arias. I wanted to see just a little bit more of the conflict that had to be present in Naif regarding her growing feelings towards Markes, and the bond she shares with Lenoir. It's meant to be a tantalising glimpse, but when it's too brief, it is irritating that there just isn't enough.
I've given the book four stars - I do love it, and it's closer to 4.5, however I can't give it 5 as it didn't really give me all that I wanted from a sequel to a book as great as Burn Bright. Still highly recommended!