Sunday, January 1, 2012

Book Review: Raziel

Raziel (The Fallen #1)by Kristina Douglas

Published by Pocket Books, A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Release Date: January 25, 2011
But it on 
Rated M for Mature Readers
Source: Owned by Reviewer, Nook ebook edition

My thoughts:
Raziel is a book that I had seen on several of my fellow bloggers’ Waiting on Wednesday posts. It looked interesting enough that I added it to my TBR list, but I didn’t jump to read it. Then Raziel was chosen as the February read for a group that I belong to, and I was excited to finally have the push I needed to sit down and start reading it, but still wasn’t motivated enough to actually jump in. As several of my friends finished it and started talking about it, and I realized that February was pretty close to running out on me, I finally started reading it last night. Here I am, just 24 hours later, and not only have I finished the book, but I can’t get it out of my head. I’m a passionate reader, and I fall for the characters quickly and hate to let them go, but it’s rare for me to find a book that I can’t move on from. To be completely honest, I am shocked – shocked! – to find Raziel falling in this category. Why am I so surprised to love this book so much? Well, here we go…

First, a little bit about the story. Raziel is a story of fallen angels, but it’s a whole different twist on the mythology from what I’m use to. There is quite a bit of Judeo-Christian religious referencing, which made me uncomfortable at first. Allie is an author of Old Testament mysteries spun with a sarcastic edge. She is a struggling author, getting by on temp jobs to help support her lifestyle which is by no means meager. Raziel is one of the first of the fallen angels to be cursed by God and to serve Uriel in escorting selected dead to their fates. He is determined to never mate or love again in order to avoid the loss of yet one more human woman he loves in his eternal existence. So when he sets out on his assignment to deliver poor Allie, who meets her unfortunate end as a result of her 4 inch heels and a cross city bus, to her fate he is not prepared for the direction that his life is about to take. When Raziel realizes at the last minute that Allie has been fated to hell and impulsively (and irrationally) rescues her, he sets into motion a string of events that endanger the rest of the fallen angels. He is angry with himself, he is angry with Allie, and he is determined to keep a distance from her, to rid the fallen angel society of her presence without condemning her to hell, and in spite of the bond between them and the growing attraction that neither of them wants to face.

Now, the beginning of Raziel drove me absolutely insane. Several of my friends had warned me that the beginning was rough, but to just keep reading. As I got 100 pages in and Allie was still driving me crazy, I lost all hope for this book. It wasn’t a bad read. I’m a reader that cannot keep reading if I don’t like the book. So the fact that I was still reading, and wanted to continue reading, is proof that it’s a decent read. The biggest issue for me was that while I loved the concept of the heroine as a smart, sassy, tough chick who wouldn’t be pushed around and could stand on her own, Allie’s rambling thoughts were hard for me to follow. I won’t say boring, but her constant chatter drove me as insane as it did Raziel. Every time he told her to shut up, I cheered. There was more than one occasion where I thought geeze, get to the point already! I also had a hard time connecting with Raziel. He was cold and hard. I understood his reasoning, but it kept me away just as surely as it did Allie. The first person writing was a bit much for a two (and sometimes three) character narrative. I also had a hard time accepting Nephilim as bad guys as they have been either hero or heroine in many of the YA series I’ve read lately. At this point, I just knew that it wasn’t getting any better and it would end up being a two-birdie rating for Raziel.

So where did things change? Almost exactly halfway through, Raziel is finally forced to somewhat face his attraction to Allie. Their first intimate encounter is by no means love making, nor is it quite romantic, but it is pivotal for the story. Here we see a side to Raziel that he has been hiding from us, from Allie. As clich√© as it sounds, this is where I finally started to really fall for Raziel. I finally saw him as the male that I wanted to believe he was all along. Allie also changes after this. Her rambling thoughts are more organized and easier to follow. She becomes even stronger, and she completely steps up to the plate as the world of the fallen angels starts to crumble around them. As Allie’s decisions and actions put her in danger in her quest to help the angels, Raziel is forced to admit his feelings for her and becomes fiercely protective. The true reason for Allie’s presence in their world is a hard blow to both Raziel and to Allie. They both must come to terms with their destiny and accept each other as mates. The second half of the book left me breathless and anxious for more. I finally felt a connection to Allie and Raziel, and I wasn’t ready to let them go. Had it not been for the rough beginning, Raziel would have been a five-birdie book for me. Will I recommend it to others? Yes, but with the warning that you have to fight through the beginning in order to make the fall. For some readers, it won’t be worth the time or the effort. As for myself, anytime I can’t get the characters out of my head, and I feel the burning need to talk about the story, it's well worth the read. I am so glad that I stuck with it, and thankful to my friends who kept pushing me to keep reading! Raziel gets four birdies from me – I loved it!

I’ve never been inspired to do this in a review before, so I guess this is one more testament to how much I ended up loving Raziel. Here are my favorite Allie and Raziel moments…

Allie: As the council of fallen angels is discussing Allie’s place among them and where her destiny will lead, Allie’s feminism gets the best of her and this is one time that I wanted to stand up and shout “Amen sister!” My favorite Allie quote: “But you forgot to include me in this discussion, which seems to concern me the most. I know your patriarchal bullshit style makes you forget that women have brains and opinions, but since this is about me, then you can just spit it out.”
Raziel: During this same council meeting, it is suggested that Allie may in fact be another angel’s mate rather than Raziel’s. Raziel’s reaction is positively swoon-worthy: “The low growl was startling, and I looked back across the table at Raziel. He looked positively…feral. I’d heard that growl before.”

My favorite male character: Raziel, of course. Once he showed his true self to us, I fell for him hard. From his iridescent blue wings, to his protective and possesive feelings toward his mate, and down to his acceptance of his own place among the fallen.
My favorite female character: Sarah. I haven’t spoken of Sarah in the review. She is The Source to the fallen angels. She is mated to their Alpha and provides the nourishment of blood to the unmated angels. She is strong and wise, compassionate, and loving.

*Special Note: We have a few ideas up our sleeve here at Reading Lark in regards to Raziel. We are not finished with this book yet. Please stay tuned for something fun involving at least one special guest visitor.*

From Goodreads:
Kristina Douglas’s sexy new series introduces a realm of fallen angels and ruthless demons, where an eternal rebellion is brewing . . . and one unsuspecting woman can change the fate of the Fallen forever. 

She was just an ordinary mortal . . .

“You’re dead” is so not what Allie Watson wants to hear. Unfortunately, it explains a lot. Like the dark, angelically handsome man who ferried her to this strange, hidden land. The last thing she remembers is stepping off a curb in front of a crosstown bus. Now she’s surrounded by gorgeous fallen angels with an unsettling taste for blood—and they really don’t want her around. Not exactly how she pictured heaven.

. . . until death catapulted her into a seductive world she never imagined.

Raziel is unsure why he rescued Allie from hellfire against Uriel’s orders, but she stirs in him a longing he hasn't felt in centuries. Now the Fallen are bracing for the divine wrath brought by his disobedience, and they blame Allie for the ferocious Nephilim clawing at the kingdom’s shrouded gates. Facing impossible odds at every turn, the two must work together to survive. Raziel will do anything to defend his spirited lover against the forces of darkness—because Allie may be the Fallen’s only salvation.

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