In the expansive world Chancellor created, there are essentially two realms: Middengard, the human realm currently ruled by the demonic Ereubinians; Adoria, the angelic realm ruled by the winged (unless Braeden) Adorians. The Adorians and Ereubinians are practically at war with each other, and the humans of Middengard stand in the middle of this chaos.
At first we readers are tricked into thinking there is a firm line between humans, Adorians, and Ereubinians, and the three main characters -- Ariana, Michael, and Garren -- personally represent the conflicts of the place they belong to. Then Chancellor quickly avoids the easy route by blurring the lines.
The feisty, sarcastic Ariana, who is supposed to be human, surprises Garren with her strong, blue eyes. Not only can't he -- a person who is known for killing indiscriminately -- take her life, but he also can't take her soul. That makes her Adorian. Michael, who turns out to be her Adorian older brother, shoots her by mistake, and that's how Ariana ends up in the Adorian world she once believed with all her heart didn't exist.
Meanwhile, past the Ereubinian borders, Garren is feeling emotions he's never felt before, thanks to Ariana. This introduces one of the most complicating love stories I've had the pleasure of reading in a while. Chancellor has shown Garren's horrible crimes. Many of the Adorians, for various legit reasons, hate Garren with a passion. Yet Garren and Ariana -- most likely due to a prophecy and their past lives -- are steadily falling deeper in love.
Sometime's I'm for the relationship; other times, I find myself unforgiving of all the relationships Garren single-handedly destroyed with his merciless killing. Generally, I love that the romance never takes the story over, while also enhancing it and being of importance to the overall plot. Makes you wonder: is love something that must be deserved or is anyone 'allowed' to love?
The story ends similar to the first book of Lord of the Rings, in that there are many loose threads and much more at stake than when the story started.
In all, I really liked the story. I found the ending effective enough to make me excited for the next installment and the story itself interesting enough to keep me thinking about it when I had to put it down. I like my stories gritty, emotional, and clearly progressive. If the romance isn't complicated, I question its existence. Chancellor passed all of my tests (not that passing my tests really matters, since I'm just another opinionated reviewer).
|Author J.S. Chancellor|