Thursday, June 5, 2014

Evolution of Angels by Nathan Wall

Title: Evolution of Angels
Author: Nathan Wall
You can find this book here: Amazon (Kindle Edition), Barnes & NobleKobo and Smashwords.

Author's description:

"'Your enemies will outnumber you. Your armor will define you.'
A second war in heaven is sparked by the actions of Azrael: the Arch-Angel of death. 
After his banishment, Angels all over existence flee to earth, masquerading as gods. Hints of their genetic code - and the unlocked powers therein - live on through the millennia, hidden in the bloodlines of their descendants.
Best friends, army Rangers Jarrod and Austin, are invited by a secret agency to participate in a program that would make them the ultimate weapons. The "Double-Helix," which unlocks hidden abilities in the Angels' human-born descendants, is not without its consequences. Participants will no longer be themselves, that is until a familiar face returns in human form."


The first eBook of the series "Evolution of Angels" has its official release today, June 5th, and I have had the honor of receiving an ARC for an honest review. Here it goes:

My official review:

Title & Genre
The title “Evolution of Angels” is quite deceptive, as this book is not really about angels. Not in the form or from the point of view you would expect, anyway. It is an action-adventure/ urban fantasy/ science fiction novel that deals with superheroes who fight to save the world.

Theme & Plot
The eternal good versus evil theme is not hidden, but presented in a direct way, and we know from the beginning who is good and who is not. We have the angels and the superheroes derived from the angels’ essence on one side, and the creatures of the underworld – some of which you will recognize from Greek mythology and some newly-created by the author – on the other.The plot develops on different levels: present and past, human and supernatural. While the main plot seems to take over the novel, with the endless fights between supernatural beings, the secondary plots give a shape to the story, especially to its human side. Each character comes with his baggage, his inner fights and problems. While the author does not insist on these, it still gives us some insight into the characters’ lives.

The source of the characters seems to have its roots both in mythology – we encounter angels, Cyclops, satyrs, the Minotaur, Charon – and in video games - superheroes with their detailed armors and fantastic weaponry.
Author’s attitude towards his characters is detached, you don’t feel that he has a close connection or preference toward any of them.
As to character delineation, most of the characters are sketched, the author paying more attention to their appearance and especially their armors, than to the psychological or moral traits. The motivation behind their actions is well defined, though. The author prefers to “show” rather than “tell”, a laudable characteristic of his style. The numerous flashbacks in the novel show the motivation that drives them.
The characters are not static, but they change, drastically sometimes, from human beings to superheroes with amazing powers, or, in one case, from a tough researcher who disconsiders human life to a caring father and husband, when given a second chance.
My favorite character was Oreios, as he is portrayed with a sense of humor and is the only impartial character in the book; a mercenary monster who doesn’t care about anybody but himself and who chooses which fight is worth fighting by weighing the advantages that it would bring him. I also liked the way the angels are presented, not as innocent chubby cherubs, but as powerful (fully grown-up) beings, dressed in impenetrable armors and making use of weapons. They have a conscience, and they carry their memories from thousands of years ago.

In his story, the author makes us travel all over the world and beyond: from the Middle East to Russia and then to Texas; from the world as we know it to the underworld; from a normal, earthly environment to a secret base; from the outside to the inside of someone’s head. At one time, we even follow him through space, having a beautiful image of the Earth from out there.

Nathan Wall’s diction floats between casual and slang, making you feel “at home” in his book. He is very original in the way he avoids “he said”/ “she said” tags after or before dialogue lines, by replacing them with action phrases, showing that the action takes place at the same time as the speech.
What I want to highlight is the dialogue itself: it is dominating the book, and I consider it a praiseworthy characteristic of Nathan Wall’s style.

I would have liked to know more about the characters, about their personality. At the end of the story, I remained detached and could not relate to any of them.
Also, I think the endless fight scenes take place much too often.
I wish the author had put as much time and effort in describing the characters as he did in describing the fights.

This book will be loved by science fiction readers, and especially by those who enjoy playing RPGs (role-playing games).  

My Twist:

Favorite character: Oreios, a “bad dude, named after a cookie”, a mercenary who fights for whichever side seems to hold the winning hand at a particular moment. He has a very interesting and original supernatural power (you’ll have to read the book to find out what that is), he is quite funny and impartial, and he is probably the only character who doesn’t have a hidden agenda of his own. Or does he?
Favorite quote: ’Woo, go America,’ another drunk voice yelled out, prompting a cheer from the crowd, making everyone erupt in applause.” - This sounds just like a real-life speech. All that’s missing is the flying shoes (or is that too old of a joke for you?).
Favorite name: I’ll have to go with Oreios again.

Least favorite character: Elliot, probably the meanest guy of them all, the proverbial snake pretending to be a friend.
Least favorite quote: pulled the blade out, releasing a gush of blood and guts” – eew!
Least favorite name: Hershiser – this name can be considered, by itself, a tongue-twister.

Aspirin of the book:

The phrase “you are an angel” changed its connotation for me. I’ll think twice before saying that to anybody again, and I certainly hope that the person to whom I’ll be saying it will not actually be an angel or one of his descendants.

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