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10:12 am: ANGELOLOGY Ascends Toward the Heavens, But Falls, Crashing

I have discovered something. I really like books with hope in them. Books with a glimpse of hope shining through the grimy darkness. I will read a whole book because of just a little promise of hope.

Really makes me sad when that promise is betrayed.


Tuesday Night, I was in Barnes and Nobles and I saw a book called Angelology by Danielle Trussoni. Not a info book like Dragonology or Wizardology, but a novel. It looked wonderful. It looked splendid.

More particularly, it looked like a Muse had given another author the same instructions she has given me, and now I could read how this author handled the same assignment differently.


It was all about angels, Nephilim*, Gregori**, and secret societies fighting for good. All stuff I am familair with and write about. Almost exactly the kind of thing I have planned for my some day to be written Against the Dying of the Light series.


It sounded perfect.



I bought it. I NEVER impulse buy hardback novels by unknown authors. I’m lucky if I can scrape together enough for a paperback. I usually only buy hardcover if its an author I really love (ie: Mary Balogh, Jim Butcher, or George R.R. Martin.) But I bought this one.


When I got to the top of page nine, where the constant, two hundred year constant prayer by the nuns at St. Rose was described I fell in love.  Then came some interesting but not inspired parts. Then, 168-172, with a really neat analysis of how the Nephelim had destroyed the modern world by separating the intelligent from the religious. So cool!




The promise just was not kept.


There was beautiful writing. There was compelling storytelling. There was eeriness and that heady sensation that modern writers attached to vampires, but which really fits better with fallen angels than with blood suckers. (Anne Rice had a speech about how angels and vampires are related in the human psyche and how their fads are intertwined…she thought the angle fad led to the vampire fad and that another angel fad would follow.) All this was done very well.

But there was nothing holy.

No glimpse of Light beyond. The hope that is mentioned and glimpsed in the early chapters does not come to anything. There was even a scene where a real angel, not a fallen one, appeared—which I had REALLY been hoping would happen. (I'm so sick of all angels being evil...but that's a different post.) But there was nothing to it but plot and action. Angel comes, solves problem…there was no awe, no holiness, no wonder.


I am not even concerned with the utterly ridiculous unhappy ending tacked on in the last two pages for no reason. The author set up a romance very nicely with no hints that it might go awry, gave the hero all the info he needed to be able to decode what finally happened, and then had him freak out and act like an idiot for no reason on the next to last page. 

I just discounted that. Was not worth my time to get annoyed about. No, it was the lead up to the last pages, the final climax, that fell so short of what it could have been. 

Donald Maass talks about the most powerful elements you can put in a book. These are the things that really move people, the things that the best books of all have:


Forgiveness and redemption.


This was a book that cried out for moments of redemption or at least forgiveness. It screamed for it. It hinted at it. There were sad, heartbreaking ways it could have been delivered that would have been so effective.




Just petty characters making uninspired decisions. Many things could have been better. The worst was that the villain had once loved the heroine’s grandmother. He has even has a dream in which she whispers that she loves him…something no human or nephilim had ever said to him in his long immortal life. And…she had loved him! 

But he kills her without conversation or interaction. It was a scene that screamed for something…a chance at forgiveness? A chance at forgiveness repulsed? A moment of redemption or regret? A last exchange of love? No…nothing.

I felt…


Can’t put it in to regular words. Must use analogies:

I felt as if I danced with other maidens beneath a pavilion with rain and darkness all around us, each of us holding a little burning lamp (Kind of like this.) While the others stayed in the security of the pavilion, I and my sister stepped out from safety to bravely light the darkness. We carefully tended and protected our little lights, daring to go farther than those behind us. Then, as I stayed faithful to my trust, I looked over to see Franchezzo’s ancestor***, his proud and handsome face partially rotted away—though he was unaware of it, whispering into her ear. And, before I could stop her, or even cry out, she leaned forward over the little lamp that was our sacred charge and blew it out.


Or like: imagine a Cliffside upon which a great winged man is bound. His body secured with steel chains and leather straps. His head down, long dark hair over his face. He raises his head revealing a face of incomparable beauty, fierce and glorious, undaunted. Gathering his strength, he pulls. He breaks free of his restraints. With a triumphant shout, he shoots upward, airborne and free. Amidst unending blue, he soaring, flying heavenward and home. Except that his great wings buckle, and he plummets downwards, crashing onto the waves below. His broken body is found later washed up upon the shore.


It hurt.



*Nephelim – “There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.” Genesis 6:4 The word translated “giants” here is Nephelim. In Jewish lore, the Nephelim were the offspring of angels and humans.


** Gregori – Greek for Watchers. The angels that fell in love with mankind and disobeyed God to help them. Very much like Prometheus. (Interestingly, this writer 1) Picked Japeth son of Noah to be the one who fathered the Nephelim race (or rather the guy who killed and replaced him did.) and she mentioned Prometheus several times…but she never brought out the connection…that Japeth is thought to be the same person as Iapetus, the titan father of Prometheus.


***From Wanderer In The Spirit Lands –Franchezzo meets an ancestor in Hell who claims to have been whispering in his ear during his life, influencing him to do bad and prideful things. In particular, he offers to teach Franchezzo how to influence writers and get them to serve Hell’s purposes.


[User Picture]
Date:March 22nd, 2010 05:17 pm (UTC)
Sorry you wasted the money. No chance of returning it?

Similar experience when rereading The War Hound and the World's Pain by Moorcock. Summary from Wikipedia (I am lazy today) here:

"The book is set in Europe ravaged by the Thirty Years' War. Its hero Ulrich von Bek is a mercenary and freethinker, who finds himself a damned soul in a castle owned by Lucifer. Much to his surprise, von Bek is charged by Lucifer with doing God's work, by finding the Holy Grail, the "cure for the world's pain," that will also cure Lucifer's pain by reconciling him with God. Only through doing this can von Bek save his soul.

After many adventures, von Bek eventually finds the Holy Grail, and discovers that it will set mankind on the path to self-redemption through rationality, without the help of God or the hindrance of Lucifer.
The most charming characters: von Bek the hardheaded, good-man-who's-done-bad-things soldier and a most verbose, handsome, and contrite Satan--whose contrition turns out to be completely unnecessary.

Bah! Sometimes I think Alcott's March girls had it better when they play-acted Pilgrim's Progress.
[User Picture]
Date:March 22nd, 2010 05:25 pm (UTC)
There were many things I enjoyed in the book, particularly seeing another author, a good one, playing with ideas I like or am familiar with. So, I would not want to return it.

I'm just disappointed because it could have been so much more.
[User Picture]
Date:March 23rd, 2010 12:20 pm (UTC)
How much did you know about Moorcock before you set out to write this book? Because, having read some of his essays and his "Behold the Man", I would always have expected him to deliberately bugger the whole thing. In "Behold the Man", Moorcock tries to explain away the historical description of Christ's death with a science fiction jumble of time travel and other nonsense that is far less credible than the Gospel account itself. He is the very incarnation of artistic bad faith with regard to Christianity: he aches to rip it down by any means possible, but he cannot keep his mind away from it.
[User Picture]
Date:March 23rd, 2010 12:42 pm (UTC)
I'm not writing a book at the moment. The next one (fellowship and publisher willing) will be on the antebellum "Napoleon of the Turf."

However, I am not/was not aware of Moorcock's writings other than the Count Brass and Melnibone work. And the Blue Oyster Cult hit.

Perhaps his story will have a happier ending than that of his heroes. It's entirely possible.
If someone had told me 20 years ago that JCW would become a lion in defense of the Catholic faith and that my husband would be giving sermons at the local church on the problem of pain, I would have thought them mad.

Now that you've piqued my interest on Moorecock, I will explore further.
[User Picture]
Date:March 23rd, 2010 12:48 pm (UTC)
Sorry, of course I meant "read", not "write".
[User Picture]
Date:March 23rd, 2010 01:46 pm (UTC)
Oh. ;-)
[User Picture]
Date:March 23rd, 2010 01:46 pm (UTC)
I think she was describing a book written by another author.
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