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Monday, December 17, 2012

Book Review: On Unfaithful Wings

Independent author Bruce Blake was kind enough to do a blog swap with me, so I decided to check out his novel, On Unfaithful Wings; the first in the Icarus Fell series.

Without giving too much away, the novel deals with a dead-beat loner who gets killed, then resurrected by God to become a harvester of souls. His job is to lead them to Heaven. But his job is made difficult by Carrions, harvesters playing for the other guy. When Icarus (yes, Icarus Fell is his name) deliberately botches a job, it creates repercussions that leads to a fiery battle in a church for his soul.

The book is great. Icarus is a good anti-hero, a former drug addict and alcoholic trying to do right by his son. Trevor is the only thing Icarus feels he has done right and he desperately wants to cling to that. Icarus is well written, an anti-hero without being a tough guy or unsympathetic. I found myself rooting for him, laughing along with him at his funny observations, and basically feeling this is a character that really existed. Because the book is written in first-person, we know Icarus very well. The other characters are also well written with their own personalities and each feels unique.

The bad. It's written in first-person about 90% of the time. I'm not a fan of first-person POV, never have been. I find it limiting and at the same time unrealistic. I always think as first-person as a person telling a story and nobody tells a story as detailed as the way it is written in books. It is not a fault of Bruce Blake's, he is a great writer, I'm just not fond of first-person POV. A few times he switches to third-person when he is writing from the perspective of Sister Mary-Therese. I found this perspective switching confusing the first couple of times and wondered why he didn't write the whole novel in third-person. I think the same perspective should be used throughout a book.

But that is a minor point. The characters are well-written; from Icarus, to his insecure guardian angel Poe, to the sun-loving angel Gabriel. Each character has their own voice and some, like Poe, seem to have their own interesting backstory, which hopefully will be revealed in further volumes.

While this story deals with angels, demons, Heaven, and Hell, it isn't religious. Icarus asks a few pointed questions about life and death but this book is really non-denominational. There is nothing in here to anger Christians and the book doesn't beat you over the head with religious messages or get into deep philosophical territory. It is the story of one man trying to make his life right again, set against a Heaven versus Hell backdrop.

I bought two more of Bruce Blake's books after reading On Unfaithful Wings in just three days. I highly recommend this book.

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