Avenger's Angel - Heather Killough-Walden Please believe me. I didn't purchase this book expecting a great story, but I needed something to read to distract me from the unfinished backlist I have piling up on my Nook. I figured it would be a fast read, that there might be some angelic badassery and a little angelic sex and a happy ending. What I didn't expect was to quit the damn thing 2/3rds through. I didn't expect the visceral anger and the burning desire to growl out the words, "Fuck you SO HARD, book!" Alas, my husband was in my presence when I reached the point in the story where I wanted to kill everything, so I kept my mouth shut. But I wanted to say it. I also want to burn the memory of the utter crap I just read from my mind, but that's impossible because (1) I feel a responsibility to warn my GR friends far, far away and (2) some things need to be bitched about. So here goes.

WARNING: PROFANITY AND SPOILERS AHEAD!

SUMMARY:
Two thousand years ago, God - or the Old Man, as characters call him - gifted his four favorite archangels with girl angels called archesses. For being super loyal and the totes best angels in all the heavens, Michael, Gabriel, Azrael and Uriel each got a soul mate to - I don't know - make sweet angel babies on clouds with or something. Unfortunately, before the archangels could "claim" their prizes (the book's word, not mine), a gang of jealous angels fucked the works up and caused the archesses to be cast from Heaven to Earth. Furious at the loss of their new toys, the four favored archangels fell to earth to search for their archesses. Two thousand years later, Uriel finally finds his lady in a bathroom. Yeah, Avenger's Angel really amps up the romance.

Eleanore Granger has no idea she's an archess. But of course! If a woman knew something, even the tiniest thing, in this book, the whole world would come to an end. She knows she has special powers, like the ability to heal others and telekinetic skills. Since humans are freaking awful, Eleanore's spent the better part of her 25 years dodging shady government vehicles containing men in suits with nefarious collections of needles. Uriel meets Eleanore as his human alias, Christopher Daniels, the sexiest goddamn movie star in the whole world. He comes onto Eleanore fast and hard, but she's unsure about who to trust. You see, the archangels have a nemesis, some angel with daddy issues (and probably a really tiny peen) named Samael who's determined to win Ellie for himself through any means possible. Naturally, Samael's antics lead to a menagerie of male posturing, growling, and tug-of-warring over the pretty new girl thingy.

I don't think that this book meant to be sexist. Several times, Ellie even complains about her destiny with Uriel robbing her of the choice to live her own life with her own choices. Incidentally, the prose is so damn pleased with itself when it describes these totally hot archangels and all of their super-alpha powers and their maneuvering of this kind of boring girl that my sexism detector starting blaring louder than a virgin heroine experiencing her first orgasm. And then there was THE SCENE, the one that made me stop reading, but I'll get to that later. All you have to know now is that I think this book is accidentally sexist. Wait, no. It had to be intentional. Maybe ... Screw it. Whatever the intent, I still feel like this:


GIFSoup
So disappointed right now.

THE PROBLEMS

1. Every Male Character is a Gary Stu: The archangels are supernaturally beautiful and powerful. The bad guys are supernaturally beautiful and powerful. They're all great lovers. Their physical descriptions are incredibly similar aside from differing eye colors and hair colors/styles. Apparently, the Old Man didn't use much creativity when he created his perfect celestial beings, nor did he know that different races are a thing. I suppose the one thing I can't use against the archangels is that they're so freaking dumb that bees can likely buzz in one ear of their celestical craniums and out the other in record time. Samael's pretty smart, but he's also an infantile asshat with an inferiority complex. However, it wasn't enough for the author to establish that the boys are THE BEST EVER ...

2. The Repetition: I lost count of how many times the male beauty was mentioned. Eleanore spends a majority of the text distracted by the "handsome," "gorgeous," or "beautiful" men and often mulls over the way their muscles "ripple," "flex," or "bulge" under their extra-tight shirts. Uriel always wears a tight thermal, and for god's sake, I don't know how any being can flex as often as he does from the amount of times his muscles are mentioned. That has to be exhausting! However, Eleanore isn't the only one who mentions how super-hot all the penis-wielders are in this book. The men do it, too! No matter whose perspective is used, it must be repeated how sexy and perfect the stupid guys are. You know, when one has to insist on something like physical beauty so much, it's usually because the fucker ISN'T THAT HOT.

3. Eleanore is Useless in Comparison to the Supermen: At first, I was excited that Eleanore got special powers of her own. "Cool!" I thought, "She'll be able to add some badassery to the story." But no. I hate it when a book makes me feel naive. Eleanore can move things with her mind; the boys can move BIGGER things with their minds and with more control. Eleanore can influence the weather with her emotions; the boys have control over the elements. Eleanore can heal; Uriel becomes a goddamn vampire, the most powerful thing EVER, and gains the ability to FLY. Adding powers to the characters exponentially doesn't make for a very interesting story.

4. Uriel the Vampire: My main complaint is that there's no indication on the blurb that this turns into a freaking vampire story. I was willing to let it slide at first because it seemed like vampirism would be very difficult and very painful for Uriel. Unfortunately, he adapts at the freaking speed of lightning, and his brothers allow him to go after Eleanore after A WHOLE DAY, even though he craves her blood more than anything else. The characters pass around the Stupid Ball in this story constantly. I honestly don't know how any of the boys learned to tie their shoes.

5. THE SCENE: The first love scene teetered treacherously close to rape and/or abuse. It made me sick. Here's a book from 2012, and it's still clear that people - both men AND women - don't fully understand consent. It pains me to do this, but the only way to get my point across is by posting quotes. The point of the scene is apparently that Uriel is so overcome with lust for Eleanore and vampiric bloodlust that he can't help himself. The bad writing speaks for itself, but the content is even worse. Read at your own risk:

"Coherent thought all but left him as he turned to the bed and threw her down onto her stomach in the center of the bed.

"Eleanor gasped and cried out, clearly struggling to make sense of the suddent movement, scrambling to get her hands and knees beneath her.

"He didn't give her the chance. He was on top of her, pressing her into the quilt before she could gain any leverage."


Aw, how romantic! He cut off her mobility. What a charmer! Uriel uses vampiric mind control during this scene, telling her to "trust" him and to submit. THESE ARE THINGS YOU ASK, CAPTAIN RAPE-KIT! Holy hell, I HATE it when authors write these things like I'm supposed to think the interaction is sexy. "Another part of her relished in the domination, wanting more," my ASS. But maybe Uriel doesn't realize what he's doing. Maybe this a misunderstanding ...

"Uriel's self-control was gone. There was nothing left in him but a dominant vampire, an archangel who needed his archess, and a determination that forced his will upon the woman trapped beneath him."


Damn it. "Forced his will." Now I was pissed at myself for giving the dude the benefit of the doubt. He ends up tearing off her clothes, all while she's immobile. I will admit that Eleanore's apparently super turned-on by this, which is kind of hard to believe considering that she's often afraid of him and also a 25-year-old virgin who only received her FIRST KISS a couple days ago from Uriel. But yes, I'll be fair, the interaction is supposed to be sexy. But then you have THIS gem, and if it doesn't freak you out, I don't know what will:

"'I'm going to let you up. Don't try to get away, do you understand?' he whispered harshly in her ear.

"She hesitated in answering, her desire fighting with her natural instinct to flee. Uriel's hand was out from between them and once more wrapped around her throat in a flash. He used it to pull her up and against him, squeezing in warning."


This is the part in the interaction when Oprah would tell you to scream and run for the hills, ladies. I don't care if your name is Admiral Sexy Beast and your bowel movements give women orgasms. Wrapping your hand around another human being's throat is NEVER okay. Fucking shenanigans. Isn't this basic stuff? You know, like how we've collectively decided not to stab our loved ones with steak knives. Some things just don't fall in my gray area.

Uriel makes Ellie grab the headboard and ends up taking the virgin from BEHIND. To add insult to injury, he's a total dick about Ellie's grip on the headboard.

"Eleanore moaned again, and with hard eyes, Uriel watched her fingers slip a little on the railing.

"'Don't you dare let go,' he growled, and she jumped gripping it tighter."


Yes, master, because if she lets go of the headboard thanks to the pain of you ramming into her like a rutting buck, God will kill a kitten. Is that what happens if an archess disobeys her archangel, or is this just an asshole vampire thing? Uriel eventually grabs her by the hair and yanks her head back so he has access to the veins in her neck. I'd just like to SEE my husband try to grab me by the hair. Oh, but he wouldn't try something like that. BECAUSE HE ISN'T A DOUCHEBAG. But I'm sorry, I haven't including a quote from Uncle Uriel's Creepy Factory in awhile ...

"He lowered himself until he could once more whisper in her ear. 'I'm going to take you now the way I've wanted to take you since I saw you that night in the bookstore,' he told her, keeping his grip on her hair tight so that she couldn't pull away. 'I'm going to take you hard and fast,' he promised her. 'Because you're mine, Ellie.' He almost growled his ownership. 'And you always will be'

"With that, he covered her mouth with one one hand and thrust forward, holding her still as he did so. In one clean, driving shove, he ripped through her virginity and rendered it in two."


He COVERS HER MOUTH WITH ONE HAND, presumably so no one can hear her screams.

My rage has yet again reached a boiling level, so I won't share anymore quotes with you. You should know that when Ellie finally loses grip on that freaking headboard, Uriel ends up biting and feeding from her. WITHOUT HER CONSENT. I'm pretty sure romance is dead now. It may never recover from the bad vibes this book put out into the universe.

You may be relieved to learn that Ellie has an earth-shattering orgasm from being turned into Uriel's chew toy and kneeling submissive. I'm not relieved, though. I'm just done with the godawful book and its godawful message.

If the writing had been decent, perhaps the romance wouldn't have turned into an American Horror Story, but I can only judge on what was presented to me. I wouldn't recommend this book to my cats. They have more respect for people than the hard-bodied arch"angel" Uriel has for the love of his life in this book. So this is apparently my limit - rape disguised as romance. Good to know.

Utter crap. C'est fin.