Flaming Dove

Flaming Dove - Daniel Arenson Angels vs. Demons Smackdown! Armageddon has taken place--now the fight continues and the winner takes Earth. Enter Laila, half-demon and half-angel. She cannot live in either Heaven or Hell. In Heaven the godlight burns her demon half and in Hell the hellfire burns her angel half. She is exiled to Earth where she is alone except for her constant companion, a wolf named Volksfair. If Heaven wins then the Earth will be filled with godlight. If Hell wins then the Earth will be filled with Hellfire. Either way…Laila dies. Both Heaven and Hell want to recruit her for their own agenda. But Laila has an agenda of her own. If she stays on Earth she will eventually perish in either the godlight or hellfire so she hatches a plan to take over Hell, rid it of hellfire, and make it her home. In order to do this she must kill Beelzebub, who is a fallen angel and the ruler of Hell. He is also the brother of Archangel Michael. Can she bring herself to kill her former lover who she almost married? I wasn’t immediately invested in this story. It took about 1/3 of the book before I started to get interested. I found the world that the author created to be interesting, but not intriguing. The story takes place 27 years after Armageddon and few humans are left around the world. In fact, this story had only one significant human character that is minor to the story and introduced late in the book. The entire cast of characters consists of either angels or demons. That’s not a bad thing and I actually liked it. Another thing I liked is the way the story blurs the line between good and evil, Heaven and Hell, friends and enemies.At times I felt the prose and dialogue were a little overdramatic and other times the story seemed to be to having an identity crisis. It didn’t know if it wanted to be a serious dark fantasy or something a little lighter. Occasionally, the dialogue and narrative would switch from a more serious and formal tone to something more modern and casual, such as Laila saying “Owie” after falling to Earth in a battle with a demon that almost kills her. Owie? Laila of the night. Laila of the shadows. Laila of tears and blood. Laila who has fallen and rises again, etc. This Laila says “owie”? This is probably just a quirk of my own personal preference, but the one other thing that bothered me about the dialogue is the use of the word “dad” instead of “father” or maybe in the case of a demon, “sire”. Dad just seems too casual and human and it didn’t seem to go with the overall tone of the book. There was one scene where Bat El (Laila’s sister and an angel) uses the word dad to refer to Gabriel, her father. This is the only time it felt appropriate because it was a more personal moment. The character of Laila was probably the most interesting to me, but I also found myself getting interested in Beelzebub as well. However, I couldn’t make out if he was a bad guy or good guy in bad guy’s clothing. Sometimes he was gentle and kind and at other times he would do something really twisted (yeah, I know…ruler of hell and all that). The only other character that I liked was a minor character, Nathaniel, an angel who lost his wings and an eye in battle with a demon and was relegated to patrol Earth. You first meet him at the beginning of the story. He is a jaded and gritty character and one of the few that came off as credible.There is a light romantic element in this book. The love scenes are short and behind closed doors. This worked fine later in the book but I felt the first scene between the two characters was pivotal and would have benefited from a little more attention to the emotion and intimacy of the scene. Overall, I liked the book but I’m not doing cartwheels over it. It wasn’t a pager turner for me and I wasn’t compelled to get back to it when I had to stop, but when I was reading it I enjoyed my time with the book once I got in to the meat of it. The ending seemed to be a cliffhanger leading to another book, but I can’t say for sure. http://indieparanormalbooksreviews.blogspot.com/