Friday, November 17, 2017

ARC Review: Archangel's Assassin by Barbara Elsborg

Archangel's Assassin
He wants to forget 

West is an archangel’s assassin delivering justice to supernatural creatures who break the law. Not a straightforward job because he also has to absorb the memories of those he kills. Even worse, West is breaking the law himself in an attempt to free his brother from hell. If he doesn’t succeed before his archangel boss finds out, West will be joining his sibling. 

He wants to remember 

A young guy wakes in a London park with his memories gone. He has no idea who he is, or where he comes from. A bracelet engraved with the single word Tao is the only clue to his identity. With no sign of his memory returning, he drifts into a life on the streets. Begging is his only way to survive. 

Two worlds collide 

When Tao returns West’s stolen wallet, West offers to buy him a coffee. Tao delights in the chance to sit down with a good-looking guy until his instincts tell him to run away. Fast. West is surprised when Tao flees, considering how much he’d been mentally urging him to stay. Is he losing his touch or is Tao more than a scruffy young man down on his luck?

Only one way to find out.

Todd's rating:

After reading 4 other Elsborg contemporary stories, all being either 4 or 5 star reads, I was really excited to read one of her paranormal books.

I loved getting to know Tao, a mid-twenties homeless man who had woken up two months prior with no memories of his past. In spite of his dire circumstances, he was still an upbeat and hopeful character.

And upon meeting West and learning how he'd gone from being a sharp shooter in the military, then dying, only to become an assassin for the archangel Raphael, I was immediately hooked and invested in his story.

The two meet when Tao foils an attempt to steal West's wallet, earning Tao a spot on his Romanian squat mates shit list, leading to a brutal bout of retribution and subsequent rescue by West.

West initially only wanted to sleep with Tao, but as Tao tried to make himself useful around the flat, West couldn't quite seem to bring himself to toss Tao out, once West had gotten what he first wanted.

Then Tao, who was supposedly human, began doing small feats of magic, which led several of the book's characters to the main question of the story.

"What are you?"

The story was tight and extremely compelling; however, once the mystery of Tao's lineage and family history finally began to untangle, the book also began to unravel a bit for me.

Once Tao and West journeyed from the human plane to "the other place" (not saying where, because spoilers), it felt as if I was reading an entirely different book, so my enjoyment began to diminish substantially.

I wasn't the biggest fan of the fairly-predictable "Luke, I am your father" moment and liked the resulting task given to West even less. I did get the why behind it, but I still wasn't a fan.

Then once the separation was over, the events that followed were so sugary sweet and sappy that, again, it felt like and entirely different book. Again.

Of the reviews already out, I seem to be the only reader who's had an issue with any of this so far, so maybe I was in an odd mood while reading the story, but the shifts in the story simply didn't work for me.

I'd still rate this book at around 3.5 stars, because I did enjoy it, especially the parts with Carson, the ghost who wouldn't leave, but I did have a few problems with this one.

My ARC copy of the book was provided by the author in exchange for a fair, unbiased review.

Get the book: Elsborg/e/B0036LFNJ8

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