Friday, April 27, 2012

Reviews From an HBN (The Devil's Galley - Michelle Rodriguez)

Not to worry, my chickadees, His Dark Materials is scheduled for tomorrow. I promised someone I'd do this for them...

Captained by one of God’s fallen angels, the Devil’s Galley collects souls lost at sea and brings them to their eternal damnation. Since childhood, Maggie Sloane has been the only one able to see its ghostly image upon the sea, drawn to it as if it is her destiny. Haunted by visions of sin and damnation, one night, she leaps off a cliff and unwittingly ends up saved and a passenger on the ship of the damned on a journey to hell.

The fallen angel Rafe is a reaper for Satan. He cannot explain his unacceptable attraction to a mortal girl, rescuing her from treacherous death and damnation with an uncommon hope to save her soul. As they travel to hell and back with the devil after Maggie's pure soul, Rafe must choose between his loyalty to a necessary task and the girl he was never supposed to love. Will his love be the very key to her eternal damnation?


My review as posted on GoodReads:

What emoticon am I looking for? Oh yeah! 8O

Wow! And another wow! I'm even more ashamed I didn't read this faster than I did! I even...liked it better...than...Opera Macabre! (There, I said it!)

Where to start? From the very first, I was hooked. I've often noticed how easily darkness pulls us in--a theme that's incidentally addressed here--and the first chapter held that allure. And it didn't let up from there. Maggie Sloane is cursed with visions of the damned, forced to witness the acts that condemned them to hell. She also sees the ship that ferries them there, the Devil's Galley. And these details are enough to incite the interest of Rafe, a fallen angel and captain of the Galley. Unfortunately, it also attracts Rafe's fallen angel brother Azrael and Lucifer himself.

As is typical with Ms. Rodriguez's work, I found myself laughing, crying, pondering, hopping up and down where I sat, and shouting four-letter words on occasion. I need to find a new analogy, as I use this one every time: It was a roller coaster ride! I can't rave enough about it, but I feel I'll give it away if I say too much!

One scene in particular that stands out for me is Maggie and Rafe aboard the Galley, playing chess and talking about hell and damnation and free will. Apart from the idea of playing chess with an honest-to-goodness angel (fallen or otherwise), Ms. Rodriguez sparks some food for interesting conversation with her observations. Yet the topic of damnation is countered by the focus on redemption and salvation, and the book fairly shines with it. The image of the lighthouse as an object and a symbol adds resonance, and the idea of guiding lost souls home--be it to heaven or hell--gives it another dimension.

You'd never be able to tell by my raving, but I'm speechless at it all.

And what's this? Volume one of the Angel and Demon Chronicles? As in more to come? Egads, I can't wait!

Your humble book nerd,

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