“A dark and inviting supernatural thriller.”
A Kirkus Review of Transgression
A teenage girl learns that she’s part angel in this debut YA fantasy.
Sixteen-year-old Achaia Cohen thinks that she and her father, Shael, move around so much because he’s a writer who’s always on assignment. It’s actually because he’s one of the Nephilim—the guardian angels of God. Years ago, his charge had been U.S. Sen. Anna Connolly, as per God’s plan, but they fell in love and had a child. After a demon killed Anna, Shael traded his angelic soul to Lucifer for the chance to raise Achaia, the only human/Nephilim hybrid in existence. Now, in New York, Shael continues the difficult task of protecting his daughter, who’s unaware of her lineage, from evil forces. As demons stalk the pair, Shael enlists his angelic colleague, Naphtali, for added defense. More aid comes in the form of several Nephilim disguised as high school kids: Noland, Olivier, Yellaina, Emile, and Amelia. They help Achaia settle into school and city life while keeping their angelic superpowers (and wings) hidden. Still, Achaia feels like a hostage, as her father is always afraid for her safety. Then Shael vanishes, and Achaia must confront the truth about her background. For this series opener, Ange sculpts a heroic teen saga in the mold of X-Men comics, substituting a speedster (Olivier), a firestarter (Noland), and a language expert (Yellaina) for the latter’s mutant heroes. At one point, she appealingly nods to the supreme deity’s cultural malleability: “Today, God appeared as a tall man wearing white robes, his skin changing colors in ever-shifting hues of black, white, olive, and maple.” The imagery is often graceful, as well: “Shael sat silently, letting [Lucifer’s] words meet him like the tide on the beach.” The concept of free will weaves its way into the action-oriented plot, which also includes romance elements; Achaia’s half-human nature allows her to make decisions that her full-Nephilim cohort can’t, and following one’s heart is shown to be more important than strict adherence to heavenly mandate. Ange leaves all the pieces in place for a grander sequel.
A dark and inviting supernatural thriller.
“A spiritual YA adventure that emphasizes finding the light during dark times.“
A Kirkus Review of Penance
A teenager who’s half angel becomes Lucifer’s prey in this YA fantasy sequel.
Seventeen-year-old Achaia Cohen’s father, Shael, is a legendary Nephilim fighter who won the right to raise his daughter after her human mother died in Transgression (2017). A group of powerful Nephilim disguised as human teenagers, including Emile, Olivier, Amelia, Yellaina, and Noland, help to protect Achaia as she lives her life in New York City. Typically, Nephilim who are “soul mates” unquestioningly bond, but because Achaia is half mortal, she’s free to turn Noland, her doting bodyguard, away. One night, the pair walk the city at night hoping to untangle their unusual relationship, and demons attack them, delivering a warning to Achaia that Lucifer “is coming for you.” Later, the Nephilim Council of Elders summons the teen protectors to Rome for interviews regarding their previous adventure. Strangely, Achaia and Shael aren’t invited. One morning when Achaia’s alone, she’s abducted by Lucifer’s henchmen and wakes up in a frozen prison, where Lucifer, nicknamed “Luc,” reveals his memories as part of a plan to seduce her. Meanwhile, the Council disbands Achaia’s group of protectors, sending them to Chile and France, making a concerted hunt for Achaia seemingly impossible. Ange’s taut, well-paced sequel ratchets up the personal stakes for its main character but also pushes the planet toward annihilation; later, the United States and China begin waging what may be the war to end all wars. Early on, however, Achaia and Noland have adorably awkward moments together that will make readers invested in their potential future together. Ange effectively tilts the story toward darkness during the scene of Achaia’s savage abduction in her kitchen, with a fight that employs a frying pan and hot cooking oil as weapons. Vibrant new characters appear, such as Jude, Luc’s sympathetic son; and Veronica, a weapon-smith. Other characters perish, sharpening the novel’s grim spiritual message: “Achaia realized just how muddy grey could be, and that things were never really black and white.”
A spiritual YA adventure that emphasizes finding the light during dark times.