– SPOILER FREE REVIEW –
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this ARC from the author for an honest review.
Title: Fallen to Grace (Celestial Downfall #1)
Author: A.J. Flowers
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Release date: December 2nd, 2016
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Azrael’s a wingless angel, and if that wasn’t bad enough, she’s the only one with a functioning conscience. Her bi-color eyes mark her as a moral hybrid, and when she breaks her enslavement to Manor Saffron by making a deal with a demon, she doesn’t expect to become Queen. She’ll have to survive her new royal magic, convince a legion of angels she’s worth fighting for, and find the breach in her Faustian deal, or risk a new master with horns.
The novel introduces an interesting world filled with winged angels, fallen angels without wings, demons, and divinities. I liked that even though demons are the ultimate villains, there are also angels and fallen angels that aren’t exactly good. There’s corruption and it’s not all black and white.
There were a lot of details regarding the hierarchy and characteristics of each angel. It took me a while to grasp how it all worked because it was a bit confusing and when I thought I got the whole mythology, something new was added. This made the book feel too much like an introduction at times. There was a lot of talk about hybrids and how girls were the only ones touched by demons, which I’m not sure how to take! But as it is the first book I’ve read that focuses on angels, I found it unique and I’d like to learn more about this whole world in book 2.
The plot itself felt almost non-existent. Azrael, our main character, has to endure a process called the Acceptance to become Queen, which is getting a tattoo with Divine Material that takes a few sessions. Because of this, the book felt repetitive. She suffered, recovered, learned about the world, and then the cycle started again. Obviously there was more than that, but looking back, that’s how the plot can be summarized and I was expecting a lot more action. Don’t get me wrong, I think the overall concept was cool and that it made sense how tough it was for Azrael, but I also think it shouldn’t have taken so long. When the book was coming to an end, things definitely started to get more interesting.
The characters were okay. Azrael was loyal and seeking justice, but also pretty naive and with a lot to learn. It was particularly great to see such a strong female friendship between her and Meretta. The Queen was very complex and Gabriel was kind, but it always makes me uncomfortable when there’s romance involving supernatural beings that hold a huge age difference. The rest of the characters I would have like to get to know more, especially the Hallowed and his apprentice.
Overall, Fallen to Grace was an introduction to a very interesting world. I would have liked more action within the plot and that the secondary characters were more explored, but now I’m curious to see what we will learn about them in the next books.