Where in the universe can you find an angel with a potty mouth and a devil with a heart of gold? Why, in Crushed Seraphim
, of course! Debra Anastasia has created cheeky, clever characters in her debut novel, and the unusual cast kept me thoroughly entertained. The writing is smooth and captivating, particularly when Debra writes the character of Jack, aka the devil. Jack forever sucks on a lit cigarette, its smoke swirling around him as he jokes about cigarettes killing him one day, his motorcycle boots and leather jacket showing off his hot, muscled bod. Sizzling.
This novel is wonderful, but at times it felt a bit uneven to me. There are so many parts that I loved (which I’ll list here) and a few aspects I didn’t enjoy as much. Here are my favorite elements of the story (along with noteworthy quotes):
*the location of the gateway to Hell
*angel Emma’s description of how depression feels in the devil’s sordid hallway of torture
*Emma’s food source when she gets changed (mirrored in her shiny green eyes hee hee)
*calling purgatory hell’s “waiting room”
*the devil’s lone hand reaching up out of the soil, begging for Emma to free him
*Jason’s speech to Emma at the end
My favorite quotes (page numbers from my Nook):
“Her wing was a tightly knit gossamer web. Feathers the consistency of hope shimmered . . . A single slice, welted with melted silver, lined her shoulder where another symmetrical wing should have been. Gentle drops of liquid metal pooled in the snow, solidifying into a small mirror.” (p.16) (Fantastic visuals of angels).
When faced with a massive, snarling dragon, Emma doesn’t reach for a knight or a sword. Instead, she uses more powerful weapons: her love and forgiveness. “But I know better. I know even if you kill me, God loves me. He’ll never leave me. I have hope. And I believe.” (p. 114)
Emma’s advice: “Your heart is your compass. It will always tell you about someone’s true nature.” (p. 159)
Jack cracks me up. “The last time he’d busted a pause button there had been a legal hearing in Heavenly Court. Those righteous types were such
sticklers for the rules.” (p. 179)
Everett is deliciously evil. “He nodded when the bloodcurdling noise began again. Everett pretended to hold a conductor’s baton as she hit a particularly excruciating high note.” (p. 202)
Wow! A lot of fun. Yet there were parts I didn’t like as much:
*The presence of vampires. While I found the lore of their creation interesting, my personal opinion is that vampires don’t really fit well in a story about heaven and hell. It does seem the “half-breeds” will have a large role in the sequel though. I have to say I’m not a huge paranormal fan so other readers may really love Jason and his family.
*The direction of the story confused me at times. Freeing God from hell seems like the main thrust of the plot but after a big battle it’s almost like another story begins.
*Emma going from Jason to Jack and back again was jarring for me. I wanted more understanding of her attraction and decision-making. We know she’s impulsive but I didn’t get a good sense of why she’d choose one over the other.
In the balance of things, these are minor points. Overall it's a fresh, enjoyable story that I highly recommend. Bravo, Debra!