January 16, 2011

Review: The Fallen: Raziel by Kristina Douglas

The Fallen: Raziel
Author: Kristina Douglas
Publisher: Pocket Books
Series: The Fallen, Book 1
ISBN: 1439191921
Release Date: January 25, 2011
Pre-Order Information:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Borders

*Novel provided by the publisher via GalleyGrab

For more information please visit Kristina Douglas's website.

Kristina Douglas’s sexy new series introduces a realm of fallen angels and ruthless demons, where an eternal rebellion is brewing . . . and one unsuspecting woman can change the fate of the Fallen forever.

She was just an ordinary mortal . . .

“You’re dead” is so not what Allie Watson wants to hear. Unfortunately, it explains a lot. Like the dark, angelically handsome man who ferried her to this strange, hidden land. The last thing she remembers is stepping off a curb in front of a crosstown bus. Now she’s surrounded by gorgeous fallen angels with an unsettling taste for blood—and they really don’t want her around. Not exactly how she pictured heaven.

. . . until death catapulted her into a seductive world she never imagined.

Raziel is unsure why he rescued Allie from hellfire against Uriel’s orders, but she stirs in him a longing he hasn't felt in centuries. Now the Fallen are bracing for the divine wrath brought by his disobedience, and they blame Allie for the ferocious Nephilim clawing at the kingdom’s shrouded gates. Facing impossible odds at every turn, the two must work together to survive. Raziel will do anything to defend his spirited lover against the forces of darkness—because Allie may be the Fallen’s only salvation.


The Fallen: Raziel, the first installement in Kristina Douglas's The Fallen series, is a wonderful paranormal romance that has a lot of potential. Filled with romance, action, and a highly developed mythos, this novel proves to be a complex new spin on the currently popular fallen angel trope.

I must admit, that after reading the first chapter I was utterly hooked. Douglas's writing style is so wonderfully descriptive it set the scene of Allie's demise with such cinematography that I could literally see it unfolding in my mind. Though, at the beginning, I must admit that I was quite hesitant about the altering first person point of views switching between Raziel and Allie, but the execution was perfectly done. Instead of being confusing, the voice of the characters blending beyond the point of recognition, I was pleased to find that the voices instead were quite distinct and that each characters' perspective offered a differing and enlightening insight into the situation. In truth, Douglas's ability to delve inside the minds of her characters and give the reader the sensation of actually tagging along within their thoughts was a unique and enjoyable experience. The seemingly random flow of thoughts and feelings offered up so many ways in which to entangle the readers in the world of Sheol and the battle between the Fallen and the Nephilim. These conflicting POV's also served wonderfully in building the hesitant, unwanted connection between the two characters, developing it in such a way that the simmering connection was an endearing cause for suspense and drama.

The characters themselves were extremely interesting. Allie is a strong and very determined woman use to being in control of her life and adapting to any situation. The fact that she is drawn into a situation prophesied by her zealot mother, only adding to her anger and outrage at being held prisoner in a situation she barely understands with creatures she thought couldn't possibly exist. She's truly a firecracker though with her snarky need to antagonize Raziel, it definitely created an amusing 'survival' tactic that I often had to smirk at.  Raziel too was an extremely interesting character; his insight into the history of the Fallen and how they came to be cast from above was enthralling. The altered perception of Lucifer as a hope rather then the ruler of the Underworld was a nice twist of pre-established belief that I can't wait to see further explored. However, while his past may be a point of interest the stoic demeanor he tries to wrap around himself leaves him a bit cold throughout the novel. He spends most of his time brooding and fighting his connection to Allie interested in....well, not much. He mainly occupies his time by searching for the Morning Star as a means of overthrowing Uriel, and ferrying souls to the Otherside. And brooding...did I mention that? But, despite his lack of emotions, I found him to be quite a complex character. Beneath the veneer he tries desperately to clutch at his emotions are still extremely evident in his actions, whether he chooses to accept it or not. In fact, the pairing of these two polar opposites added a lovely friction to the tale, sparking life into an otherwise lifeless Raziel and giving a place to belong to Allie who never really fit anywhere in life.

The complex new mythos that Douglas created for this novel helped to round out the wonderfully developed world to perfection. The vampiric attributes to the Fallen and the zombie like need of the Nephilim added a wonderful twist that was unusual and enjoyable. I was also quite entranced by the settings that the author conjured for Sheol, the simple atmosphere wonderfully detailed and articulated. The sense of being shrouded in mist in a place within the world but seperate from it was perfectly realized.

Yet, while I liked the novel there was still so much about it fell a little flat for me starting with Uriel. He's a mysterious enemy that never really shows up, the stories of his wrath and hatred of pretty much all things never really adding up to much else besides just that, stories. His plans for the Fallen and Allie are very ambiguous throughout, the question of if he actually knew Allie was Raziel's intended mate is up for debate. Like so much else, the actual depth of his involvement in her being assigned to Raziel to be disposed of and Raziel's realization that Uriel was harshly condemning souls to Hell, it just all leaves a lot of questions that were never answered. Personally, I like my villians to actually be present in the novel. But, instead we get a zealot minion to wreak his havoc for him...and as far as villains went, this novel definitely lacked in that department as well. In truth, I was a little disappointed when the story finally climaxed to reveal the traitor because it was so anti-climatic. The battle to defeat the traitor a half hearted attempt on both the side of good and evil. (I really don't want to spoil the novel, so I'll leave it at that.) My other issue was that after Raziel finally came to accept his bond with Allie, he was still so distant. The emotional quality, in both of them really, seemed to lack despite the obvious connection. As far as romance novels go, I definitely like to see my hero and my heroine have a little more passion in them. The somewhat blasé attitudes were a little off putting.

In the end, this was definitely a good start to a new series that holds a lot of potential for future novels. And it definitely offered up a little bit of everything one could want in a novel: romance, epic battles, and a huge freaking cliff hanger that makes you want to scream. And really, what more is there?

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Scars

Advisory: Some Sexual Content


Ing said...

So jealous right now! :) Can't wait to read this book. Sounds good. I really like her writing as Anne Stuart so I knew this series as Kristina would be promising!

Wenj said...

I really enjoyed it, her writing style definitely makes me want to try some of her other work and this series definitely has a lot of potential for later novels. I can't wait to see what happens next! (The cliff hanger is definitely killing me!) LOL