REVIEW: Warrior Angel by Margaret and Lizz Weis
Dear Mses Weiss:
When I first saw the promo that Margaret Weiss of the fantasy Weiss fame was going to be authoring a paranormal romance, I was quite excited. Sometimes paranormal romances are heavy on the romance but weak on the worldbuilding. Thus would not be the case with an author whose entire career has been made in the fantasy genre. Alas, either someone told you that romance readers are dumber than dirt or that is the understanding that you came to after gazing at too many covers filled with heaving bosoms and bare chests. I want you to know that you shouldn’t judge readers by the covers of the books that we read.
Derek de Molay is a Templar Knight who was tortured mercilessly in the Inquisition. When he passed over, he was given the opportunity to enter Paradise but had to repent of the sin of pride. Angered over this, Derek turns away and becomes a warrior angel, fighting demons in Purgatory. Derek doesn’t believe he’s a sanctimonious prick, but with passages like this, there can be only one conclusion:
Derek saw some of his comrades wilt at merely the thought of torture and eagerly confess to terrible crimes in order to save their own skins.
Now Derek is being sent to earth to monitor the activites of Rachel Duncan, a commodities trader with the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Rachel is supposed to be a whip smart, savvy, woman who spends her days jostling for trade space. One day she never leaves the house for the Merc unless she looks like she steps off the pages of Vogue. The next, “She let herself go during the week because a manicure was too easily ruined in the pit.” As the story goes on, Rachel acts inconsistently with the presented characterization as she becomes more and more incapable of making any decision and is shown only to require constant rescue. Good thing Knight Derek is around.
Rachel is dating her rich and mysterious client, Andreas Zanus. It’s okay in her mind so long as she doesn’t sleep with him. When he whisks her off to Bangkok and Paris for dinners and weekends, she feels uneasy as much as she delights in it. She’s not sure whether Zanus is doing this just because he likes her or because he wants to sleep with her. Hmm, I just can’t figure that one out.
Part of the book reads like a school paper on the CBT.
The Merc was an impressive building located in the heart of Chicago, Rachel spent most of her time in the upper echelons of the pits. The pits were just that: sunken arena-type rooms where men–"and now women–"either placed trades for large financial corporations or were the in de pen-dent traders, the maverick cowboys of the Exchange. . . .She traded what was called the Paper. . .
Those had probably been around since 1898, when the Merc was the Chicago Egg and Butter Board.
Part reads like a perusal through the ads in Town and Country.
- after a night drinking champagne cocktails (the European kind, made with brandy and bitters)
- she loved all the amenities that came with a five hundred thousand dollar condo
- Her parents …were currently cruising around the world on the Queen Elizabeth 2
- quick leap through a spritzed cloud of Annick Goutal perfume.
- Stuart Weitzman pumps
- She owned her own car–"a Volkswagen Passat (you have a $500 condo and you drive a Passat, must have been a weird day for the Town and Country mag)
- her one-thousand-thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets
- his Thomas Pink shirts pressed
- Where to shop? When in doubt, a girl should wear Chanel.
- She spritzed on new perfume–"Passion by Annick Goutal
- added new earrings and a matching necklace from Tiffany & Co
(These references are in the first 4 chapters). I half expected color illustrations to appear on the pages opposite of the text. Worse, most of the book is spent with Derek and Rachel taking turns holding the Too Stupid To Live title. (TSTL). Derek often interferes with Rachel’s life, requiring another Angel to create diversions to get Derek out of trouble. Rachel sleeps with Zanus knowing that it’s wrong but can’t really say no. She’s whip smart and strong all right. Apparently the two crazy kids fall in love over a picnic after Rachel decides he isn’t crazy and Derek decides – well, he was in love with her from the moment he saw her designer clad, French manicured, Tiffany wearing, Annick Goutal smelling, European cocktail drinking person.
The tone of the book is Young Adult or even Middle Grade and most of the content is PG 13 until the lackluster but multi page sex scene in the end of the book. It brings to mind the criticism by the Washington Post of a well publicized novel:
It's hard to tell what audience the book could possibly be intended for: It's too sexed up for young adults, too juvenile for actual adults and too Encyclopedia Brown for anyone in between.
That’s how I feel about this book without the Encyclopedia Brown reference. D .
It was a limited edition Bloomingdales Volkswagen Passat by Tory Burch with matching canvas weekender. Available only in New York
So you are saying Margaret Weiss wrote a catalog with a minor plot?
Seriously what is up with all this name-dropping? Is it product placement or what?
I think that name dropping is done for two reasons – to appear hip, modern and fresh (and failing miserably) and second, it is a writer cheat. Attempting to convey an emotion or a feeling with shorthand.
You haven’t had a D review in a while; how sick is it that I’ve kind of missed them?
Contrary to some opinion, I try to pick books I’ll enjoy reading. Having said that I’ve tried any number of books recently and haven’t made it past like the third chapter. This one was tortuous, but I did drag myself through.
And, yes, you are sick.
And yet, it doesn’t bother me. Thinking about it, I think there’s often a passion in lower grade reviews that isn’t there in B and C reviews. And I’m talking generally, not about Dear Author, per se. Even a lot of A reviews I read in various places seem to lack that passion, and I’ve always sort of wondered about that. Because I love emphatic reviews. I wonder if that’s why I’m tempted more often to read a book that’s gotten a bad review than I am to read a book that’s gotten a not so bad review. Hmm, I’ll have to think about that.
Well, neither Jane nor I enjoyed this month’s book club book. But I’m with Jane, if a book looks like it’s going to make me hurl, I usually stop before that happens. Life’s just too short and my book pile too huge.
I am very grateful to a certain someone who told me to read the excerpt first because I didn’t even get to the midway point.
Your review, Jane, just means that I’ll be buying this book when hell freezes over.
The only person I can remember who did product placement without totally freaking me out was William Gibson in Pattern Recognition.
But he did it with wild products like Cayce Pollard’s Black Buzz Rickson MA-1 Bomber Jacket or her friends Apple PowerMac G4 Cube or the Curta mechanical calculator.
Then again the book was about Catce Pollard a furturistic market-research consultant with the ability to see consumer buying patterns.
Oh, yeah, I’m sure I’m an anomaly in this. I have a friend who adores reading the 1 heart reviews on TRR, but I don’t know if she ever actually contemplates reading the books. That I start to contemplate reading some of the D and F books is probably where things get really weird. But hey, I scored winners in both Pam Rosenthal’s Slightest Provocation and Smoke Thief, both of which got D- reviews on AAR and A-range grades here. Next I’m taking on Claiming the Courtesan, by Anne Campbell, which AAR’s Sandy Coleman despised.
we’ll be interested in your thoughts. Where are you posting your Campbell review?
In my fantasy review blog, ha! Seriously, if I have strong feelings about the book, it may end up as part of a column at RG (we’re not really supposed to review), but probably I’ll simply post my comments on the book at AAR, since the book isn’t out yet and already there’s a threat about it over there. I get so excited about reading those books! I already have it pre-ordered from Amazon (do the Avon books get released right away as ebooks?).
I do, too — when I first found AAR, I went through and read a bunch of D/F reviews because they were so entertaining (I’ll never forget the castrated horse, or the hero who threatened to scrub the heroine down with a corncob), and the one-heart reviews at TRR. But when there is a mention that the writing itself is good, but the book just seemed to push some buttons, I do want to read it just to see if it really is that offensive.
The two you mention, though, I bought more because of *good* reviews at other blogs and sites than out of curiosity created by the negative reviews at AAR. In both circumstances, the buzz got me to pick it up.
I’m buying the Campbell book, too — partly to see what Avon considers a new direction in historical, and now because of the widely varying opinions I’ve seen on it. That D is quite provocative.
I am getting the Campbell book, even though it’s a historical and has no vampires. I vaguely remember reading an excerpt and wanting to read more.
FWIW, sometimes a reviewer not liking a book has been a better indicator of whether I’ll like it or not than a reviewer liking a book.
Glad these worked out for you, Robin. Most people had read The Smoke Thief by the time I reviewed it, but I hope I got some folks to pick up The Slightest Provocation. Funny you should mention it, I was just at Pam Rosenthal’s website not long ago, and I saw that the publication date for her next book has been rescheduled to sometime in 2008. I’m sad that she won’t have anything out in 2007, but would rather that authors take their time and produce high quality books. If her next one is as good as TSP, I’m more than willing to wait. Not that I won’t be jonesing for it in the meantime…
[quote comment=”25109″]Well, neither Jane nor I enjoyed this month’s book club book. But I’m with Jane, if a book looks like it’s going to make me hurl, I usually stop before that happens. Life’s just too short and my book pile too huge.[/quote]
Me three. Honestly, there are a lot of books that I dump early and don’t review for Dear Author. If I don’t want to read more than 20 pages, then there’s not much point in writing even a DNF review. I can’t give our readers much information about those books.
Exactly, Meljean. If a book is giving a failing grade as simply a horrendous read all the way around, unless there is discussion about it otherwise, I will likely pass it by. But when AAR reviews Pam Rosenthal’s Slightest Provocation, for example, and characterized it as boring, etc., there were contrary opinions by readers whose tastes on books are often closer to mine, and so I picked up the book anyway. And I loved it. That’s one of the reasons I love that people do take the time — when they can, of course — to review the books they disliked, because sometimes those books are the most polarizing. And heck, I’ve read a few A graded books I hated with a burning passion, so it works backwards, too.
when i first read this book i thought that i had something in commin the the main chareter of the book, and now i can’t stop reading it. i just love it alot. i will tell you this much this book has brought me so much closer to god then i ever thought that i could be i my whole life.