Howdy, howdy! How’s everyone doing on this last Wednesday of August? Are you ready for all things spiced pumpkin? I’m not, but according to people who are into that, it’s already happening. Coffee, donuts, beer. Enjoy! I’m just going to sit here and wait for all things peppermint to start happening. But, enough about that. It’s book review time! This month, I decided to go with another fantasy in the hopes of having a better experience than last month. Evangeline’s Heaven by Jen Braaksma was released from SparkPress yesterday (the 30th). As usual, I must thank them and NetGalley for giving me access to an ARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Let’s get to it!
Evangeline’s Heaven is basically a retelling of the fall of Lucifer from his daughter’s perspective. Throw in a little Romeo and Juliet romance arc and you’ve got the story. War between the Commoners (fought for by the Dragons) and Dominions (fought for by the Archangels) rock the Seven Heavens. Evangeline (a mixed blood angel who happens to be the daughter of the leader of the Dragons) wants to save her father’s life, but makes some unsettling discoveries along the way. She’s forced to team up with Michael, the son of the leader of the Archangels in order to save the Heavens from more chaos. But things just keep getting more complicated.
I’ll be honest with you… I was hoping for something more like Angel Sanctuary and less of a thinly veiled ‘eat the rich’ rant that randomly waffles between God sucks and God is great and settles somewhere around God might be okay. C’mon. Do better. I don’t mind a story with the moral of ‘the upper class is horrible and needs to realize the lower class are people who deserve rights too.’ But don’t force it down my throat repeatedly on every page. Let it unfold naturally in the story. Otherwise, especially in a story about angels and shit, it feels super preachy. No one wants that. And I know. You’re judging me right now and assuming I’m a heartless asshat just because I get annoyed when writers don’t know how to be subtle. I assure you that I’m not. I completely agree with the message. It’s the method of how to get that message across that I disagree with. This book is basically the equivalent of shouting down at someone until they play dead just to get you to shut up. That doesn’t work when trying to persuade people to think your way. It just isn’t a healthy form of communication.
Aside from that, I wanted more from the characters. We’re constantly with Evangeline who is super whiny and annoying. Now, I don’t have to like the main character in order to like a story as long as I like the side characters. The problem here is that all of the characters are flat and beyond stereotypical. Lucifer is suave and manipulative and hiding dark deeds and desires. But he loves his daughter. But, does he really? The couple of times he shows this love could also just be him manipulating her for future plans. And then there’s Michael. He’s just a lovesick teenager, really. There’s nothing special about him. The few other characters we get to meet are just filling their role. They don’t have any personality. It’s sad.
The plot had potential, but it needed a little more thought. Some things were great, like the key/book thing, but a lot of it felt rushed and random. It definitely seemed like it was written by a pantser (someone who writes without plotting things out first) who didn’t bother to go back and smooth out certain details. I’m a pantser. It happens. And maybe this was completely plotted. I have no idea. It’s just a feeling I get.
Ultimately, in case you didn’t pick up on it, I did not like Evangeline’s Heaven. I was hoping for so much more, but it fell flat. Oh well.
Overall, I gave it 2 out of 5 stars. Mostly because I can’t do one and a half on most sites. If you’re super into the fall of Lucifer stories, check it out. I guess. But you’re not missing anything by giving it a pass.