Iron Angel

Iron Angel

Book - 2008
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In this stunning follow-up to his epic fantasy debut, Alan Campbell propels readers into a captivating city battling for its own survival--and that of humankind--in a world of deities and demons, fallen angels and killers.

After a destructive battle, the ancient swaying city of Deepgate has been overtaken. Most of the chains that suspend it have given way, toxic fumes are emanating from blazing structures, and the temple once inhabited by the ruling Presbyter now dangles upside down above the once-uncharted abyss. The victorious Spine have initiated martial law and are ruthlessly pursuing all who attempt to leave. Amid the turmoil, two captives are returned.

Arriving by ship are the young angel Dill, now toughened by war, and traitor assassin Rachel Hael. Incarcerated in the slowly crumbling temple, the two await their fate, while from the abyss beneath them ghosts rise--for the death of the god Ulcis has left open the gates to Hell.

But on orders from his divine brethren, Cospinol, the god of brine and fog, is traveling the world to Deepgate to seal this breach. His great skyship is being dragged through the air by the giant John Anchor, a monster of a man enslaved to pull the god's vessel, moving slowly, inevitably, toward the city.

As the city waits, teetering on the brink, myriad plans for vengeance are set in motion, from the continent of Pandemeria to Heaven itself. Among them is a ghostly archon sent to deliver a message to the gods on earth--using Dill as his vessel. Thrust from his body, Dill's own soul returns to Hell. When Dill and Rachel are attacked by Spine assassins, Rachel has no choice but to try to escape with the creature that calls itself Dill…and to somehow find a way to restore her friend's soul before it's too late. For powerful forces are stirring, and in the coming battle between gods, it is the world of men that is at stake.
Publisher: New York : Bantam Spectra, 2008
ISBN: 9780553384178
Branch Call Number: FAN Camp
Characteristics: 400 p. ; 24 cm


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Dec 24, 2016

This novel combines elements of high fantasy, steam punk, and body horror.

What Alan Campbell does well is world building. While Scar Night (the first novel in the series) mainly focuses on Deepgate (this big city suspended over a big pit), Iron Angel really fleshes out the world around Deepgate while also briefly returning and describing the aftermath of the events of Scar Night. It covers the nearby: dessert, town, and chemical waste forest. It covers some faraway countries. And (possible spoiler ahead) about 1/3rd of the novel takes place in hell.

Campbell is a bit hit-and-miss in other regards. While some of the characters I found very interesting, others felt very flat/bland. Some of the combat scenes are very well done, while others didn't really read well. I think my main issue with this book is the pacing. It has some notable lulls, often feels choppy, and overall doesn't flow that great - but this doesn't make it unreadable.

Contains some swearing, but not a lot and most of the time it's reasonable within the context. Also contains a lot of blood (like whole rivers of blood).

If you like assassins, angels (non biblical), demons (non biblical), giant steam punk style automatons, Gods who are sort-of mortal, just rich vividly described fantasy environments in general, and are looking for a fantasy novel that isn't about wizards, elves and unicorns - you'll probably like this series. I would recommend reading Scar Night before reading this one. But despite the fact that there are references to Scar Night, Iron Angel's plot is separate enough to be read as a stand alone novel. So you don't have to read Scar Night to understand what's going on.

Dec 17, 2009

I enjoyed this book.

The overall idea was interesting, and seemed to bubble along reasonably well, until the second half, WHEN THERE WAS SUDDENLY A STEAM-PUNK ZOMBIE WORLD HELL. Boom. Just like that. Out of nowhere. It was fantastic.

The writing is good, but the notion of a hell that is built out of souls, and that those souls suffer because of others was neat to read about. One of the more imaginative fantasy books I've read in a while.

Pity the third book in the series didn't live up to the quality of the previous two.

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