angels risingRating: 4.5 stars
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Length: Novel

Uriel 3019 is suspicious of his partner Raphael’s behavior. He doesn’t think Raphael is glitching like the angel’s they are pursuing, but Raphael isn’t quite normal. When Uriel is tasked by founder Julia Michael’s to find out what’s going on, he takes the mission seriously. And when Raphael recruits him to the Sons of Samael, Uriel’s astonished, but goes along with it.

Raphael has gotten his memories back, the ones that were taken from him when he joined Heaven Corp as an angel. And now he wants one thing: for angels to be free from the Metatron and service, and to live as people. His feelings for Uriel go deep, and he recruits Uriel to help on his mission from Samael.

But nothing is as it seems. The cause of the glitching is so much more than anyone thought. Worse, the true root of the problem goes deep. Everyone is trying to save the angels and the upper levels, but only Uriel and Raphael can, as long as they align themselves with the right people. Only then can they live and love freely.

This simple explanation of the latest book in the Heaven Corp series doesn’t do justice to the story that Bridges has crafted. The world the author has created is unique and inventive, all immersive and well thought out. I am drawn in every time I read one of these books, absorbed completely in the world building. These books need to be read in order, especially this last one, as this book is a culmination of things that have been building from the first.

In the previous book, we saw Uriel and he wasn’t shown in a good light. The things he did in order to get into Ian’s mind were nothing short of despicable. But even though we saw it, it’s clear that Uriel is only following orders and in fact, has no real recognition of who he used to be. That’s what happens when one becomes an angel. The mind is wiped completely and the body is modified to be able to carry out Heaven Corps’ needs. In this book, right from the start, we see the truth of who Uriel is. He has a lot of learning and growing to do, and as he gains his memories back, he forms his own opinions of what is right and wrong and what he must do.

Of course, his feelings for Raphael help that along. Raphael has already gotten his memories back and he’s working for the greater good. He wants nothing more than for angels to be treated as people and not commodities. His earnestness is endearing and right from the start, I was all about wanting him to succeed.

I loved the relationship between Uriel and Raphael. It grew organically from their friendship and partnership and I loved the easy way they fit together. These guys were made for each other, and I loved the way the author alluded to the fatedness of them. They are stronger together than they are apart, and even though things aren’t always perfect, I truly enjoyed the realness of their relationship and the hurdles they had to overcome to get to the happy place. Bridges did a great job of balancing the external and internal conflicts and tying it all together.

So in addition to the romance, there’s a larger plot that has been building since the first book. The upper levels of Heaven, and most of the founding families, are corrupt. As they say, absolute greed corrupts absolutely. The bad guys here come in all shades, from morally gray to truly despicable. There’s redemption and justice. And even more than that, there’s a believable plot and resolution. I was turning pages quickly to see how it all came together and I think the author did a stellar job with the whole thing.

I did have a few small issues though. We get the POV from a character who is not one of the MCs, and I had a little trouble with it. While I can see why the author included them, I found it a little bit jarring and it pulled me out of the story. There were also a couple of small plot points that felt rushed to me toward the end and I would have liked to see them resolved a little better. The last fifth of the book felt a bit too speedy and I wanted to see some more explanation.

But overall, this was an outstanding addition to the series. Things wrap up here nicely, with a wee bit of room for more. I’m not sure if the author has more books planned for the series. If this is where it ends, it’s a great place. If there are more, I will happily read them. This series is unique and interesting, and if you’re a fan of dystopian societies masquerading as perfection and cybertech that’s fascinating and well thought out, then this series is for you.

A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.

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