Rating: 4.25 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novel

 

This is the second book in Reni Stenkova’s Heaven Trilogy and the books should be read in order. This review includes spoilers for events in the first book.

Raphael was the third Prince of Heaven, a world where angels are the blonde-haired, blue-eyed top of society. Despite having superhuman powers, Demons are the lower class, subjugated for millennia, and the ability to unleash their true potential has been harnessed to maintain peace throughout the land. Raphael and Dante teamed up to kill the King of Heaven, who murdered Raphael’s mother. Raphael also engineered the arrest of his half-brother, Michael, to stop him from taking the throne. Raphael knew that his family needed to vacate the throne in order to restore rights to Demons across Heaven.

Having killed the king, Raphael and Dante escaped Heaven’s main city and have lived remotely in the mountains for years. When the Guardians finally track the fugitive Enemies of Heaven to apprehend them for execution, Raphael and Dante escape once again. They take off on a quest to find an archeological relic, the Commander, a key to the secret that Raphael’s mother was killed to protect. This transcontinental journey reunites Raphael and Dante with people from their past, who sometimes betray and sometimes assist them in discovering the secrets that the royal family has spent entire lifetimes trying to prevent being revealed. Meanwhile, Michael is plotting his freedom and his ascendance.

This is a really interesting fantasy read, with hints of dystopian futures, and best-choice-of-all-the bad-options energy. I must admit that the grammar tense changes are weird and made the book more of a struggle for me to enjoyably read. However, I’m pretty engaged with the characters, their quest, and the life or death stakes that Raphael and Dante face every day. The pacing is decent and I felt like Raphael and Dante are making significant progress on their mission to save the world–yet they’re fallible beings who make bad choices from time to time. Their foibles are interesting, as they reveal the common humanity that links them, despite being an angel-demon union. To be clear, the human races here aren’t biblical angels/demons; these classifications are based on millennia of prejudice. The demons are superhuman, to some extent, but not resulting from divine design.

I’m looking forward to the end of the series, hoping that Raphael will escape the immediate peril that he’s facing. Dante is committed to saving the world, and making it a better place, but their paths must diverge in order to realize these goals in time to stop Michael from unleashing a genocide. This book has a HUGE cliffhanger to usher in book 3, but I was already eager to read on before the final twist hit me in the gut. I definitely recommend this one for readers who really love dystopian futures and fantasy reads.