Wednesday, February 07, 2007

If Angels Burn; Lynn Viehl

Written by Lynn Viehl and published by Signet in 2005, If Angels Burn seems to me more urban fantasy with strong romantic elements as opposed to paranormal romance. Whichever label you hang on it, whatever subgenre you care to place in in, I really love it.

Scotchopping across the eastern US, IAB pairs an emotionally wounded & prickly plastic surgeon heroine with a 700 year old Darkyn Suzerain (a leader of a group of Darkyn) in New Orleans. Alexandra Keller must literally remake Michael Cyprien in to the man he once was. Michael resorts to kidnapping her to force her into operating on him.

Never once does Ms. Viehl, whose blog can be found here, insult the readers intelligence by waving her magic wand and erasing Alex's intelligence or suddenly making Alex succumb to the magic of Michael's l'attrait (the scent that marks all Darkyn, unique to each individual) or, worse, wiping her personality blank as soon as they have sex.

Michael isn't used to human women except as er.. mobile blood banks or as easy to control sexual partners. When Alex enters his life permanently, Michael seems as much confused by this new & different relationship as Alex wonders what in the hell is happening to her. Luckily, Philippe, a member of Michael's jardin in New Orleans convinces Michael to give Alexandra some space & time & eventually Michael & Alex come to an understanding.

Now, by preference I'm leaving alot of things out. Alex's brother is a weirded out Roman Catholic priest who has some serious sexual & psychiatric perversions. The Catholic Church, like many old bureaucratic institutions, is full of odd perversions & hides many old & venal sins. I was a little uncomfortable with this, but the Church as enemy works under Ms. Viehl's pen. I wish more attention had been paid to Alex and Michael's relationship, specifically, I wish he'd courted her more. This is marked as paranormal romance so I expected it to be heavier on the romance side than it was. One other quibble, the scene at the small church near the end wraps up a few too many loose ends in a neat bow- a few loose ends would have added to the sense of foreboding.

Overall If Angels Burn is tightly plotted, with a modern heroine I feel is realistically drawn, a Darkyn any red blooded woman would like to meet in a New Orleans cemetary and an evil menace worthy of late night shivers.


Holly said...

I've heard a lot about LV, but I haven't read anything by her yet.

I really need to stop visiting your blog, because every time I do I add another book to my Wish List.

I'll be broke! ;)

Good review.

Bookwormom said...

Hi Holly! Thanks for the input.

I know what you mean about going broke on books, though. Our library doesn't buy many romances & I don't have enough willpower to stick to a book budget.

Tara Marie said...

Amanda, this is one of my favorite series, it barely qualifies as romance but the stories are different, leaning much more toward the dark side of paranormal romance. And you're spot on about the church, I'm getting used to it being a villain in books, in this series Ms. Viehl makes it work, in others not so much.

Bookwormom said...

Hi Tara- I'd remembered that you'd read this this too, but I didn't look up your thoughts before writing this. I oughta come see what you thought too.