|Reviews for The Last Archangel|
| Dublinjake chapter 3 . 4/18
So, Chapter 3. Not a great deal to say here. It’s a really great chapter. Got some good action, some really great character moments with Michael and some really interesting exposition about the Archangels. Very interested to learn about the background with Raguel.
I particularly like the way you handle the action. While the fight choreography gets a little confusing and over-specific at a few points, it’s still generally well-written. I find that when it comes to action it’s better to keep it simple and leave a few gaps in the reader’s imagination. Don’t get me wrong the car chase scene and the fight with the cambion in the apartment and the very opening with the flashbang are very good. It just loses it a little in the specifics of the corridor fight. Otherwise I really like how the scene is paced, showing Nick first easily battering the team, then facing more difficulty with the cambion and gradually getting beaten down until he’s tazed. It plays up his dilemma - he’s a figure who has done such staggeringly great things but who is still routinely kicked in the balls and humiliated by the world around him.
I do have a couple of minor complaints about consistency of injuries. Primarily the fact that his ribs crack when punched too hard but he’s almost totally fine after leaping out of a window and slamming into the ground. It feels like this could be made less distracting. Not a big thing but it caught my attention.
I like the mystery of who’s attacking and why, I get the impression that Aesir are behind it - it sure as hell ain’t Chickin’Licious.
I also love the dynamic between Michael and Nick. Two people thoroughly sick of each other’s shut but still feel a sense of affection for each other. Nick’s plea of “will you?” Really is a genuinely tender moment of vulnerability.
Thinking about it this is probably the best chapter so far. 10/10
| Dublinjake chapter 2 . 4/8
So, Chapter 2: I like this one. A lot of exposition but it feels necessary and is done well, with the environment being used to prompt exposition. It’s all also linked back to his character development up to this point and helps to explain that he’s essentially a PTSD-suffering former child soldier who is undergoing a serious existential crisis of faith. So, it is really good for characterisation. Also I just feel so sorry for Nick at many points, like after the Ariel phone call, or when he remembers the candy bars excitedly, desperately, just to avoid the memories of a demonic school shooting.
Also, really like the stuff with Lucifer. He seems like a really interesting character and there’s a real sense of history to he and Nick’s dialogue. It’s a really interesting and complex identity you’ve established
| Dublinjake chapter 1 . 3/29
So, time to try and review this at long last.
Love this first chapter. What sells it primarily is probably Nick’s jaded but still likeable persona. He’s just such an immediately likeable character, and unlike some other wisecracking narrators, he’s self-deprecating and laughs at himself in a bitter, rueful sort of way. This makes even the jokes that don’t quite land feel endearing and in-character. His sense of a lack of direction is also really easy to identify with, and highlight’s the story’s hook - that it’s essentially the epilogue to a hero’s journey arc. The Christian source material is a good choice for this as in the West people will generally have an idea who these figures are, and this allows for gaps to be filled in in the reader’s mind to a certain extent, but still leaving them interested in any new information you offer that doesn’t fit that framework.
There are some nitpicks I have. For example, you use brand names a lot as shorthand. This is efficient in terms of word-count, but it gets a little distracting after a while and I feel as if these could be replaced with me interesting and enjoyable descriptions. You certainly have a real gift with phrasing. The “right to bear arms that are better than yours” line is downright genius.
I’m also not a big fan of the exposition dump on the layout of Heaven’s Brook. The prose is good, and I like the rumination on how easily the town could be consumed by nature once more. It’s good for establishing the thematic focus on a sense of directionlessness and futility without having the protagonist talk about their own anguish in an obvious and unsubtle manner. The problem is that most of it feels unnecessary and a lot is stuff we could kind of guess from the following sequence in the 7-Eleven. For example, we can tell that Southbridge is impoverished, that Southbridge is a region of the city and we can guess that there’s probs a bridge and a river in town. The mention of the lab also feels like heavy foreshadowing but I can’t say yet. It just feels like telling when you were already going to show.
However, the devil gets the single best character entrance he’s ever gotten, so everything balances out.
Overall I’d rate this first chapter 8/10
| Dr. Self Destruct chapter 8 . 1/28
Hey there! This review comes to you from the Review Game. :) DublinJake won a contest we hold there every other month and asked for you to get some feedback for your eighth chapter as his winnings. Super cool, right?
Beginning: The description of the river of Styx was a really interesting and attention-grabbing way to open the chapter. I like how we get basically the lowdown on it before the character actually arrives there - I feel like not only is it a great way to jump into the chapter, but it also serves a purpose in effectively getting across the appearance and tone of the setting itself in an entertaining way. You also use descriptions that make it easy to picture without overloading us with too much. Personally, I'm the kind of reader who likes a modest amount of description so that I can fill in the rest myself, so I think that kind of reader will really enjoy this opening in general.
Voice: I particularly enjoy the voice of the main character, Nicholas. When an author narrates from a first-person perspective, the voice is extremely important, and Nicholas narrates with a vocabulary/slang that I think perfectly reflects his personality. The snippets of inner dialogue we get from him are comical and definitely sound like something that would come from a person his age. I especially liked when he tried to fistbump the angels and they just stared at him, lol. I have a soft spot for socially awkward characters who fall into some type of crazy supernatural power or destiny. Probably because I see myself in them, and that kind of humanizing makes them easy to relate to despite the fantastical circumstances.
Writing: As I touched on before, I enjoy the amount of description you provide. You're also very good at showing instead of telling, like when Azrael's grip on his scythe tightens or when Nicholas considers changing his mind and flying his ass out of there. You don't' just say "he was angry" or "I was scared" - you show us their emotions in an effective and sometimes hilarious way. It makes the writing itself more immersive, as well as provides some vivid visuals in the reader's mind.
Enjoyment: So, I'm really into this genre and I actually write in it myself. You know, that whole urban fantasy / supernatural scene where the world is populated by angels, demons, and other immortal beasties. So I really enjoyed this chapter! Plus Nicholas is pretty hilarious, and I always enjoy sarcasm or snark in my narrators. I know I'm coming into this pretty late into the story, but I think you have a really entertaining novel here and I enjoyed what I've read despite having not read the rest. I think that says a lot when someone can jump into the middle of a story and still enjoy what they're reading. I also think your story stands out from others in this genre because of the narrator - too often these books take themselves way too seriously and it just dulls the tone into snoozeville. But you don't have that problem, thanks to Nicholas' ability to turn everything into a joke even though he might be about to have his ass whooped.
Thanks for the read, and good luck with your future chapters! :)