RITA Reader Challenge Review

RITA Reader Challenge: Angel in Chains by Cynthia Eden


Title: Angel in Chains
Author: Cynthia Eden
Publication Info: Kensington 2012
ISBN: 9780758267634
Genre: Paranormal

Book Angel in Chains This RITA® Reader Challenge 2013 review was written by Allie. This story was nominated for the RITA® in the Paranormal Romance category.

The summary:     

As a fallen Angel of Death, Azrael is cursed to walk the earth alone in search of redemption. One night, as he wanders the streets of New Orleans, he discovers a woman surrounded by panther shifters. No longer able to contain the anger simmering within, Az summons his dark powers and attacks, determined to protect this innocent human from certain death.

Only Jade Pierce is no delicate flower. She's spent years learning to survive and fight the evil forces sent by her ex-lover who refuses to let her go. But after seeing Az in action, she figures she could use a little supernatural help. And so she plans a course of seduction guaranteed to arouse his interest and his angelic passions…

And here is Allie's review:

When I started this book, I was nearly certain I was going to hate it.  The leads, Jade and Az, seemed like characters I’d seen a million times and not ones I was overly fond of.  Az, or Azrael, is a fallen angel of death, able kill with a touch, alongside other magical goodies.  Cold and stoic, in the usual romance hero way, he didn’t seem to have all that much more going for him.  Even within his own story, he appeared to have a virtual clone, his brother, Sam.

And Jade…where do I even start with Jade…A human who’d gotten herself involved in some bad business of the supernatural variety, she’s decided Az is her way out.  If only she could stand by that decision.  One second she’s determined to manipulate Az, the next she’s decided to be a good person and let him go.  Her indecisiveness made her perspective a chore to get through.  Not helping matters was her and Az’s strong case of mutual insta-lust, with appropriate side helpings of angst.

The villain wasn’t much better.  Brandt, a werepanther Alpha and Jade’s ex, is violent and cruel and, of course, obsessed with Jade.  He has few distinguishing features beyond that, initially seeming a tired and flat villain.

But, as the book went on, he grew on me.  Eden nicely worked in a subtle backstory that, while not redeeming him or excusing what he’d done, turned Brandt from a caricature into an interesting character, whose obsession with Jade sprung not only from lust, but from deeper, older emotions and a debt unpaid.  I particularly enjoyed (possible spoiler) the twisted version of “Mating”.  Brandt believed Jade was his mate, and acted on all the accompanying possessive and jealous urges.  But, as Jade didn’t reciprocate, this wasn’t romantic but was dangerous, destructive behavior.

They all grew on me, actually.  Jade stopped waffling, Az…stayed Az but once Sam was out of the picture and the rest of the story started shaping up, I was actually okay with him.  He wasn’t my favorite, but he served his purpose.  Jade actually turned into kind of a bad-ass, both through her own character development and through revelations about what exactly it was she’d done to get Brandt on her tail.  The build-up for that revelation was, in my opinion, a bit overdone, but the revelation itself massively upped my respect for Jade as a character. (Spoiler: Turns out, she killed Brandt’s abusive father, who left him with scars all over his body, in spite of Shifter healing abilities.  Brandt’s after her as much because of this as out of love, as he feels he owes her a debt for freeing her and genuinely believes his actions are helping her.  His distorted perspective is somewhat ham-handed, but enjoyable, nevertheless.)

And then there was the plot.  While the characters of this book struggled to stand on their own, I couldn’t put the story down once the plot kicked into gear.  Fast moving, intriguing, with just enough little surprises to hold my interest, the intricacy of the conflict, extending beyond merely Jade’s attempts to escape Brandt’s clutches, surprised me.  I had to know what happened next.  And, with the plot, came some truly interesting secondary characters, particularly Matteo, a half-demon Witch who, with his mixture of mysticism and cynicism, was a nice little touch to the story.  It also brought the necessary cameo of a past couple, namely Sam and his heroine, but it was fairly well done and, once Sam was drawn into the plot, his similarities to Az went from grating to barely noticeable.  I won’t go into too many details on the main storyline, as it’s best to read as it unfolds, but it’s a good one.

The ending was intense, as fit the plot, but I won’t write too much about it, as it’s better read without knowing what’s coming.  Nothing entirely innovative, but still has enough of a surprise to well worth the read.

On the whole, I had mixed feelings about this book.  It started off slow, and I never truly fell in love with any of the characters, but it had its moments and really picked up momentum as it went.  I would, I think, recommend Angel in Chains to fans of paranormal romance, with the caveat that you have to push through a few chapters of stupidity and angst before you hit the juicy plot.  I never really bought the romance, I have to say, as Az and Jade seemed to be brought together by hormones and werepanthers rather than mutual understanding and love.  I think Angel in Chains would have made for a stronger Urban Fantasy novel than paranormal romance, but that may just be a matter of preferences.

Overall Grade: B (A- for the plot, C for the romance).

 This book is available from Goodreads | Amazon | BN | Kobo | iBooks | All Romance eBooks.

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  1. 1
    Sanbai says:

    Hah, do all angels prowl rooftops wearing only jeans while searching for young women menaced by were-panthers…?

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