Is there a Man Booker prize for paranormal erotica?
Because if so, Janine Ashbless just nailed it.
If you’re ever set virtual foot on my blog, you’ll know I’m a HUGE fan of Ashbless, whose passionate, imaginative, and sensual writing defies superlatives.
I’m also a huge fan of her Watchers series, which blends erotica, romance, philosophy, high adventure, and early Christian mythology.
Plus sex. Lots of sex.
To be honest, I was a bit nervous as I opened The Prison of the Angels, the final book of the Watchers series. Trilogies can be tricky, and nothing ruins a great idea like an ultra-crappy final installment. (I’m looking at you, Matrix series.) I went into this book with a few theories, a lot of hope, and a fair amount of trepidation.
If you have the same fears, allow me to put them to rest. This book delivers in every way.
And if you haven’t yet read Cover Him with Darkness, the first book in the Watchers series, then you need to seriously re-evaluate your priorities in life.
As The Prison of the Angels opens, protagonist Milja Petak is in rough shape. Her demonic lover, the fallen angel Azazel, has abandoned her, and her human lover, the Catholic priest Egan Kansky, has been swallowed up by the Vatican. Oh, and he may never walk again.
Sounds bad, right?
It gets worse.
Along the way, Ashbless serves up a healthy dose of the apocalypse and manages to solve a slew of thorny philosophical and theological dilemmas.
Is it possible to truly love two people at the same time?
Why does the God of the New Testament appear so loving while the Old Testament’s Yahweh is so wrathful?
And what the heck will happen to the rest of the imprisoned angels, including certain infamous figures from Norse mythology, now that Azazel is free?
In addition to wrapping up these loose ends (yes, even the loose ends that have dogged Christianity for two millennia), Ashbless reveals secrets about her main characters and her world that seem both revelatory and perfectly natural. Even Ashbless’s secondary characters developed a surprising level of depth and sympathy as the story took Milja around the world in a desperate attempt to prevent the End Times.
Yes, this means even the literal devil, who may have been the biggest asshole in Cover Him with Darkness, became sympathetic.
And the final resolution was both surprising and ridiculously satisfying, in a heart-breaking, crying-over-my-Kindle sort of way.
I wanted a lot of things out of this series. And I won’t say The Prison of the Angels met my ridiculously high expectations. Because, somewhere between sneaking through the Vatican’s secret chambers and skiing the mountains of Norway, The Prison of the Angels took those expectations and blew them out of the freaking water.
You can thank me later. 😉
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