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Sunday, January 22, 2012

'Envy' Novel of the Fallen Angels #3 by J.R. WARD

From the BLURB:

Seven deadly sins. Seven souls to save. And a man and a woman treading the lines of danger, desire and deliverance . . .

As the son of a serial killer, homicide detective Thomas 'Veck' DelVecchio, Jr, grew up in the shadow of evil. Now, on the knife-edge between civic duty and blind retribution, he atones for the sins of his father - while fighting his inner demons.

Assigned to monitor Veck is Internal Affairs officer Sophia Reilly, whose interest in him is both professional and arousingly personal. And Veck and Sophia have another link: Jim Heron, a mysterious stranger with too many answers . . . to questions that are deadly. When Veck and Sophia are drawn into the ultimate battle between good and evil, their fallen angel saviour is the only thing that stands between them and eternal damnation.

Thomas DelVecchio Jr is a household name, for all the wrong reasons. He made headlines as a teenager, when he discovered his mother’s murdered body … she was also, consequently, his father’s thirteenth murder victim.

Thomas DelVecchio ‘Veck’ Jr could have chosen the same path as his father… he has often felt the push and pull of evil within him. Instead, he joined the police force. He may not always be the most upstanding member of society (what with a quick temper and easy lusts) but he does believe in truth and justice.

But now Veck is questioning everything he stands for. He has just found himself hovering over the bloodied body of a serial killer – but Veck can’t remember anything. No signs point to his stabbing the victim, but Veck isn’t so sure. Enter Internal Affairs officer, Sophia Reilly. She knows Veck is dangerous and lethal, but she doesn’t think he’s a cold-blooded killer either, no matter his family history suggesting otherwise.

While Veck and his new (tempting) partner, Reilly, are assigned to a new case looking for a missing girl called Cecilia ‘Sissy’ Barten, a war rages up above.

Angel Jim Heron is down by one in the battle for souls. Evil demon-bitch, Devina, isn’t playing fair and Jim doesn’t know how to bring the game back in his favour. Not even his angel buddies, Adrian and Eddie, are much help to Jim. Even worse though, he’s consumed and obsessed with saving an innocent lost soul he found in Devina’s hellish dungeon … a nineteen-year-old girl called Cecilia ‘Sissy’ Barten.

‘Envy’ is the third book in J.R. Ward’s ‘Fallen Angels’ paranormal series.

Hold the phone. Check the skies for swine, and get ready to ice-skate in the underworld … because I just read a ‘Fallen Angels’ book, and I liked it! I have made my feelings clear about the Warden’s Caldwell-based angel series, and the first two outings of ‘Covet’ and ‘Crave’ were not at all to my liking. But with ‘Envy’, I am starting to change my tune…

First up, I really loved the character of Veck. He’s an interesting conundrum –a good cop with a strong moral compass (even if it swings towards a quick temper sometimes) but who feels like he’s fooling everyone. Because Veck’s father was ‘evil’ – a serial killer who is now sitting on death row, whose last victim was Veck’s mother. Understandably, Veck is confused about his standing in the world – is he his father’s son, putting on a good show for everyone? Or does evil skip a generation? Veck’s concerns are bought to the fore when he is found standing over the bloodied body of a killer … Veck doesn’t remember attacking, and the physical evidence says he didn’t. But Veck believes, deep down, that his blood runs bad.

Veck was brilliant. I loved him – I loved his struggle and his Brother-esque attitude (more believable in this human cop than any other ‘saved soul’ we’ve met so far). And I especially loved how his battle of wills was heightened when he met Sophia Reilly – another cop who makes his blood run hot. Reilly and Veck were great, and I think part of the reason I liked them was that the focus was primarily on Veck. We learn a little about Reilly’s childhood, which was hardly idyllic, but for the most part the focus of ‘Envy’ is on Veck’s redemption (something I was thankful for after the calamity HEA of Marie-Terese in ‘Covet’). And the Warden has written some great conflict between Reilly and Veck – with her as Internal Affairs investigating Veck’s potential attack on a murder suspect. There’s enough tension within their professional life and unethical attraction that Reilly didn’t need to get bogged down in back-story. Less is more.

Of course, the battle for souls still rages. Devina is nastier than ever, and going particularly loony since becoming ‘intimate’ with Jim in ‘Crave’. Devina is sinking her claws into all the angel boys, and the consequences are dire;

“You know, Adrian, you ever get bored with being a Goody Two-shoes, you could come over to my side.”
“Because you have cookies, right.”
Those black eyes returned to his own. “And so much more.”
“Well, I’m on a diet. Sorry—but thanks for the invite.”


I have said it from the start, that Devina is one hell of a bad-guy in this series. Ironically enough, she was the only redeeming feature of both ‘Covet’ and ‘Crave’ for me – a truly terrible villain is often hard to find, but Devina fits the bill. In ‘Envy’ her crazy knows no bounds as she sets her sights on a ‘romantic’ relationship with Jim (*gag!*).

But the real stand-out storyline for me in ‘Envy’ was that of Jim and lost-soul Sissy Barten. I said I liked this in ‘Crave’, and I was over-the-moon to discover that a good portion of ‘Envy’ is focused on Jim getting side-tracked by Sissy’s missing-persons case, and saving her from Devina’s wall of the damned. I can see why some people aren’t too keen on this apparent Jim/Sissy pairing (I think it’s all but confirmed in ‘Envy’ that they are each other’s HEA) but I like it. I like that Jim and Sissy are arcing over several books, and I love their grandiose epic love story, which is in itself a battle of Good VS. Evil.

I also really liked Adrian and Eddie in ‘Envy’. In the previous two books I could pretty much take them or leave them, but in ‘Envy’ we get more of Adrian’s backstory with Devina… but more importantly, we get a better sense of what Eddie and Adrian mean to each other.

One thing that still isn’t working for me (no matter how much the Warden dresses it up with M/M) is the portrayal of heaven and the angels Nigel and Colin. Yeah. I’m still not buying heaven as being full of foppish croquet players who sit around munching on scones all day. It’s just a little … ‘meh’ for me. Unfortunately Nigel and Colin take up quite a bit of page-time in ‘Envy’, and all signs point to a recurring storyline, unfortunately.

Overall I was pleasantly (okay, shockingly) surprised by how much I enjoyed ‘Envy’. Maybe it’s that I’m going into this series with slightly lowered expectations now, but I really think the Warden is hitting her stride. I look forward to the continuing Jim/Sissy saga, and more devilish cra-cra from everyone’s favourite she-bitch, Devina.

4/5

3 comments:

  1. LOL...I was shocked too!! I really liked this one. Great romance with Veck and Ad and Eddie...le sigh!!

    I hope the next is just as good!

    (and I agree about Nigel and Colin)

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  2. wow you actually really liked! I am so surprised LOL I have yet to read Crave since I read Covet and I've been so skiddish LOL

    Glad that the series is getting better =D

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  3. Great review, I'm glad you enjoyed this one! I've not read Covet yet, I've heard mixed reviews. Thanks for this one! I'll have to check it out :)

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