Synopsis: The King of Demons and the Devil’s right hand man, Asmodeus is a dark angel born of evil and created for destruction. When his master orders him to venture into the mortal world and retrieve a female for him, he seizes the chance to leave Hell for the first time, uncaring of what the Devil has planned for her… until he sets eyes on the most beautiful woman he has ever seen—a female who awakens new feelings within his black heart, unleashing passion so intense that it controls him and desire he cannot resist. He will not let his wretched master have her. She will belong to him.
Liora is a witch with a bad reputation and an obsession with fighting demons. A mission gone wrong sees her sent to Paris to cool off, but when a dark and deadly warrior with a gaze of golden fire lands in her life, she ends up burning hotter than Hell for the wicked angel. Nothing will stand between her and the immense, forbidding male. Not her cousin. Not Asmodeus’s sworn enemy and twin, Apollyon. And certainly not the Devil. Caught up in a tempest of danger and soul-searing passion, can they survive against the odds and seize their forever after? (synopsis provided by the Author)
NWW Review: To begin with let me assure all potential readers that even though it is Book 6 in the Her Angel series, it can be read as a stand-alone and still be an engaging read with fantastic adventures and minute details of Hell and Earth. Because that is where the book is taking us: from the bowels of Hell to modern day Paris and tropical islands. We see a world which is divided between three planes: Hell, Earth and Heaven. All three dimensions are filled with angels and demons fulfilling their masters’ orders. Their world is filed with servitude, constant battles, sacrifices, violent deaths and ultimate reincarnations without the knowledge of ones previous life. The plot is excellent and the presentation of the hellish dimension – visionary with detailed descriptions of various mythological creatures (angels, demons, and the devil himself), their abilities and shortcomings. The world described in the book is brutal, savage and requires strength of will, courage and charisma from anyone who wishes to survive in it.
Sadly this wonderful world and riveting storytelling are coupled with a slightly disappointing portrayal of characters most of which are too emotional, immature, and not entirely thought through. First of all we meet Asmoleus, who has been created from all that was evil in Appolyon and mixed with a dash of devil’s blood. This ordeal has been described in one of the previous books. He is Devil’s right hand man, the King of Demons, the most feared and hated creature in all of Hell and Heaven. For over a millennium he has been honed and conditioned to fight all that is good, to perceive it as a weakness and extinguish all signs of it in himself. He tortured countless beings, taunting them with their goodness, threatening their loved ones, showing them the futileness of their convictions, just to gloat when they finally succumb to despair and finally, death. And yet it takes this supposedly evil creature only a heartbeat to leave all that was him behind, join the forces of Good and battle his master. And all because of Liora. She is described as a very powerful witch who has a bad reputation in her coven for being “rebellious, vicious and a little wicked”. In other words a perfect mate for our wicked angel. Sadly we don’t see that in the book. She might be strong, but is also overly emotional and very immature in her responses which is something you would not expect from a seasoned warrior who slaughtered countless demons for fun. This clash of ‘what we are told she is like’ and ‘how she behaves’ prevented me from liking her character.
I believe what attracted me to the story in the first place was the prospect of a tormented hero being healed by the power of love, one of the all-time favourite themes in romantic fiction. Sadly, here we are almost cheated out from learning about Asmoleus’s excruciating journey to redemption. A journey which is not only difficult for the hero but requires patience, understanding, and most importantly – forgiveness, from his chosen mate. Excellent examples of that can be found in Lothaire (Kresley Cole), Lower Awakened (JR Ward), Obsidian (Laurann Dohner) or Dreams of a Dark Warrior (Kresley Cole) where the atonement is a rocky path littered with obstacles, blood vendettas and tears of the loved ones, before the heroes are allowed to have their happy ever after (HEA). In Her Wicked Angel we only learn that Liora has to get to grips with what “her wicked angel was up to in the Hell”. Asmoleus changes too quickly for one so brutal and unforgiving, for a being with such upbringing and a millennium-long history of violence. We see Asmoleus fighting with his evil side but it is all diluted somehow, perhaps to avoid shocking the Readers too much. What is also unlikely is that Asmoleus embraces human emotions in stride, emotions he had no chance of experiencing before he met Liora. All his victims in Hell were either demons or humans in the final throws of pain, misery and suffering. We learn that he observed humanity using screening ponds, but being an observer would not teach him how to feel and, most importantly, control the plethora of human emotions. And where does all that goodness in Asmoleus comes from? Was Appolyon’s dark side not so evil after all but ‘tainted’ with compassion, love and forgiveness? Or are we to assume there was some goodness in Devil on the basis of the eternal balance between good and evil?
All of the above shortcomings do not hinder the sexual heat of the book. The characters might be a bit too emotional for my comfort, but they do get a lot of bedroom time and relatively early in the book as well. But I feel I must warn all erotica/erotic romance readers out there – don’t be misguided by the word ‘wicked’. It refers more to Asmoleus’s and Liora’s previous, devious deeds, rather then their sexual preferences and appetites. Nonetheless, the sex is steamy, well-written if somewhat littered with ‘sound effects’. All that growling, grouting, moaning and gasping, often happening at the same time, is making it tad difficult to keep up with the emotional turmoil of Liora and Asmoleus’s lovemaking.
Concluding, I firmly believe that the book is a real treat if you like visionary descriptions of fantastic dimensions, engaging storytelling, and if you like your characters to be emotional and eloquent in expressing their hearts desires. And regardless of all my reservations, in the end I have enjoyed Her Wicked Angel.
For more information, please check out the Author’s website.