Love, catastrophe and angels at war, all in the face of Armageddon.
On her morning hike, the ground shudders beneath Kali and she witnesses spewing lava. Standing over the destruction is a man, Tiamat, whom she’d encountered a decade ago. Tiamat is a half-angel, and he and his legion, known as Nephilim, have triggered an apocalypse. Though the half-angel is responsible for the death of millions, including Kali’s beloved father, the woman is inexplicably drawn to Tiamat, such that the first third of the novel feels like a variation on Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series; the reluctant angel, a forbidden love with a human and persistent reminders of Taimat’s handsome features (expansion of his wings results in a loss of his shirt). Conversations between Kali and Tiamat become Q&A sessions as Kali questions God’s reason for the end of the world and Tiamat is frustratingly unresponsive—though his motive for saving Kali from death is clear. The romance initially overwhelms the story, with Tiamat constantly apologizing for his actions and Kali seemingly more disconcerted over the angel’s apparent rejection of her advances or attempts to comfort him than over her planet in ruin. When the two leads separate, however, the novel shifts to an adventure—Kali’s epic trek across the wasteland. She meets other survivors, acquires some talents from her time with celestial beings (augmented strength and an ability to make the apocalyptic world’s pungent water drinkable) and has a confrontation with a fallen angel, an effectual character whose villainy is proficiently depicted—casually stepping on and crushing the hand of a dying woman. The author refuses to shy away from the story’s divine components, comparing a half-angel to a TV evangelist and the same creature quoting biblical verse while mercilessly beating Kali. Perhaps most revealing is the angelic (and romantic) lead gradually becoming unreliable, as the reader learns his true name and its meaning. Kali is an unyielding protagonist, more than capable with a crossbow and whose resilience makes her the highlight of the book.
Though it begins as a byproduct of vampire romance for teens, Nevins’ novel dives into a journey befitting its laudable female protagonist—a novel that happily approaches its religious overtone with zeal and no reservations.