A YA fantasy mystery featuring angelic beings forced to face the beautiful and horrible extremes of human existence.
Mirabelle is a being of the Death Angel Class, who extracts spirits from human bodies when they die. Together with her siblings, Miette, Rain, and Adisa, she dwells on the planet Sid Moradon under the watchful eyes of her father, Bakari, and her mother, Celinda. Then the family is commanded by Supreme Orator Brysend to go through a wormhole and assume new, unexplained duties on Earth as humans. Specifically, Mirabelle will have to deal with new pressures and new dangers: baser creatures called djinn, formed from the fallen spirits of angelic apprentices, are even more of a threat here than they ever were on Sid Moradon. Not only are they organized, they may also have a traitor helping them. As a result, Mirabelle must find new allies, such as a shape-shifter named Chevey. Together, they must solve the mystery behind Mirabelle’s family’s assignment on Earth. This mystery, however, isn’t the strongest element of the narrative, as it suffers from predictability. The worldbuilding, however, is the real attraction here. Miller’s angelic beings are unique and evocative, as are the endearing and unique beings called beacons, which accompany them. Beacons are similar to familiars, and they’re ordinarily responsible for pointing the Death Angels to souls that need to be Taken. The depictions of the various angelics are similarly engaging: the Death Angels’ wings, for example, are wondrously described; the Seraphim move on feet and wings of flame; and others even have three faces. The angelics’ manner of speaking sometimes feels stilted, though, although this could be chalked up to their refined, spiritual natures.
An inventive and often inspired start to a new fantasy series.