Series: FALLEN ANGELS
Plot Type: SMR
Ratings: V4, S4-5, H2
Publisher and Titles:
BOOK 4: Rapture
This book could be titled "Redemption" because it brings back Matthias, who made a terribly wrong decision in a previous book, but is now being given a chance to redeem himself. In the opening scene, Matthias wakes up naked on Jim Heron's grave with only fragmented memories of his past. As he leaves the cemetery, he stumbles into the path of a car driven by Melissa ("Mels") Carmichael, a newspaper reporter. The plot follows the development of their romance as Matthias gradually remembers the awful things that he has done throughout his life, and Mels struggles with her suspicions that Matthias may not be the good man she wants him to be.
In the meantime, Jim and, especially, Adrian are grappling with their emotions after the loss of Eddie Blackhawk. They have to learn how to control their animosity toward each other without Eddie's help, and they struggle with that every day. We learn a great deal more about the secretive and vicious XOps organization for which Jim and Matthias worked as assassins. We also get some insights into the childhood experiences that shaped Matthias into the cold, cruel warrior that he has become. One very interesting scene gives us some astonishing new information about Jim's faithful pet, Dog, and his love for turkey subs.
Devina has a great scene in which she visits a therapist in an attempt to control her rampant OCD. We feel some sympathy for her as she works hard to curb her compulsions, but then she commits some disgustingly despicable acts and we see her as she really is. One of the most diabolical and horrific strategies Devina uses in this book is to mess with Jim's mind by playing on his yearning for Sissy, the young girl Devina has imprisoned in her well of souls.
This is another great addition to a top-notch series, with a compelling plot and well-developed lead characters. All though the book, we get more and more insight into the primary characters, particularly Matthias and Devina. Mels is a good-enough heroine—tough but vulnerable. (She's a black belt and always carries a gun. How handy is that?) Mels goes through an inner transformation as the plot moves along, working through her long-suppressed emotions about her father's tragic death and her difficult relationship with her mother.
This may be nit-picking, but there is one small authorial tic that becomes a bit annoying, and that is Ward's constant use of acronyms for various expressions (e.g., an old Toyota is a "POS car"; Jim checks the DOB on his driver's license; a waitress is a POA; Matthias checks out of the hospital AMA; Mels "wanted to I-L-Y the man"). Within four consecutive pages (425-428), all of the following acronyms are used: IT, CPU, IP, USB, ASAP, HR, and VP. Granted, most of these are familiar acronyms, but such heavy usage comes across as trying too hard to be trendy and sometimes interferes with the flow of the story.
All in all though, this was a book that I couldn't put down—always an indication of good story telling, which is what I have come to expect from J. R. Ward.
This series follows the battle between heaven and hell for the fate of the world—the ultimate battle between sin and redemption. In Covet, we learn that the great Creator has become impatient with the unending conflict between good and evil in the world and has set up a contest to settle the issue once and for all. Seven mortals will be selected, each of whom is guilty of one of the seven deadly sins (one per book). The first team to win the souls of four of the mortals will be awarded dominion over the physical world as well as Heaven and Hell.