Series: THE FALLEN
Plot Type: SMR
Ratings: V4-5; S4-5; H1-2
Publisher and Titles: Pocket
BOOK 4: Rebel
Martha was married to Thomas, a Fallen who was killed in the big Nephilim attack seven years ago (in book 1). Since then, she has lived alone in an isolated apartment, notifying the Fallen when she has a vision, but generally avoiding contact with most of Sheol's inhabitants. Martha's visions are erratic in their reliability, and the leaders of the Fallen aren't always sure whether to believe or act on what she has to say. Martha is sexually attracted to Cain, partly because she is having hot dreams about him (which he has put in her mind) and partly because she is a sex-starved and lonely woman. The relationship between Cain and Martha reminds me of a teen movie plot in which the handsome, sexy quarterback bets his buddies that he can bed the shy, chubby, president of the chess club. From beginning to end, Cain is an arrogant, sarcastic jerk who thinks of women only in terms of how quickly he can get them into bed, and Martha is a demure shrinking violet (aka doormat) who allows him manipulate her at his will, even after she realizes exactly what he is doing. Cain plans to use Martha by putting false visions in her mind, thus making her visions completely undependable and leaving Sheol's leaders with no way to anticipate future dangers. (Note: Using the definitions on the web site tvtropes.org, Martha could be categorized as a Stoic Woobie, and Cain fits the description of a Magnificent Bastard.)
As the story moves along, Cain and his co-conspirator, Metatron, continue to make and adjust their plans, but then Cain develops some feelings for Martha, so Metatron decides to take things a step further on his own. The action part of the plot mostly involves Metatron's dastardly actions, but there is also the inevitable battle at the end when Uriel and his troops attack Sheol. A secondary story line follows the final days of Allie's pregnancy.
The problem I continue to have with this series is that the "heroes" are all rude, arrogant, chauvinistic louts who treat their soon-to-be mates like dirt—right up until they marry them, at which point they become model husbands. In the case of Martha and Cain, near the end of the book, just as Martha dares to believe that Cain loves her and that they are truly mated, Cain announces to all of the Fallen that he does not believe in the mate-bond concept and that he has been using Martha as a tool—a means to carry out his own plans. Does this turn Martha off Cain? Absolutely not. She just keeps coming back for more because her lust has apparently overcome any bits of good sense she ever had. Martha is portrayed as a sex-addicted door mat who (like the typical abused woman) keeps believing that her man will change his behavior if only she can make herself more adaptable to his needs. To my mind, Cain, the dishonorable "hero," is really just a brute who treats Martha like a mindless whore, and Martha, the foolish "heroine," is nothing more than the willing object of his emotional abuse. This continuing characterization pattern spoils the series for me. It's such a shame that this inventive, well-constructed mythology is wasted on such worthless characters.
Click HERE to go to Rebel on amazon.com. If you click on the book cover at the top left of that page, you can read the first few chapters.
Book 2 picks up Azazel's story seven years after he lost his wife, Sarah, in the big Nephilim attack that ended book 1. According to an ancient prophecy, Azazel will mate with the demon, Lilith, and rule over Hell. In order to prevent that prophecy from coming true, Azazel is determined to put an end to Lilith once and for all, but not until he learns all of her secrets. Lilith has gone through numerous human corporeal identities through the ages. Currently, she is living as Rachel Fitzpatrick, a woman who believes herself to be human and who has only fleeting memories of her past. Unfortunately for Rachel, Azazel doesn't realize this when he kidnaps her. As he cruelly taunts her, sneers at her, and calls her an abomination and a whore, she has no idea what he's talking about, and you feel really sorry for her.