Review Blog

Oct 11 2011

Angel Arias by Marianne de Pierres

cover image

Random House, 2011, ISBN 978 1 74275 101 6.
(Age: Upper secondary) Highly recommended. In this, the second book in the Night Creature series, Naif (formerly known as Retra) has escaped death on the party island of Ixion. She was rescued by the pirate Ruzalia, but wouldn't have survived Ixion without the help of the mysterious, beautiful but sinister 'Riper' Lenoir, to whom she was bonded.
Whilst on Ixion, Naif learnt that the young people (and only young people are allowed on Ixion), had escaped the extreme conservatism of their previous homes, only to have their life-span cut short. It is the unknowing price they pay for the music, colour and freedom of Ixion (burn bright - die young). She discovered a connection between the Ripers (the rulers of Ixion) and the Elders of Grave, her homeland.
To unravel the threads that bind the two supposed enemies, and in the hope of reversing the process that causes the untimely death of all the young 'badged' people on Ixion, she convinces Ruzalia to help her return to Grave
She therefore finds herself in the very place that she took such pains to escape. But what she finds there will overturn all her long held and imposed beliefs.
This is a very good read, full of intriguing and strange characters, with betrayal and danger always just around the corner. Fast paced, original and with a slightly steam-punk feel (in the form of airships, carriages that walk on legs and abandoned underground cities). There is a real sense of the oppressive, religiously fundamental society from which Naif comes; the controlling Elders and the menacing Wardens with their ferocious hounds. Naif is a wonderful, engaging character; strong, loyal, determined and selfless. Despite her restrictive upbringing, and the very real and terrible dangers she faces, Naif does not allow her resolve to save her friends weaken. She is not without her flaws, as she struggles to reconcile her feelings for the seductive Lenoir and to overcome her fears and prejudices.
This book doesn't have the drug use and sexual undertones of the first in the series, but I would still only recommended it for upper secondary.
Alicia Papp

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