Sunday, October 2, 2011

Review: Angel Arias by Marianne De Pierres


Angel Arias
by Marianne De Pierres

Series: Night Creatures (#2)
Pages: 270
Publisher: Random House Australia
Published: October 3rd, 2011
IBSN: 9781742751016

Retra - now called Naif - has escaped from Ixion, the island of ever-night. She doesn't know if her friends on the island survived the battle between the Ripers and the rebels. But she does know that she must return home, behind the sealed walls of Grave, to find out why the Ripers have been seen there talking to the councillors. What links the two worlds? 
First she must convince Ruzalia to help her. The fierce pirate captain saves those who face terrible fates on Ixion, but that doesn't guarantee their gratitude. Instead, she faces a revolt - and Naif is caught in the middle.

Naif will need all her courage to survive. For Lenoir, who wants to keep her safe, for her friends Suki and Rollo, if they live, for Markes, who has secrets of his own, and for the new friends she will make on this journey.

The fate of worlds depends on it.

Naif, as Retra is rechristened in Burn Bright, needs to return to Grave, her first home. Soon after arriving in Ixion, she became entangled in the underground mysteries and evils of the place full of those in pursuit of pleasure. Through revisiting her past, she hopes to save her future.

The second book in the Night Creatures trilogy holds onto what was so intoxicating about Burn Bright: the atmosphere. It perhaps even enhances it. It  furthers the overall trilogy's plot arc but still presents its own storyline. The characters continue to develop, and new ones are introduced. Angel Arias pulls off The Middle Book perfectly.

The setting was expertly created with an inherent gothic mood to it. I wouldn't call it dystopian, but more fantasy. Just not the kind of fantasy realm you'd want to be caught in. Marianne created an atmospheric world, creepy and

The plot was engaging in its unpredictable nature. The world and people presented in the Night Creatures series are so foreign to us that it's difficult at best to see what's coming. I also found myself pausing to admire the way Marianne didn't shy away from the difficult elements necessary for the terrifying setting. She had the courage to push her characters to the limit as well, which only furthered her brilliant characterisation.

Even through third person narrative, Naif doesn't feel too distant from us. She's often conflicted and develops and changes so much, but her personality is still captured clearly in the narrative voice. The perspective switches very occasionally to other characters not present with Naif, and though these interludes give insight into what's happening elsewhere, they feel like an awkward blip in the smooth storytelling.

The conclusion felt hard-earned by our characters, and wound down in perfect place to rest between adventures. I was definitely more satisfied by the conclusion than I was for Burn Bright, this time ending in a slightly calmer state. Without a cliffhanger, and I'm even more eager for the next installment.

Burn Bright was a chilling and twisting tale of a world fallen into almost unimaginable decay and strong characters working to pick it back up again. Atmospheric and intoxicating, I recommend it for fans of darker paranormals and dystopias.

I give Angel Arias a 4 out of 5.

P.S. I know there are a lot of international guys curious about this series. You can like the Publish Burn Bright Worldwide Facebook page and join the campaign to see it reach shelves near you.