Blood and Feathers, Lou Morgan

  • TITLE: Blood and Feathers
  • AUTHOR: Lou Morgan
  • PUBLISHER: Solaris (UK)
  • PUBLICATION DATE: 2nd August 2012

Hailed as “dark, enticing” and “wickedly funny”, Blood and Feathers is an urban fantasy hit that offers a classic war between good and evil, Heaven and Hell, described as “Alice in Wonderland goes to Hell”. Hardly standard fare for a genre that’s usually all about the darker underbelly of the world’s sprawling metropolises and the magic within. But that’s what’s so unbearably good about it; it offers something that feels new and exciting in a genre where the detectives, investigators, wizards and vampires have become a little old and tired.

Alice is a normal girl, with a normal life and a normal job—except that she isn’t, only she doesn’t know it until two angels turn up at her house and her father is killed. Alice loses everything and gains a whole new life; at least, that’s the theory of it. In practise, blending in with and adjusting to a new life as a half-angel (which isn’t really new, of course, since she’s always been a half-angel) isn’t nearly as easy as it sounds.

Alice has a job to do, but the angels around her are being sketchy about the details; all she’s told is—in great detail—about the war between Heaven and Hell, and how the ranks of the angels work. That’s all well and good, thinks Alice, but what about the fact that her entire life has been turned upside down, and now she’s being asked to waltz right into Hell and complete a task only she can. Surrounded by angels who are altogether less than angelic, Alice has to deal with her newly realised bloodline, whilst trying to fathom what’s going on behind the scenes and—most importantly—who she can trust.

Whether in Heaven or Hell or the space between, everyone has an agenda: angels are soldiers, politicians, schemers, whether they’re Descended, Earthbound or Fallen, and Alice is going to have a hard time just getting who’s who straight, let alone having to deal with Lucifer’s finest assassins on her trail.

Mallory, an Earthbound alcoholic with a tired smile, a weary leather jacket, and an exhausted gun is there to keep Alice safe. At least, he’s there to train her and guard her, watch over her, which amounts to the same thing—sort of. But he’s not much of a guardian angel and he doesn’t like to talk, so Alice, frustratingly finds out snippets of what’s she’s meant to do and who she is from the others around her. Gwyn, a Descended with a cold stare and a frosty attitude and Vin, another Earthbound with a pair of twin half-borns under his guidance. Then, of course, there are the Fallen. Hot on her trail and just dying to take her to Hell, the Fallen angels will stop at nothing to drag, lure, beg, steal or borrow Alice to their side.

But which side is the right side to choose? When Heaven isn’t all that heavenly, and Hell’s not what she expected, but offers secrets and choices she’s afraid she can’t refuse, which way will she fall? In a dark world, with dark characters and a gripping story that tugs and pulls, Alice needs to be careful, else she might Fall into the darkness forever. With Hellmouths appearing and the balance being tipped in Hell’s favour, Alice doesn’t have much time.

Gripping, witty, gorgeously written and eloquently told, Blood and Feathers is an astoundingly sharp and enjoyable read that is achingly original. The war between Heaven and Hell is brought to life within its pages and with fast pacing, moreish characters and a compelling plot it really is one Hell of a story.

You have never read anything as real and engaging within the urban fantasy genre as Blood and Feathers; it could be real—Alice could be your cousin, Mallory the guy at the bar with the drink in his hand and the memories at his feet. It’s vivid and captures the imagination on a truly visceral level, with perfect dialogue that makes the characters into real people, and real emotions interwoven with a devilishly good setting. Everyone wants angels and demons and magic to exist, and in Morgan’s world, poke your little toe down the rabbit hole, and everything is real.

All I can say about Blood and Feathers is that the sequel can’t come fast enough.



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