Blood and Feathers: Rebellion, by Lou Morgan [Blood and Feathers #2]

Title: Blood and Feathers: Rebellion (B&F #2)
Author: Lou Morgan
Publisher: Solaris
Publication date: 4th July 2013 (UK)

blood_and_feathers-_rebellion_250x384It has taken me almost an age to review this book, which is not an indication of its quality. I (sort-of-but-didn’t-really) went to the signing and launch of Blood and Feathers: Rebellion and read the book almost immediately, on the way home, stroking happily my new signed copy. It made for good train reading after a long day in London.

Blood and Feathers: Rebellion is generally where the future of one branch of urban fantasy should be: just as full of action and adventure as it is suspense, mystery and the supernatural. It’s been a long wait since Blood and Feathers and Alice’s trip into the belly of Hell, and everything has changed.

The balance has been upset and since the gates of Hell were brought down, the Fallen have been turning the world upside. Widespread riots make the streets Hell on Earth and with nothing left to do but fight, Alice has been spending her time using her fiery wrath to beat back the forces of the Fallen along with whichever Earthbounds flock to her half-born banner.

And it had better be a good banner, because with all the crap Alice is going through, the least she deserves is a decent flag. One with gold tassels and a few bells, too.

With Mallory gone, his wings returned, Alice has been alone and with little she really wants to do besides fighting the Fallen and leading the nightly attacks against the forces of Hell. The problem is, Alice is only one person and despite being gifted with the sheer firepower of Michael’s choir, there is only so much that she can do.

The Fallen have been driven out of Hell and Lucifer is hiding within their ranks, somewhere on Earth and somewhere out of the reach of the Archangel Michael, who will hunt and kill Lucifer at all costs. But what if that cost is too high? But Michael, driven and hard and arrogant, doesn’t care about price. Yet, is that true? Is there nothing that would pain Michael to lose?

As for Mallory, no longer Earthbound, things haven’t exactly improved. Michael refuses to listen to reason, bent on his own plans and arrogant enough to believe there is one way to do this: his way. Meanwhile, Gabriel—making amends for his former actions and his misplaced trust in Gwyn—is slaving away on Michael’s orders, searching for something in the dusty archives.

In war there is no substitute for victory and that’s the only way that Lucifer and his army of Fallen will be stopped from wreaking further havoc on Earth. The riots are tearing the city apart and it’s obvious to see that the angels are losing. Things are getting desperate. All Hell is breaking loose.

The character development from the first book is perfect; Alice has changed whilst remaining just the same. She went through a tough time yet she’s refusing to lose all of her sense of self in spite of quite literally life-changing circumstances. Morgan develops her kick-ass heroine perfectly. Of course, Mallory also progresses in true Mallory style—as if he would do anything else!

Despite no longer being Earthbound, Mallory is still the snarky angel he’s always been, but with good reason! For the first time in history, it seems that that the forces of Hell are winning. Mallory is tired of the war, tired of everything and tired of what happened right at the beginning of all this. There is a link that travels to the very start of Lucifer’s banishment from Heaven and it’s not one he’s keen to share.

Still drinking and still brooding with a pair of guns in his hand, Mallory is now even more a force to be reckoned with, but there is a deep vein of sadness that shows through, trickling into his character before bubbling up to the surface and revealing sides of him that he shows to absolutely nobody. It’s ideally handled and executed with the skill of a writer who has been developing characters through words and on a page for years. Nothing about Morgan’s writing says anything other than, “I’m awesome!”. And she really is.

Blood and Feathers: Rebellion is a pacy, dark and witty urban fantasy adventure that reads like the literary love-child of Supernatural and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. There might not be any vampires or a team of sidekicks and no monsters and ghouls to kick the asses of, but Alice is a heroine that Buffy would definitely knuckle-bump and it’s almost certain that Dean Winchester had a hand in the slick, clever script of this edgy and cutting urban fantasy.

Angels with guns and angels at war is definitely a turnaround for the mythology surrounding angels and demons and in this continuation of the desperate situation from Blood and Feathers the stakes are higher, the writing sharper, slicker and so much more personal. Morgan’s prose is effortless and sharp, funny and deft. Parts of Rebellion hit hard, right where it hurts. There is a balance that Morgan achieves between the light and the heavy and it’s as though she has been doing it for years. There’s a lot of heart in this book, along with betrayal and loss.

Absolutely superb and definitely freaking awesome. This baby is a winner and damn it, but there had better be another one, because there’s no way that it can end like that


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