Ignite - Erica Crouch Pen is a demon, a fallen angel, working with her brother Azael, it’s their role to torment and bedevil humanity. To slaughter and reap souls and drag as many of them back to Hell as they can.It’s a good time to be a demon, Hell’s ranks are expanding all the time and Heaven is in definite retreat. Michael, the leader of Heaven’s angels, is imprisoned and demons can work almost unchecked across Earth. More, Lillith has discovered a new way to spread her plague and turn humans into Lilim, more demon forces to reinforce the might of Hell.The apocalypse is coming and Hell is sure to win.But Pen is far from comfortable in her role – and never has been though she keeps on for her brother’s sake. Then she meets the newly reborn Archangel Michael, young and innocent and full of questions – and is given the task to corrupt him however she can. But as much as she turns him from Heaven, he turns her from Hell – together they begin to forge a third choice, even as Armageddon begins.Firstly I’m going to praise the writing in a peculiar way. Thinking back and even during the book I was making notes that the pacing was pretty poor – nothing seemed to be happening, we weren’t going anywhere, we were kind of walking round in circles and having lots of emotional musings. Objectively, that’s slow. Subjectively, it’s the kind of book that bores me rigid, two characters briefly meeting then examining their navels for an interminable period afterwards. It should have bored me.It didn’t – this is what tells me the writing was good. Because it can take a style and story that I don’t normally care for and kept me reading it without complaint; I should have been bored and wasn’t sounds like an odd compliment, but it’s a meaningful oneThat being said, I wasn’t actually sold on the relationship precisely because not enough time was spent on Penn and Michael together. I didn’t see why Penn was enamoured of Michael or vice versa. I didn’t see what they saw in each other as romantic interests. More, since it was clear from the very first second they set eyes on each other that they were going to be a romance, it made the story predictable.But it works without the romance. It works if we take an angel and a demon coming together not because they love each other, but because they have a shared philosophy. Both of them realising that they don’t fit in either realms. Both accepting that the cruel, callous horror of Hell is not for them, but nor is the rigid, compassionless, stifling, impossible perfection of Heaven any more suitable – which is just as callous and indifferent as the sadism of Hell. Both are uncaring, both unforgiving, both lacking in compassion, having no tolerance for doubt or questioning or disobedience. The two being united in their mutual appreciation of the scales of grey, of the wonders and beauty of Earth and the creations of humanity – that worked really well as a story and as a concept. This was the story I read and this was the story I enjoyed. In fact, the romance got in the way of what was a really excellent premise.Read More