Halo of the Damned

Halo of the Damned - Dina Rae The fallen angel Amaros has come down to Earth in the guise of the human Andel, working at the bidding of his master, Satan, he is recruiting more souls for his lord’s armies. And he’s perfectly placed to do so – as the head of several major advertising firms, he and his people have become a master of corrupting souls around the world, making him one of Satan’s most effective generals.But there’s precious little gratitude in Hell, and Amaros’ mistakes have been noticed, in particular he has been siring children – nephilim – an activity strictly forbidden by both Heaven and Hell. Even worse, a branch of his descendants have gone further, through inbreeding and further summoning, concentrating angelic blood in their offspring in their own insular religion.The prideful Amaros has been given his orders to return to Hell – but as Satan chafed under god’s rule, so too does Amaros under Satan’s.And we have Joanna, newly released from prison for cocaine use, she’s starting to build her new life. But her first job out of prison puts her in Amaros’s company and any attempts for normality quickly fade as she and her sister Kim are faced with their own hidden family history, their grandmother’s agenda, what really killed their mother, Lydia – and the legacy she left behind. Along with Lydia’s lover, Sean, they piece together to puzzle of what exactly happened, what their family history truly is and the forces that are at stake.This book is extremely dark and gritty. And I’ll warn for this from the very beginning. This isn’t a happy angel story where a fallen angel finds a mortal woman and then falls in romantic true love and they have lots of sweet, joyful living. No, these are fallen angels. They’re evil, deadly creatures out to reap souls for Satan – or themselves. This means these books are grim, people die, people are eaten, people are raped, there are serial killers, incest and torturers. It’s grim and dark and leaves no shadow of a doubt that this is evil.Which is, in some ways, refreshing. There was no romanticising of evil, no sympathising of it. We didn’t see the darkly tortured angsty creatures we’re so used to and we didn’t, in any way, make the evil murdering monsters seem sexy, even when they were sexually attractive. Even people who had fallen into Andel’s thrall fell there beause of his charisma and out of worship and greed after deliberate manipulation on his part – there was none of the very typical “oh he’s so gorgeous so I’ll forget he was a serial killer” we’ve come to know and loatheI can’t say it was a story with a lot of surprises. There were some twists – Tony was a twist and the exact nature of the scroll was a twist, but most of the story was heavily foreshadowed throughout (the author also has an interesting habit of briefly recapping what’s happened repeatedly, which really prevents any surprises since the plot’s very laid out from there). That didn’t mean the story was boring however, and while I could see the shape of what was coming, it was interesting to see how it developed especially since, while the plot wasn’t difficult to predict, the world and story was original.The idea of vampire-like creatures being creations of the fallen angels was an interesting twist; I also really liked the real world consequences to the murders, especially with Marcus. In a lot of these stories we see vampires leaving a trail of bodies in their wake and it never seems to catch up with them. There are no police, no grieving loved ones, no manuhunt, no attempt to find the perpetrators of their crimes – but not here. One of the interesting side-plots of the book is Marcus’s increasingly inept attempts to try and escape from the trail of evidence he’s left behind.After so many demonic forces used in fiction, I think I’m surprised that this is the first time I’ve come across a demonic advertising industry (though it does make a lot of sense and really fit). How the advertising campaigns were designed and how extremely exploitative language and disturbing behaviour fit into the businesses practices as standard really stood out and meshed seamlessly with Andel’s own demonic nature. In fact, one of the powerful undertones is not so much the overt power of the fallen angels and their demonic vampires – but their insidious influence. The wealth and power Andel has, the power their followers have through their church, their reach and their immunity. And all of this becomes even more exciting and tense when that power begins to unravel, when the veil of secrecy begins to fade and all that insidious influence is shown to be so very hollow.Read More