Michael continues his battle against Asmodeus – not just through revenge but also to end the injustices that God has created and fix the flaws of his creation
But how does one fight someone who can predict your every move, someone who can see the future, some who will always be 2 steps ahead?
Only by being unpredictable. Only by trusting others. Only by not even knowing what you yourself are going to do next
But not knowing your own plans also means you do not realise what you have chosen to sacrifice…
This book is nearly impossible to review without giving away spoilers, while at the same time even a hint of spoilers would ruin some of the major issues of the book.
The world of this book continues the previous two books
in the series with its complexity and nuance: the nature of hell, purgatory and heaven, of demons, of their sins and of the denizens of each realm is maintained and revealed with the same steady, well paced, well balanced skill. From the manipulating of the elements (the nature of magic) to the way the three realms are separated and the very nature of angels, demons and the powers that shape the world we have a huge world here with lots of elements that need to be carefully balanced and explained so the reader doesn’t get lost – and it really is well done. Not only over this book, but over all three books, each building on each other, revealing more and reinforcing what has already been learned: here we have some excellent development on the very nature of foresight, the core of the battle against Asmodeus and further display of just how very broken the current system is. This isn’t done in clumsy info dump – but through a lot of showing of injustices, of seeing people time and again caught in the clumsy simplicity of the system Asmodeus has created. Not out of malice – it’s far too simple to have the bad guy be just malicious – but out of complete lack of understanding and an overwhelming self-centredness.
What I particularly liked was seeing how the flaws of Asmodeus’s creation is reflected not just in Hell – where the flaws are writ large – but also in Heaven with the constant dual refrains maintained: deception and ego. The whole of creation is Asmodeus’s lie – not just a lie to everyone else, but to himself about what he has created – and his willingness to twist everything (certainly what people believe) to further elevate his ego. Even Heaven itself is hierarchical, constantly requiring people, driving people, to seek Asmodeus’s favour. It’s excellently presented because it is a continuation and development of the books that have preceded it, this world constantly being reinforced and unfolded before the reader without any inconsistency.
But with lots of questions. These books are never going to be easy reading. They beg lots of difficult questions about good and evil, truth and lies, authenticity and honesty and control. Even relatively minor elements in the book have vast questions attached – like the demonic angels, the avatars of sin; in theory evil but also inherently what they are, inherently honest avatars of their true natures. Or the furies, old powers with their own city – powerfully displaying the very wrongness of blanket condemnation without nuance or examination – a city of women who have been wronged and have sought to defend or avenge, condemned without any reasonable examination of their crimes.