The Books of Raziel, Book #1
By Sabrina Benulis
ISBN# 9780062116901
Author’s Website:

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Heidi

*Beware of possible spoilers*

In Sabrina Benulis’s debut novel, Archon, there has been a prophecy made that the destruction of the world as we know it will be brought on at the hands of a red-headed human.  Therefore, no parent wants to have a red-headed child and when they do it usually leads to a childhood of abuse.  The Vatican has created a school, West Wood, for these ‘blood heads’, as they’re called, in an isolated town called Luz.

Angela has been obsessed with angels as long as she can remember as her dreams are full of the beautiful creatures; the same couple of angels appear in her dreams again and again.  She recreates them in her paintings and has attempted suicide numerous times so that she can be with the bronze angel of her dreams.  This has led to her being in a mental institution for the last couple of years.  But now she has left the institute, and being a blood head, she is entering West Wood Academy, where her brother is a novice, or priest in training.

Angela just wants to go to the academy to apologize to Brendan (her brother) for accidentally killing their parents when a suicide attempt got out of hand; burning their home to the ground with her parents inside.  Then, she wants to continue her mission to die; unfortunately her angel keeps protecting her and keeping her alive.

But Angela discovers the more she’s at the academy, the more she truly has to live for.

I must start this review off by saying that I’m not a fan of most young adult novels.  I feel that the genre suffers from more and more authors that write books geared to younger and younger people most of which seem to be geared towards teens or even tweens in some cases.  So I was thrilled to see a young adult book that truly is geared to adults.  There is sex in the book.  It’s not a play by play like more adult driven genres have, but Benulis lets you know that it happened.  And, there is mild swearing in the book as well.  The author doesn’t try to censor herself for a younger audience, which I applaud her for.  This is not a book for readers younger than adult.

Unfortunately, the book being geared toward adults isn’t my only requirement for a good book and I did find this one lacking.

I found this book to have a lot of interesting things going on, but it seemed to be too much all at once and made the book hard to follow.  I was finding myself re-reading paragraphs once or twice trying to figure out what just happened.  A little confusion in the beginning while the story is being lined out is acceptable.  I received this book from the publisher, Harper Voyager, and I really enjoyed the paper they sent along with it outlining several of the main characters.  It explained who they were, some of their familial relationships, their appearance, and a short profile about their character.  I would love to see this included in the book along with the glossary that is already in the book.  But even with that information, I still had trouble keeping up with this book and it just got worse as the book progressed and ended up leaving me pretty bored and a little lost in the process.

Benulis gave us an interesting story with a completely different look at angels, then we’ve ever seen before.  I felt it has potential, but ultimately falls short.