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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Rebel by Claire Delacroix



Rebel by Claire Delacroix
Publisher: Tor Books
Genre: Futuristic, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (416 pgs)
Heat level: Sensual
Rating: 4 books
Reviewed by Snapdragon

Having sacrificed his wings in a bid save humanity, fallen angel Armand has a bold plan to assassinate Presidential candidate Maximilian Blackstone. When things go awry and his partner Baruch is gravely injured, Armand fears that he will fail in his task and forever lose the chance to rejoin the angels in Heaven.

Theodora is a wraith, a woman who officially doesn't exist. She lives in the shadows, taking risks to earn the bounty placed on dangerous assassinations—bounty that buys the chance at a new life for those she loves. Captured when her latest hit goes horribly wrong, Theodora finds herself the prisoner of a strong, arrogant stranger.

Soon enough, these two solitary souls find their missions—and their hearts—entwined. But in their desperate attempt to save the world, will they be able to save each other

Claire Delacroix’ Rebel is a powerfully original jaunt into a future world… and for its principle characters, it’s a case of ‘back-to’ an Earthly realm, instead of off to some fantasy realm.

The physical realm has little appeal (or none) to Armaros/Armand, one-time angel. Deceit landed him in this realm of dirt, but we see that from the first, he holds himself to a golden standard. He will not stoop to sin, even to get rid of evil. His companions are an odd lot, the also-just-recently-mortal Baruch, and the suspiciously confident (and bossy) Tupperman.

‘Armand’ is rightly suspicious of his companions' personal agendas (to say nothing of their modus operandi), but nevertheless, immortally – a return to the celestial – depends on fulfilling his mission. He is motivated… and we are intrigued. Rebel kicks into action right from the first line, and with a unique set of circumstances, too.

In order to save the world, they must prevent the ascension of a new, and horrible, president. Their Mission: Kill Maximilian Blackstone. But isn’t it a sin to kill? We are confronted with Armand’s conundrum at once. Later, we start to wonder. It’s unclear if there is anything in this despicable radiation-infested world worth rescuing. As we – through Armand - become more involved in the odd political struggles of New Gotham, we gain a picture of the widely different groups. The abrupt introduction of Theodora the wraith, shocks Armand. At first, she seems to envelope evil, as she plots to kill… well… can’t give that away! Then we discover the sub-human that make up some part of the populace; the poor Shades. Even the ‘police’ are far from what we would consider ‘normal.’ At times the odd characters don’t know quite what to believe – so readers feel rather the same way!

Throughout, Delacroix uses references like New Gotham, fallen angels, and wraiths, to say nothing of some medieval type settings, which evoke emotional responses on the part of the reader. No one could miss the Gotham/New York/Batman hint… but it is just that, a hint. Symbols and references to old mythologies bring a subtle depth (sometimes in a conflicting way) to this tale. When the trumpets sound and the angels splash down from heaven – is it the worst thing possible, or the best? Lucifer has his theories… but we may not, (by then) agree.

Delacroix deserves congratulations for the extreme originality, both of setting and in her characters in Rebel. I have to confess the plot seemed a little convoluted, but you never for a moment consider not reading further. Rebel weirdly captures an almost-religious fantasy and makes believable even stranger superstitions. These mix with compelling characters to create the unusual.

I would call this a ‘must read’ just for its originality alone.

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