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Description: Angels and demons. Two races of beings, alike and yet not the same. The battles between them have raged for time untold. Realms of Fantasy is the tale of ten such creatures. At the heart of their eternal struggle lies the blinding pain of the greatest Fallen One of all, Lucifer, and Michael, the missing half of his soul. As passions run high and balances of power shift, love is the only power that can save them all.
This review is based on a copy I bought myself.
Tarte Amandine’s Review:
I’ll admit that I went into this book with somewhat lowered expectations and was drawn in by the idea of angels and demons getting it on. Sadly, even those expectations weren’t met by the series of five stories inside these pages. The authors took what could have been made into a very interesting universe based on thousands of years worth of mythology and skipped over it in lieu of hot gay sex. It read more as one long Porn Without Plot cleverly disguised as a set of short stories.
Considering one of the draws to the book was the promise of some angel/demon action, the sex wasn’t all that sexy or exciting because it lacks the chemistry that I like to see between the characters before they get to the good stuff. At most, the authors describe the characters in each story as being inexplicably drawn to each other shortly before they do dirty, dirty things to each other. The descriptions are just this side of purple and contain more than their fair share of ridiculously sappy dialogue (“Yes!” Michael’s eyes flew open and he looked down. “Please. My love, my soul.” Groaning, he spread his legs farther wanting everything, wanting Lucifer everywhere). Their actions are also based on said attractions which aren’t properly explained until the very last story, “The True Fall of Lucifer” (this is probably the best of the five and should have been the first story in the book). Due to the lack of any interesting and substantial mythos for the characters, it feels more like Black and Carmichael just slapped some wings, forked tongues and talons on some fairly uninteresting, overly sappy guys and called them angels and demons. When I first read the description of this book, I had expected some serious angst and maybe even a few scenes of hate!sex because we are dealing with beings that have hated each other since the beginning of time. Instead, they come off as oddly possessive and needy.
The set up that is there made me feel like something was missing or that I was reading something that is a sequel to another, more in depth story. It was disorenting to be thrown into this universe without any sort of explanation as to what’s going on or who these characters are. There were times when I didn’t know if I was reading about an angel or demon until later in the paragraph. Likewise, the confusing settings took away from the stories. “Hunter and the Prey” and “Unholy Need” come off as having more of an urban, contemporary setting whereas “Angels of Blood” and “Order of the Highest” feel more like they are set in a fantasy world of marbeled halls and characters wearing tunics. Dialogue inconsistencies are another problem I had with the book. Sometimes you have an angel or demon speaking like characters from the Middle Ages and within a few more lines, they’re back to talking like someone you’d meet in a bar (or see in a porn movie once they got past those pesky plot points). Black and Carmichael mention the “Orders” of demons and angels which again, aren’t really explained until the final part of the book.
While the writing itself isn’t bad (no misspellings or grammatical errors that I could spot), the plot, settings and characters left a bad taste in my mouth. The authors should have taken “The True Fall of Lucifer” and turned it into a full length story with a little more research into angelic and demonic mythology instead of burying the lead like they did. It’s really unfortunate that my first review had to be so negative, but that’s just the way things go sometimes. Here’s hoping my next read is better!