#1: Blest

Main Characters:

Claire Morgan – A demon who falls in love with an angel.

Jim Blest – An angel who falls in love with a demon.  And, at one point, he breaks up with her to protect her (because Sydney tells Jim that the demons will kill Claire if they discover Jim and Claire are together).  Due to Carlos’ lying, Claire tricks Jim into telling the group that the demons have discovered the portal and are going to attack and the angles basically lead the demons right to it.  And, chaos ensues.

Gunner Morgan – Clarie’s brother.  He becomes the de facto leader of the Scale after Shane is killed.  And, in the epilogue he agrees to a pact with Sydney to get revenge on Jim and Claire.

Shane Morrisey – a bully and a jerk to Jim (and others).  He is the de facto leader of the Scale, until he challenges Jim to a Drop (that Miles steps in for Jim because Jim is too new) and Shane dies as a result.

Maria – a demon.  She and Shane were a couple.  She never really recovers after Shane’s death.  She and Nora end up dead outside the school, with it unclear who killed who – but both of them really killed each other.

Michael – Jim’s Dad, and a “wingless”.  He was an angel, but had his wings removed. He had his wings removed after getting to Pearlton, after Jim’s mother decided she didn’t want to fight the war anymore and she was killed.

Mr. Webb – high school bio teacher who knows about the angels and demons and helps the angels (but is maybe also helping the demons).  He can remove wings.

Principal Lumen/General Lumen – General angel, there to protect the portal.

Nora – an angel and Miles’ sister.  She and Maria end up dead, killing each other.

Miles – An angel, and sister to Nora.  After Nora’s death, the demons burn his house down and burn his wings.  Fire is one of the things that angels can’t recover from.

Sydney – General Lumen’s daughter, and an angel.

Carlos – the Planewalker and Gunner and Claire’s father.  He is the leaster of the demons on earth (or at least in our story).  He killed Jim’s mother years ago too.

Erik – Demon

Key terminology:

Feather – group of angels.

Scale – group of demons.  The demons want back into Glisten to get the powers they lost when they were kicked out (including durability, invincibility, ability to manipulate matter).

Glisten – Heaven.

Slag – basically, Hell.

Predator – a type of demon – they have scales on their faces.

Brokers – a type of demon, they are most of the demons on the field.

Portal – how to get into glisten.  To open one, a demon and angel must die.  To close it again, an angel must sacrifice him/herself.

Field – the Earthly plane;  the battleground for angels and demons.

Tribunal – a group of angels who punish.  they have the power to banish demons to Slag.  They have powers other angels don’t and the stripped all demons of certain powers at one point.   The three members are Lord Castile, Lord Valas and Lady Ichallas (we haven’t met them, but they are referred to).

Guardians – the angels who protect Glisten.

Pact – sort of a truce after the last great war.  It can be violated when a demon kills an angel.

Drop – like chicken, except the angel and demon fall from the highest building/thing around and the first one to spread his/her wings looses.  A drop high enough is one of the few things that will kill an angel or demon.

Main Premise:  There is an Endless war being fought by demons and angels on earth.  On an angels/demons’ 16th birthday, they get their wings.  There used to be portals to Glisten (like Heaven) all over and now there are few left.  But there is one near Pearlton (near St. Louis) and angels and demons congregate there.  The demons are looking to get back into Glisten to get powers back and to free the other demons from Slag, while the angels are trying to protect the portal, Earth and Glisten.  Then, one pair of teenager fall in love, but they are demon (Claire) and angel (Jim).  And Carlos, the planewalker and a predator demon is out to get back into Glisten, get powers back and free all the demons from Slag.

How it ends:

Carlos kills Claire, Jim kills Carlos, Miles dies, General Lumen kills herself and gives Jim a bracelet that saves Claire.  The portal is opened (Claire and Mile’s death) but then closed again (General Lumen’s sacrifice).  And it looks like there are at least a lot of dead angles.  And Nora, is out for revenge against Claire and Jim.

Other important things to remember for later:  According to Nora, never in the entire history of angels had there been an angel with red in their wings – Jim has a single red feather (demons’ wings are red) and Claire has a single white (angles have white feathers).

From Shane’s mouth: demons were banished because they know humans aren’t capable of having free will.  Humans need demons to control them.

Leo told Jim a story of how once, Lady Ichallas thought love would be the answer and an angel and demon fell in love and had a child.  The child was named Annabelle (the Viper) and she caused plagues and nothing good came from her.  That most of the time, halflings would end up insane, being torn between good and evil, and they usually abused their power.

Just when Claire and Jim were getting their wings, they clasped hands while bleeding pledging themselves to stay together always and it formed some sort of bond, and is probably why each of them has a single feather that is of the other.

Sydney proposed an alliance with Gunner in the epilogue – saying she hates Claire and Jim more than even demons because without them, no one ever would have died.

Jim is a seer like his mom – he can draw the future, even if he doesn’t really understand it.

Review:

Blest by Blaise Lucey started off slow, but boy, it is take off in the end.  After the first half, I found I had trouble putting it down.  I love stories about angels and demons falling in love – and this one was no exception.  While I had some little issues with the beginning, specifically pace (insta-love) and world-building (background for it), by the time I was half-way through I was so very sucked-in I was sitting on the edge of my chair while reading because I was desperate to know what happened next.

Since the book begins with the first half, however, let me address a few of the short-comings.  First, there was a lot of love between two character who merely spent a few minutes, and one afternoon, together.  Even for the PNR stuff that I read, which is usually all about insta-love, that is giving the relationship development shot-shrift.  There is no reason why the characters couldn’t have developed the feelings over a little bit of time, a month or two for example.  Then, frankly, some of the vitriol towards Jim by the demon kids would have been more on display and a deeper connection to Claire and Jim would have been easier to feel.  There was no need for their birthdays to be quite so early in the school year – or the story – a little more of the suspense as to why the two characters were this books version of Romeo and Juliet would have only added to the plot. The acceptance of why they were different was also a little quick (and this is the second book I’ve finished in the last 3 days that treated this the same) – way too quick  – like, the Flash might as well be moving in slow motion compared to the speed at which they all accept the supernatural and paranormal and that angels and demons are real.  It was just too quick.  It didn’t give me time as a reader to adjust and again, I think a little more page time spent on that would have added to the overall plot and pace of the story.  Once things got going though, there were a bunch of reveals – and that was great as I felt much more involved in the story and it was easier to stay engaged.  I am just a little curious – as I don’t see this being billed as the start of a series, and lots of loose ends were tied up, but there is still certainly loose ends that aren’t tied up, including the events of the epilogue, so I hope there is at least one more coming.

Despite the need to pay attention to some of the terminology, lest you get lost, this reminded me much of Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments – and some of the hints that were dropped had me holding my breath that the reveals weren’t going to be the same as with City of Bones, and thank goodness, they weren’t.  But to me, Blest had tones of City of Bones with the love between our main protagonists and the good vs evil nature of things.  Unlike Mortal Instruments, however, I have enough details to hold me to book 2 (assuming there is one **fingers crossed**) and enough to make at least another good book or two out of the things that aren’t solved and the stuff we don’t know.  And some of what we don’t know has such potential – like the back stories to the parents of all our teenage cast, the mythology of the Tribunal and how the demons were originally banished, exactly what the feathers that each of Claire and Jim have that are “opposite” the rest of their respective wings… there quite a bit of fodder to serve as the basis for some excellent follow-up books.

Even out the pace a little with the second, balance the relationship building and world building to give me more, and we may have a new favorite YA/Angel and demon series!

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