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Khanh the Killjoy

Good, but far too long.

Angelbound - Christina Bauer
I’m imprisoned inside a pillar of fire with Armageddon. How did it come to this?
What did I think would happen? I’m an eighteen-year old girl, he’s immortal evil personified. I’m a fool.

Overall: a good, entertaining book with an interesting world that's rather too long. Much like my extremely verbose review of it. I can't help but feel that this book needed the help of a better editor. It wasn't a bad book by any stretch of the imagination, I enjoyed it, but it was so incredibly, unnecessarily long. I feel that a good third of the book could easily have been removed without affecting the essence of the book.

This book had a lot of great things going for it, it had a spunky, ass-kicking heroine who was rather reminiscent of one of my favorite heroines of this year, it had a creative spin on the concept of demons and angels, and the romance is believable and happily free of angst, insta-love, or love triangles. It even feels somewhat like a paranormal Pride and Prejudice at points. But man, the plot and the pacing killed me. The first half of the book felt like I was going in circles, with neither an end nor a point in sight.

Allow me to make one of my infamously long-winded analogies. Myla is the main character in the book, Cissy is her best friend. Let's pretend that Khanh, Myla, and Cissy are real people (ok, you don't have to pretend that Khanh is a real person, becauuse well...I do exist). Khanh meets Myla. Khanh thinks Myla is a pretty cool person; after all, Myla's part demon, she's a fighter, she sends souls to hell, and she's got a tail, man. A fucking TAIL, how cool is that?! Anyways, Myla looks like she's an interesting, awesome person, and Khanh wants to be her friend.

Khanh and Myla sits down for a chat. Myla opens her mouth. Instead of telling Khanh about her kick-ass life as a fighter in the Arenas between Heaven and Hell, Myla tells Khanh about her tangled-up life. You see, since 3rd grade, this boy named Zeke has been in love with Myla, and Myla doesn't want him. She's always telling him to fuck off, because she ain't interested, but Cissy's ALSO been in love with him, too, and she's pissed off by the fact that Myla doesn't give him the time of day.

At this point, Khanh stands up. "You know, I've really got to go somewhere. I just...I have...stuff to do. Let's see each other again sometimes," she waves. Under her breath, Khanh snorts, "Not bloody likely."

You see? Khanh doesn't care! Khanh stopped caring and she stopped thinking that Myla is an interesting person when Myla started talking about stupid gossip and school drama. Khanh wants to hear about MYLA. She wants to hear about what's going on in Myla's life. When you meet someone, you want to get to know THEM. You don't care about their friends' dramas. You don't give a flying fuck about what's going on in their friends' life. You don't want to know about the fight they're having with their mom, about the boring as fuck party they went to. It's the equivalent of going on social media and listening to stupid status updates about eating dinner. NOBODY CARES ABOUT THE BORING PARTS OF YOUR LIFE. I read a book for FUN. I don't want to hear about the boring shit, so skip it.

The plot goes nowhere fast. It is filled with shit that is completely irrelevant to the story. The story is filled with events and people and things could easily have been omitted without making an impact on the overall plot.

Summary: Myla is half-demon and half-human. Her deadly sin is Wrath, which makes her a fucking awesome fighter (you won't like her when she's angry). Myla lives in Purgatory. She's got a mother who's a demon in name only, because her mother is scared of her own shadow and acts more like a frightened child than someone who's capable of mothering the ass-kicking chick that is Myla. She goes to school, she fights in the Arena. She sends souls to hell (while her mother cowers flinchingly with her hands clasped to her ears). All in a good day's work.

It's not a terrible life, sure, she's doomed to be in service to her ghoul overlords, but it could be worse, but there's a lot of minor shit going on. There's tons of lovesick drama with her best friend Cissy and her long-time admirer, Zeke. There are tournaments, balls, weird meetings with demons. There's Lincoln, the asshole of a boy who hates demons and half-demons like Myla. There's a bitch of a girl named Adair. There are long walks, fighting lessons, chilling in the library. There are parties. There's fighting with her mom. There's fighting with her best friend. There's more fighting with her mom. There's secret joyriding sessions on a demon horse. There's Cissy and Zeke making kissy faces at each other while Myla looks on, trying not to gag.

And somewhere around the last 1/3 of the book, things FINALLY pick up. There's demons. There's angels. There's BLOOD and some serious ass-kicking. If only the rest of the book were that good.

The Setting: Very interesting, very fun, very tongue-in-cheek. This is not the United States. This is Purgatory, y'all. In most of the other books I've read, ghouls are the lowiest of lows. They're minions, slaves; not so in this book. In this book, Myla and those of her kind (the Quasi-demons) are slaves to their Ghoul overlords. Myla goes to Purgatory High (every high schooler thinks they go to Purgatory High, but no, this is actually Purgatory High).

Every Quasi-demon has a trait that's taken from one of the Biblical Sins, for example, Myla is Wrath (with a hidden side of Lust) and her best friend Cissy is Envy (and man, does Cissy get fucking annoying thanks to her sin). Everything they own is Ghoul-issued. They have no current human technology besides what the ghouls choose to give them, and some Quasi-demons run a nice business selling human-issued stuff (one of her friends at school prance around flaunting her Pradas and Rolexes...some things stay the same in all universes ^_^).

The Quasi-demons are servants, slaves, there is no mistaking that, and their education is suited to their life in servitude. They have no career than that of serving their Ghoul overlords, Myla is only selected to fight because of her special talent in fighting, and she'll probably be forced to choose a mundane career such as being a seamstress to the ghouls once she graduates. Their classes in Purgatory High are...interesting, focused on best serving their ghoul overlords, and I got quite a kick reading about their curriculum.

“That means robe-cleaning, foot massage, and groveling etiquette, as well as our lesson for today, meal preparation.”

And making worm souffle. Worm souffle All of a sudden, my low-carb diet doesn't seem so bad.

And as for fighting? The Quasi-demons are only suited to be cannon fodder in case their ghoul overlords get attacked.

“Let’s get started.” Tank blasts his whistle again. “I want you all to practice running around the yard, flailing your arms, and screaming ‘Take me! Take me!’ On my mark. Set. Go!”

*snickers*

It is a very complex world, and I do admit to being confused sometimes, because there is a lot going on here. There are thraxes, angels, demons, the queen of Heaven, the king of Hell, there are Overlords, Earls, Princes, many different types of leading family, lots of different races and hierarchies. My head spun trying to keep track of these, at times, but overall, it is a very creative, very interesting world.

The Characters: Mostly well done. I do wish that the side characters had more personality, and I thought Myla was rather too perfect. Overall, I do like Myla; she's got fire, she's got spunk. She is irreverent without crossing the line into bitchiness. She's got a bit of a foul mouth on her too, and I snorted in laughter whenever Myla screws up, and goes "Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck." Yeah, girl!

And she is a fighter. Unlike certain assassins who do not act like assassins who shall remain unnamed (CELAENA *cough*), Myla kicks some fucking ass.

My rage boils over. Jumping super-high, I haul up my knees, then kick my opponent squarely in the chest with both feet. The Choker falls flat on his back with a satisfying thud. Meanwhile, I use the momentum from my chest-kick to flip backwards into a somersault, landing right by his head.

But you know what I want? I wanted more uncertainty. I wanted more doubt. I wanted a heroine who is just a little bit, a tiny bit vulnerable. I want to be able to relate to her a bit. I love that Myla is strong, don't get me wrong, but I like it when my heroine breaks down into pieces, I love it when they have a moment of catharsis, and I don't feel that I got this from Myla.

I said that this book was reminiscent of P&P earlier, and if there's a Caroline in the book, it's that full-of-herself rhymes-with-witch, Adair. I pretty much laughed my ass off whenever that chick appeared.

Adair clears her throat, then sings with a warbling old-lady voice:

Who will worship the Scala Adair?
All the thrax if given the time
My powers are great, my face is so fair
Who won’t want the love that is mine?

The Romance: Believable, if a little too fast for my liking, because it seems as if they went from HATE HATE HATE to "truce" to "I LOVES YOU!!!!" within 50% of the book. Lincoln gave me some serious Darcy feels, even if he's rather less...subtle about it. He's a holier-than-thou high Thrax prince. She is a lowly Quasi-demon. Everyone hates demons. Remember the part up there where we were talking about the Quasi-demons being slaves to the Ghouls? Yeah. It's kind of a scandal for a Prince to even look sideways at a demon, and their earlier hate of each other (with a little lust thrown in on the side) was understandable.

Pride and Prejudice? Yep. The "I'm sick so I have to stay at your house" thing? Yep. The overbearing mother? Yep. The bitchy girl who wants Lincoln? Yep. The misunderstanding? Yep.

He looks at me out of his slate-blue eye. “Well, it’s not like I wowed you with my dazzling personality when we met.”
I can’t help but chuckle. “No, you didn’t.”
“In fact, I was closed-minded and awful for far too long. I’m very sorry.”