Last year, when I expressed the goal to become a professional writer and maybe write novels, a friend on Twitter suggested I follow her friend Linda Poitevin, an Ottawa-based urban fantasy novelist.
So after a few months of reading her tweets and hearing about her book series, The Grigory Legacy, I picked up the first of them, Sins of the Angels, from the library.
All in all, this book gave me an entertaining time. Given my previous experience with urban fantasy, I wasn’t expecting much, but this book was fairly well written and had an actually interesting and plausible (for the genre) plot.
Here’s an overview of the story. A fallen angel finds his way back to the human plane and starts killing humans to regain his powers. His brother, an angel called Aramael, joins up with Alexandra Jarvis, a Toronto homicide investigator who’s just lost her partner, to find and stop him.
At first, Alexandra wants nothing to do with her new partner, but an inexplicable electricity between them, and several strange visions when she’s around him, tell her that this is no ordinary man… and that she is no ordinary woman. Follows a convincing investigation with high personal stakes.
In general, the book was pleasing. There were some really good action scenes, and I liked how Alexandra was portrayed: independent and taking no bullshit from anyone. Aramael seemed a bit boorish and single-minded at first, but his character develops throughout, and we can see a more flexible angel peeking through at the end.
The potential love story between Aramael and Alexandra, however, sometimes felt a little too convenient. Of course, it’s a convention of this type of book that there should be some kind of love interest for the heroine. But the whole “it’s fated” thing was a little easy, I think. Basically, because of their resonant energy, the developing feelings between the two of them are described as pretty much inevitable and out of anyone’s control. While I can appreciate that sometimes that’s the way love is, I would have liked to see a little more agency on Alexandra’s part. She doesn’t really like him, after all, despite appreciating the Greek perfectness of his body from the very beginning. I find there’s a big difference between finding a man attractive and falling in love with him.
I liked how Poitevin incorporated the secondary plot, Jarvis’ colleague’s struggles with a very magnetic priest and a strange disappearance in one of Toronto’s most prominent families. I was actually intrigued by her character and would have liked to learn more about her. These passages were a clever way to give us an idea of the bigger picture surrounding Jarvis’ investigation.
I haven’t yet read the second book, and I know the third is slated for publication very soon. Overall, Sins of the Angels was a quick and pleasant read, not too complicated but interesting enough to keep my attention for its duration. It’s refreshing to see a good detective story set in Toronto that isn’t Flashpoint.