Angelopolis: The Review

16158489Angelopolis; Danielle Trussoni, 2013; Viking

Angelopolis is Danielle Trussoni’s sequel to Angelology; a story about humans, Nephilim, and the ongoing battle between the two from  Antediluvian to WWII to present day.

In book one the author took theology, mythology, imagination and wove a complex ideology out of ‘what if’. What if not all Nephilim were killed in the flood? What if the original sons of god called ‘Watcher’s’ were still here, imprisoned beneath us? What if there were a secret society of  ‘angelologists’ who have known, studied, and fought these fallen creatures for hundreds of years, and continue to do so under our very noses? What if angles and women were still making babies? What if these angels of darkness decided that we were the sub-species and their long-term goal was to make earth their own?

That is a lot of what if’s.

And in Angelology it worked,  I was hooked from the beginning to the end. Not so with book two. Where as Trussoni took her time introducing me to her characters, filling me in on their lives, their motivations, and the impetus that drives them to do what they do in the first novel, she left me feeling rushed, under feed,  and very neglected in the second. It was if she were in a hurry to get somewhere and had no time to stop and explain to me, the reader, where that might be. More often than not I found her characters  in places and circumstances with very little idea how they got there.

For a story that takes on the big guns of theology and the basic foundations of ‘Christianity’ Angelopolis makes way too many lane changes without turn signals.

“We live and breathe words. …. It was books that made me feel that perhaps I was not completely alone. They could be honest with me, and I with them. Reading your words, what you wrote, how you were lonely sometimes and afraid, but always brave; the way you saw the world, its colors and textures and sounds, I felt–I felt the way you thought, hoped, felt, dreamt. I felt I was dreaming and thinking and feeling with you. I dreamed what you dreamed, wanted what you wanted–and then I realized that truly I just wanted you.” 
― Cassandra ClareClockwork Prince

Now before you get your undies in a bunch and think the real reason I’m not as fond of book two as I am of book one is because Trussoni has asked her reader’s to take another look at Scripture and question whether what we call the Holy Bible might not be as Holy and as divinely inspired as we’ve interpreted it to be. And I would be a liar if I didn’t say that there were times when her alternate possibilities didn’t severely tweak the left side of my brain. What can I say, I like my Jesus right where he is thank you very much… But, I also don’t mind it when others don’t. Deep down I’m a lover of alternate realities and have spent my entire life asking ‘what if’, so Danielle Trussoni’s courage to do the same is, in my not so humble opinion, to be applauded, not disdained.

No, the real reason I find myself disappointed with the sequel to Angelology is that after spending all that time creating a story that is incredibly unique, has endless possibilities and is powerful enough to influence the way you and I see the world around us – whether you are a fantasy groupie or not – is that I don’t feel like Trussoni gave Angelopolis the time and attention it deserved.

So will I read book number three? As always reader loyalty is important to me, so yes I will. But even that aside, I meant it when I said the story itself is unique and has the power to make the reader look at the world in whole new way.

But I have to ask, could it be that the reason Trussoni rushed us through the second half of the story is because, unlike the first book where she was in control of how long it took to get the story just right, this second novel’s creative process was under pressure from the gods of publishing who, once they own you, control you? Did their need to capitalize on their newest golden goose drive them to put pressure on her to lay another egg, to write another great story, as quickly as possible? Was the author driven by the hobgoblins of commerce and, like the millers daughter in Grimm’s tale of  Rumpelstiltskin,  can’t leave until she’s spun three more?

I don’t know. These are simply questions to try and help you and I better understand why such a promising story went so very flat. But if any of them have merit, and the real reason Danielle Trussoni did not deliver the same quality of work in her second novel as she did with her first, than my advise to the gods of publishing would be; Leave her the hell alone and let her do what she does best, create. So what if it takes another two or three years before we see the third novel? Not every writer was made to crank out commercialism; some were actually given the talent  to weave really good stories, and I believe Trussoni is one of those writer’s.

On my readers scale of 1 to 5 stars I have to give Angelolopis 3 stars for story, with every expectation of seeing that change in book number three.

Angelology:The Review

angelology“Angelology”Danielle Trussoni, 2010; Viking Penguin

One of my favorite things, as a both a reader and aspiring writer, is to come across someone who tweaks my theology,  my need for order, and turns them both arse -end – to – tea – kettle. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, you can bet your next latte, whoever  the author is that managed to do it, will earn a place forever on the shelves of  books I will read over and over again.

The folded spine of “Angelology” now rests second shelf, third from the left.


Danielle Trussoni, author of Falling Through the Earth: A Memoir, (Picador) has written her first fictional work, and almost from the outset,  manages to set the pages on fire.

Everything from subject matter, to story, to character development, to mystery and suspense, to literally pulling the reader into the minds and hearts of angel and angelologist’s alike; Danielle Trussoni grabs you by the soul and doesn’t let go. Even as a Christian, my interest in angels can be counted on one hand, but after reading this novel,  I feel compelled to read more, search more, and of course,  ask a lots of questions.

Throughout her book, Trussoni explores not just mankind’s fascination with Nephillium, sons of God, and the whole angel-God-man issue, but makes the reader take a longdaniella trussoni look at what it means to be – other than human.  To be infused with more than mere flesh and bone, blood and marrow.  And if your anything like me, one question will always lead to the next, and the next, and the next …

I’ve a sense much of her research has come from Catholicism – of which I have less than minimal knowledge of – but the novel raises so many new questions  in my own mind, that I refuse to be confined to such a narrow conclusion.

I personally know individuals who claim to have not only seen angels, but to have deployed them in spiritual battle; and from everyone of their accounts, angels are not warm and fuzzy dudes. They are powerful, dazzling, and seldom have regard for humans outside the will and purpose of God.

Doesn’t sound like “Angelology” falls far from the mark.

On my reader scale of 1-5, I’m giving Angelology a 4.5.