Forsaken by Thomas E. Sniegoski

April 9, 2013 Reviews 0

  • Date published: 1st December 2012
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse (Simon & Schuster AU)
  • Format: Paperback, 398 pages
  • Series: The Fallen, Book 4
  • ISBN 13: 9781442446991 ISBN 10: 1442446994
  • Categories: YA Fantasy
  • Goodreads / Booktopia / Bookworld
  • Source: provided for review by the publisher

Half angel and half human, Aaron holds the weight of the world in his hands in the fourth book of the New York Times bestselling The Fallen series.

The war between Heaven and Hell rages on. The devil has possessed Lucifer’s body and is intent on unleashing unfathomable chaos in the world. But no matter the cost, Aaron and the other Nephilim are determined to protect humanity.

As the casualties mount around them, Aaron and his beloved Vilma’s loyalty and faith will be tested. And in this next installment of the The Fallen series, they’re out to prove that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger….

Forsaken is an apt title for the book, since it’s about an Earth that has been cut off from heaven, and the dormant evil forces of the world have come out to play. To make matters worse, Satan (who is not Lucifer Morningstar) is determined to lead these beings in a bid to take over the world now that Heaven’s influence has been stemmed. There are only a handful of Nephilim left to stand against him, and Aaron and Vilma have to pick and choose their battles carefully, condemning some people to die so they save others. It’s a dark, harrowing book, and although I really liked it, I am looking forward to the concluding volume with the hope that it will bring some much-needed lightness into Aaron’s world.

I was surprised to find how tolerant Aaron is throughout this novel. He’s tamer now, preferring to talk things through rather than intimidate or bully someone into seeing things his way, and he chooses not to punish his Nephilim followers like he would have in the past. It makes Aaron more believable as a leader as he is no longer conducting himself like an impulsive teenager. The shining aspect of the book are its two female protagonists, Melissa and Vilma. They kick some serious butt throughout the book, and it’s great to get to know them better as previous books have tended to focus on the male characters.

The other notable character is Roger, a baby boy who Jeremy and his mother rescue, who soon proves to be anything but an ordinary baby. He reminds me strongly of Stewie from Family Guy – he’s snarky and alarmingly violent, and believes himself to be superior to everyone around him. It’ll be really interesting to see what role he plays in the final book.

I have said before that I feel a disconnect between Aaron and Vilma as a couple – readers never really see them interact one-on-one unless they’re fighting some for in tandem, and it’s hard to see how they connect on a personal level. In the past I’ve been under the impression that they were initially attracted to each other in a high school setting, and have stayed together since because there hasn’t been any time for either of them evaluate the relationship. Vilma’s weird and confusing connection to Jeremy further clouds the issue. But in Forsaken we get to see them go out on a date, which is very cute, and I’ve started to believe in the depth of their partnership again.

The other complaint I have often had of this series is that Aaron seems to forget the events, the death of his family, which started the whole mess in the first place. In Forsaken, he doesn’t think of the younger brother he was forced to kill at all, and only mentions his beloved adoptive parents once. He never mentions how hard it is for him to see Verchiel, the crazed angel who caused these deaths, every day and work with him to save everyone. I’m very surprised at this because Aaron originally started on this path to find justice for his family, and now he barely even thinks of them anymore? It’s hard to emotionally connect with Aaron because of this.

The plot is compelling and refreshingly original, and I especially love that the villain is Satan but not Lucifer. Splitting the mythology into two people is darned clever. The Nephilim must find ancient devices called Fear Engines to stem the darkness and evil encroaching upon the Earth, and work together with Verchiel, their once enemy who has unexpectedly returned from Heaven to help them as punishment for his evil deeds. We are also told a little bit more about the Architects, powerful angels who control the destiny of our world, who seem to be driving it to its own destruction. It’s intricate and well thought out, and Sniegoski is obviously setting us up for an explosive conclusion.

Fans of this series won’t want to miss the latest adventure of the Nephilim, but be warned that there is a cliff-hanger ending that may kill you as you wait for the final book, Armageddon, due for release August 2013. I also encourage those interested in a darker, edgier incarnation of Angel-themed YA to pick this series up. I can’t wait for the final adventure!

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