Title: Archon: The Books of Raziel
Series: Archon Series
Author: Sabrina Benulis
Genre: ya, supernatural, angels, demons
Format: Trade Paperback, 385 pages
Publication Date: December 27, 2011
Published By: Harper Voyager
Source: ARC received from publisher for review.
Synopsis from Goodreads
Angela Mathers is plagued by visions of angels, supernatural creatures who haunt her thoughts by day and seduce her dreams by night. Newly released from a mental institution where she was locked away for two years, she hopes that her time at the Vatican’s university, the West Wood Academy, will give her a chance at a normal life. Unlike ordinary humans, Angela is a blood head — a freak, a monster, the possible fulfillment of a terrifying prophecy of overwhelming death and destruction. Only in Luz, the Vatican’s wondrous enclave, are blood heads accepted and encouraged to discover what kind of powers or special abilities they might possess.
But within West Wood, a secret coven plots, and demons and angels roam the streets searching for the key to open Raziel’s book — a secret tome from a lost archangel. Some are determined to destroy Raziel, while others, like the beautiful Supernal Israfel, one of the highest of the high, wish to free him. And when the Archon — the human chosen to possess the spirit of a dead angel — rises as foretold, they will control the supernatural universe.
Torn between mortal love and angelic obsession, Angela holds the key to Heaven and Hell — and both will stop at nothing to possess her.
I'm totally the type of person who often picks books based on cover first, and synopsis later. This stunning cover and synopsis had me hooked right from the start, I just had to read it. Unfortunately the warning "Don't judge a book by it's cover." is something that should have been considered here. The sad thing is that I really wanted to like it, I really did, but I just couldn't.
First off, the term Blood Heads really threw me off. I kept thinking back to Vampire Academy for some reason and the "feeders" that voluntarily provided blood to the vampires. It never was explained very well and I can still only assume that Blood Heads refers to the blood red hair of this specific group of students. But a little more clarification would have been nice.
One of the main reasons for my dislike of this book was the over-complication of the writing. It was heavy and often felt like work to read, and often I had to go back and re-read sections multiple times to figure out was happening (and sometimes I just gave up and moved forward unwilling to fight with the wording any longer). It was also very confusing with constantly switching viewpoints, making it hard to tell who was saying/doing what. I often just wanted to give up on the book altogether, but I pushed myself to the end hoping it would get better.
The character and world building however were magnificent! I instantly fell in love with Angela Mathers, a young woman who dreams of angels and wants to be with them so desperately she tries so hard to end her life to be with them, but someone (or something) is protecting her from succeeding. The friends Angela meets at school are also intriguing and exciting! Nina and Sophia are so unique and alive they almost jump right off the page at you. The characters are truly the crowning achievement of Sabrina's writing.
The world building is also incredible. The weather, the atmosphere, the creatures, all stunning work. At first I was put off by the unique interpretation of the angels as these evil and nasty selfish creatures, but it really worked for the book and it was mostly explained. It was nice to see the angel idea from a new angle. Also the addition of demons and jinn and other such interesting creatures really increased the excitement level of this book.
I would recommend this book to anyone who is willing to put the effort into reading such a heavy piece of writing,the characters and world building really do make it worthwhile, but it just wasn't for me. I doubt I will be reading any more in the series.