Iron Angel

Iron Angel is the sequel to Scar Night by Alan Campbell.  While the book is the direct sequel, to me it didn’t really feel like the first book did a whole lot to foreshadow this book even existing at all.  This series does a couple of really interesting things, but isn’t the best I’ve ever seen.

Book Stats

493 pages

Fantasy/Steampunk

Second book in the Deepgate Codex, sequel to Scar Night

Characters

The two primary returning characters from the first book are Dill and Rachel.  We are also introduced to Hasp (another god, brother to Ulcis from the first book) who teaches Dill how to fight in this book, which helps Dill to not be the whiny little brat he was in the first book.  One of the coolest new characters is John Anchor, who is a servant of Cospinol, the god of Brine and Fog.  Anchor is literally an anchor, he tows Cospinol’s ship around through a harness he wears with a rope extending into the air leading to Cospinol’s flying ship.  Another character who has a large viewpoint is Alice Harper, who is dead and serves King Minoa as an engineer in Hell.  Overall the characters just didn’t impress me much in this book, they seem to be just along for the ride as the plot moves forward.

Setting

The setting is the best part of this book, which is both good and bad.  It’s good because it’s so far away from your traditional fantasy story that it seems fresh, it’s bad because the characters and plot aren’t done well enough to support the intricate setting.  Along with the idea of John Anchor towing the boat of Cospinol, the god of Brine and Fog, there are other gods mentioned as well.  Not in this book but mentioned in the world is the god of chains, and in this book there is also mention of the god of knives and flowers.  This is close enough to what you’re used to to be recognizable, but different enough to make it really cool.  Also introduced in this book are shiftblades, weapons that can change form quickly which make for a couple of interesting combat scenes.  There is also mention of an interesting society of swordsmen who study either the schools of Kiril or Yen and depending on the school they have a sword ranging from pure white to pure black, with the closer they are to the pure color indicating a higher rank of swordsmanship (while this is a great idea, it is very briefly and poorly used in the book).  The representation of Hell in this book is also fascinating, with each person’s soul creating their own private room in Hell.

Plot

The weakest point of the book to me, which again is sad because with a better story in this world it could be a fantastic piece of fiction.  Rachel and Dill begin by trying to get away from Deepgate, and then are captured and brought back into the city and thus forced back into the plot.  The book does explore the results of Dill being brought back from the dead.  Unfortunately, Carnival, who was a really interesting character in the first book, is practically non-existant in this book.  Her part is so quickly throne away that is seemed like the author just didn’t want anything to do with her character in this book.  The Soft Men from the first book actually appear in this book, but have nothing to do with the plot, which irritated me almost as much as the quickly glossed over swordsmen mentioned above.  The overall story has to do with the ruler of Hell trying to overthrow Earth since Heaven has been closed off.  Much much like the first book it just felt forced to me.  The principal viewpoint characters never seem to make their own decisions, they just go where the plot needs them to.

Enjoyment

The setting shows so much potential, and the characters might not be as bad if they weren’t just going where the plot needed them to go.  Not the best book I’ve ever read, but I will at least finish the trilogy.

Overall Grade

The potential and the ideas of the book are better than the overall execution, but if you’re looking for a fantasy book with a unique setting you can do worse than this book, but you can also do better with some other books.

5/10

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