Good Angel has fabulous world building, a diverse cast (not to mention angels and demons), and a plot line that only gets better as the story goes on.
Iofiel is one week old. She is cheerful, sweet, and compassionate –traits that will make her an excellent guardian angel. But first she has to survive university. Because of the overcrowded human souls that occupy both heaven and hell, the young demons and angels live together and learn necessary skills for the future. However, her kind heart and impulsivity can get her into a lot of trouble. And when Iofiel decides to major in the demonic art of soul stealing to help a friend out, the greater forces at work have something to say – casting Iofiel in a graver future.
What really struck me about Good Angel was the world building. It never feels rushed or dumped on us, and instead we learn with Iofiel about the world she is born into – the classes, the differences between angels and demons, and the greater heavenly struggle. There may be tons of names and angels – as well as demons – but you quickly figure out which ones to pay attention to. If you were ever wondering what it would be like to attend a boarding school full of angels and demons who pretty much hate each other – this is it.
While the plot can start off a little slow, it really picks up in the middle of the book. Once the larger plan and conflict between heaven and hell is fully introduced, the plot speeds up and you find yourself being drawn in. It is hinted at throughout the book, so it’s not just something that takes you by storm, don’t worry.
Iofiel was an interesting character. At some points I was so frustrated with the way she acts without thinking, but at others you admire her resilience in the face of not knowing. All she wants is the free will to pursue her own destiny – and in that, she seems pretty human. Both the angels and the demons are not only stuck in their roles, but in a system, that defines them at conflict since before the beginning of time.
Additionally, the representation in the book is intricate and enjoyable. The angels are assumed to be asexual, aromantic, and agender, but within them there are discrepancies and nuances. This is an ownvoices narrative as well – so I am pleased to see this kind of representation within the fantasy community.
What I also loved about the book, and which might be my favorite, was how Baushild deals with the issues of ‘goodness’. What does good mean for angels? Is there some leeway? Good Angel challenges the whole concept and conception we have about angels and demons. There were some gems of social commentary and parallels to angel society that we have ourselves. As I’ve already talked about, the whole discussion of free will, and our roles we have to play were explored so perfectly and through a variety of different lenses. What do we do, when we question the order of things? What do we do, when those who are supposed to help us only lead us astray?
In this way, what I loved most about Good Angel I could have never predicted – its themes of goodness and free will. Don’t get me wrong, there’s an entertaining plot and a compelling cast of characters as well! Bottom line, if you’re into fantasy, angels, and diversity, this one will be a home run for you.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in an exchange for an honest review from the author.
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