Angelology – Danielle Trussoni

It’s Fiction Friday, Monday edition! Or, as I like to call it, “Man, it took me so long to finish Angelology” Monday.

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“Set in the secluded world of cloistered abbeys, long-lost secrets and angelic humans, Angelology has all the makings of a blockbuster hit, combining elements of The Da Vinci Code and Kate Mosse’s Labyrinth

Sister Evangeline was just a young girl when her father left her at St. Rose Convent under the care of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration. Now a young woman, she has unexpectedly discovered a collection of letters dating back sixty years – letters that bring her deep into a closely guarded secret, to an ancient conflict between the millennium-old Society of Angelologists and the monstrously beautiful Nephilim, the descendants of angels and humans. Rich and mesmerizing, Angelology blends biblical lore, mythology and the fall of the Rebel Angels, creating a luminous, riveting tale of one young woman caught in a battle that will determine the fate of the world.”

This was another book Ro was going to get rid of, but suggested that I read first. I like fallen angels as much as the next person, and I’ve only read YA books on the topic, so I figured “what could go wrong?”. Plus it promised to include elements of the Orpheus myth, which I always thought was a beautiful (heart-breaking) story.

Let me start by saying that I greatly admire authors who excel at world-building, who can come up with all the elements that make you believe this other world exists: geography, social/political/economic structure, etc. I’m not great at it, so I appreciate the amount of time, effort, and thought that is required. The problem with world-building is that there is a fine line between how much you should and shouldn’t share.

I felt this was a case of too much detail. Giant blocks of texts that I ended up skipping because I didn’t really care. A whole middle section of the book that started off as being interesting and ended with me thinking “what was the point of this again?”. It’s fascinating to see how much thought Trussoni put into the world of angelology – the different classes and theories that young angelologists studied in school, the handful of times said angelologists saw real angels (side note: I expected them to FREAK OUT the first time they saw real angels, but if they did, it was like the ONE THING that wasn’t described ad nauseum).

Then it was confusing because the amount of angelic knowledge the reader had was disproportionate to the amount of knowledge Evangeline (the protagonist) had – so while we (as readers) could accept certain events, she (as a relatively clueless angelology-novice) shouldn’t have been able to understand. So her entire character seemed off and don’t even get me started with her random love interest.

Not to mention, it took 440+ pages to reach the climax of the story, then a bunch of characters were conveniently killed off and the book abruptly ended – in less than 10 pages. I understand that there’s a sequel so I’m sure the events of these last 10 pages will be addressed (with the greatest amount of detail possible)…but the amount of pages-per-event could have definitely been adjusted.

It also took an absurdly long time to find out the importance of the lyre that, in a moment of compassion, was tossed down from Heaven while the angels were falling (this was basically the Holy Grail for angelologists – everyone wanted it). I couldn’t figure out if the lyre at one point belonged to Orpheus or if they were just making the connection between the two stories. Maybe that distinction was made, but I probably skimmed it because I was bored.

As you can probably tell, I wanted to like this book, but it dragged on longer than it should have (cutting out the middle section would have made it a smoother read) in the most disappointing way, which resulted in me stomping down to Ro’s room and tossing it back onto her pile of “Books to Get Rid Of” with a grunt.

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