Cons: Sass at the expense of other elements
Rating: 3 out of 5
Christina Bauer’s Acca (Angelbound Origins Book 3) is sassy and snarky, all right–sometimes at the expense of character smarts, worldbuilding, and more. Main character Myla is the great Scala–she’s the only person in Purgatory who can send souls to Heaven or Hell. She’s getting married to Prince Lincoln, a sexy demon-hunter from the Thrax, who are not on good terms with Myla’s quasis. At this moment, however, they’re chasing a demon who’s just stolen all of their evidence against a Thrax house named Acca, who’ve been dealing with demons and more. They’re also about to be married within a few days, and all Myla’s mother can seem to think about is how quickly Myla will get pregnant when that happens.
Sass and snark are great, but it’s like the fine line between dark and depressing: the “too far” spot on the spectrum is at a different spot for everyone, but there is a “too far” spot. For me, this went over the line from sass/snark and into bitchy. It also seemed like getting just the right snarky line in was more important to the author than the story was, so sometimes the characters did something stupid for, apparently, little reason other than to set up a snarky line. (Or to set up later plot that would otherwise not work.) For instance, in order to impress upon us how powerful Myla’s angelic father is, she’s writing down each new power she sees him use in a journal so she can keep track. Umm, that’s just begging for the journal to get stolen and for a bad guy to use all that info to thwart her father at something. It also implies that her father is just a deus ex machina waiting to be pulled out whenever the author has difficulty with the story. At another time there’s a character they’re interviewing who gets all squirrely, and they get distracted and totally ignore it on their way out. And there’s plenty more like that.
As someone who has just come into the series via reviewing, I appreciate that there are little summations of things from previous books so we’ll get the idea. I know this is hard to judge, but the author way overdid it here in my opinion. The number of times the Scala’s basic job got described was over the top considering how simple that job is (send souls to Heaven or Hell from Purgatory). The world-building feels artificial, abnormal, overly concerned with setting up plot rather than the world the plot takes place in.
The book does become tense and engrossing for a time, at which point I enjoyed it and almost–not quite–wanted to read more in the series.
SPOILER WARNING There’s actually a point at which our duo is facing two enemies. One of the two is two words into a three-word incantation that’ll set a massive demon loose. Lincoln is strong and quick, so he chokes out his enemy–that is to say, he chokes out the other character and politely asks the incantation-spouting person to stop, which of course allows him to get the last word of the incantation out. There was no reason whatsoever given for why Lincoln wouldn’t just choke out the incantation-spouting enemy instead. That also isn’t the only stupid combat move some of the characters made. Truly the book feels like plot over character or world–the latter two are constantly given short shrift to make the first work. End Spoilers
Book provided for review by publisher
Expected publication date: December 13, 2016