Sunday, 13 March 2011

Angel Time by Anne Rice

Summary: Anne Rice returns to the mesmerizing storytelling that has captivated readers for more than three decades in a tale of unceasing suspense set in time past—a metaphysical thriller about angels and assassins.

The novel opens in the present. At its center: Toby O’Dare—a contract killer of underground fame on assignment to kill once again. A soulless soul, a dead man walking, he lives under a series of aliases—just now: Lucky the Fox—and takes his orders from “The Right Man.”
Into O’Dare’s nightmarish world of lone and lethal missions comes a mysterious stranger, a seraph, who offers him a chance to save rather than destroy lives. O’Dare, who long ago dreamt of being a priest but instead came to embody danger and violence, seizes his chance. Now he is carried back through the ages to thirteenth-century England, to dark realms where accusations of ritual murder have been made against Jews, where children suddenly die or disappear . . . In this primitive setting, O’Dare begins his perilous quest for salvation, a journey of danger and flight, loyalty and betrayal, selflessness and love. --

This is the first Anne Rice book the book club has read and the first I myself have read, so I can't say how well it compares to her older books. I have heard the older books are WAY different due to Rice's recent conversion back to Christianity. Before I read "Angel Time" I had heard it was "preachy", and yeah, it is, but that's not really the issue.

Overall the book was sort of flat. I can tell that Rice is capable of telling a good story, I just don't think this is it. The story is about redemption of a professional assassin, an angel tells Toby that God needs him and his skill set specifically to help some people in thirteenth century England. I could accept that, though sadly there wasn't enough of a threat to require the "specific skills" of an assassin, or Toby personally. It's possible that the explanation is yet to come, as this book is the first in the "Song of the Seraphim" series, but the story wasn't engaging enough to make me care to read on and find out.

Spoilers ahead:

After traveling back in time Toby meets and instantly feels for the people he's helping, he would die for them, he loves them like family. I understand that we can't understand God's love and all that, but it just seemed rushed and I couldn't feel the sympathy that he did. The story was long and sort of unnecessarily complicated.
In the end Toby helps the family in an elaborate lie to deceive the Catholic church. This was really strange to me. This guy is brought to help the Jewish people and in turn receive his own redemption, but he must do this through lies and deceit? Not sure what to think about that. God and an angel help this guy lie to protect the Jewish people of England?

Bottom Line: It's clear that Rice is an excellent writer, her book was full of exquisite detail, I just really thought the story could have been stronger, and well, better.


Anna said...

i agree. the first half was somewhat hard to get through, and even when he went back in time, it wasn't fulfilling action to make me want to read more. i honestly expected more resolution once toby returned to his present time. overall, not really what i expected from usually entertaining anne rice.

Braine said...

You got it! I'm a HUGE Anne Rice fan but I think I like her better as an atheist. LOL. Maybe she should just meditate and find that part of herself again. I didn't even bother to finish the book, I was disappointed to say the least. I thought it was like Memnoch The Devil but I guess not. Glad I'm not the only one who thought so.