REVIEW by Chelsey: Plague of Angels by John Patrick Kennedy (@JohnPatKennedy , @CNicholsBooks)

Nyx is Queen of Hell and ruler of the Angels who were banished there – the Descended.
And when the rest of the Angels are called home, Nyx finds herself stuck on the Earth with the Son of God. To her surprise, she learns that he is no happier than she. God’s son thought he was sent down to judge humanity. Instead, he becomes a sacrifice for a cause he does not believe in – their redemption.
After his mortal body dies, the Son of God makes Nyx an offer: a new paradise on Earth if she will help him destroy humanity.
With two of her fellow Angels by her side, Nyx launches a thousand-year campaign of violence, sex, betrayal and intrigue to bring down God’s people and have them worship her instead. From the back streets of Jerusalem to the palaces of Rome, from the temples of Egypt to the Pope’s bedchamber, Nyx and her companions work to destroy the worshippers of God.
But not all is as it seems. And the Son of God has bigger plans than any of them imagine…

plague of angels

John Patrick Kennedy’s Plague of Angels is unlike anything that I’ve ever read before. We’re introduced to Nyx, the Queen of Hell as she leaves hell and tries to tempt the Son of God. I feel silly saying this, but if you’re easily offended by retellings of the Christ story, or are particularly prickly when it comes to unorthodox versions of any sort of biblical tale, then this story is definitely not for you. It is rather graphic (though so is the bible, if you have read it) but if you are squeamish, also probably not for you. If you are interested in a great story, for a story’s worth, then I can think of no reason why you shouldn’t read this book.
This story is really interesting and I have to say, it’s really nice to see unrelenting, strong female leads—that don’t taper out into these weak, subservient beings by the end of the book. These fallen angels are tough and remain so throughout the duration of the novel. Nyx, Persephone, and Ishtar were strong, dark, often evil, manipulative—pretty much everything you’d expect from an old god, or a fallen angel. But they were complex and interesting and really captured, for me, what it might feel like to be someone who’s been at the receiving end of God’s wrath, come out on the losing side, and is now beholden to an entity that they’re utterly opposite from. It’s also interesting how it works with the concept of “what is good and what is evil?” It’s all about perspective, really, and this book really makes you wonder about the whole subject—and who’s really to blame for the state of the world and the humans within it.
Another really strong point about this story was the fight scenes—they were awesome. I really felt like I was being pulled into the action. They were totally gripping and visceral; Kennedy really knows how to write these scenes—they never felt bogged down or tied on and each one was as enjoyable and thrilling to read about as the last.
Sex is a weapon in this book, absolutely. So, that being said, there is a lot of rape. I’m not particularly comfortable with the subject, as I find it to be utterly horrific, but I think it was utilized in such a way that it makes sense for the characters—these beings are denizens of hell, there’s no line for them. That being said, the attitude towards sexuality in general is very liberal. These are beings from heaven and hell, they live by a different set of rules, and sex definitely isn’t used in the same way as humans use it. And, if anything, it was utilized in such a way that it really highlighted the difference between the angels and humans (or highlighted humanities willingness to do whatever it takes in order to get ahead).
I really enjoyed the historical fiction aspect of this story as there was a lot of intermingling with historical characters and it was interesting to see how things played out with the fallen angels influencing the lives of these great characters. That being said, I think the strongest parts of the story were the scenes between Nyx and Tribunal and Nyx and her angels. The story was at its best when it was focused on the tale between the angels and the fallen angels and everything between the supernatural entities, it gets a little muddled when humans are thrown into the mix—and the direction of the story gets a little lost. Still, it was interesting and, I think, with a little more focus, it will be nearly perfect.
Honestly, I enjoyed this book. Was it perfect? No. But it was really entertaining and a very interesting take on a tale that’s been done to death. The middle dragged a bit for me, but the storytelling was interesting, unconventional, and kept me reading till the end. I think, over all, this book could have really benefitted from some more editing—specifically some typographical errors, or odd perspective shifts—but, for the most part, it didn’t take me out of the story too much.
I’m looking forward to reading the second in this series to see how things evolve and I can’t wait to see more from John Patrick Kennedy.

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