Imagine your reaction if the Archangel Gabriel appeared before you and announced that he was your father, and that you’re half Archangel. Not half angel. Half Archangel.
Would that create a little upheaval in your world?
When Julia Samson, the main character in Michelle L. Johnson’s new novel Divinity meets her father – yep, that’s Gabriel, the Archangel — Julia is pointed down a path that seems pre-determined, or least Gabriel and the other Archangels think it is. Julia, however, has overcome many challenges in her 30-some years on Earth. She’s not going let angels suddenly tell her who she is and what she’s supposed to do.
Johnson has created a great cast of characters, discarding the traditional angel persona in favor of a fresh, less powerful and more human, group of Archangels. They have a non-traditional purpose too, assigned to keep the Earth simply balanced instead of pure and good. That leaves lots of room for error and disagreement among the Archangels, and it’s clear Michael, the so-called leader of the Archangels, doesn’t have much control over his team. We meet Archangels who are stubbornly independent, manipulative, and each working his or her own agenda based on different perceptions of what balance is.
There’s something evil in this book, as you might expect, but in Divinity Johnson completely discards the traditional devil and demons-from-Hell as evil concept. She gives us instead a dark and powerful force called the A’nwel that the Archangels have never before encountered, something they can’t see or feel, and something that makes them genuinely afraid. The Archangels are vulnerable, almost human, in their response to the A’nwel. They turn to Julia because only she can see what it is, even if she’s not yet ready to face it.
The earthly cast is equally diverse, though not always truly earth-bound, and Julia’s understanding of her life and half-human, half-angel nature forces her to revisit every important relationship in life since birth.
Johnson weaves the large cast of characters around Julia as she searches for answers, all wrapped up in a multi-level universe of Earth, a level where the Archangels live that is definitely not Heaven, a mid-level that provides a great setting for several scenes, and wherever it is the A’nwel comes from.
The story weaves skillfully back and forth in time as Julia searches through her past, uncovering surprises and gaining fresh hope, while at the same time discovering her powers as an angel and searching for the A’nwel. We also move freely among the levels of Julia’s world, learning to flow between Earth, the middle level, and the higher level just as she does.
At the center of it all is Julia, and what the makes the book truly work are the complex relationships that evolve. Julia’s boyfriend Alex, his mother, and her closest friend Charlie, anchor her Earthly presence. Michael mentors her as she learns about her angel side, while her father, Gabriel, remains distant and aloof, confusing and hurting her.
Of course, Julia must deal with the A’nwel, even if she isn’t sure what it is or if it’s evil. The hunt for the A’nwel is artfully weaved into the plot as well, and the “final” confrontation forces Julia to act. Exactly how would be a spoiler, though I will tell you the 300-word epilogue will send a shiver down your spine and leave you wanting more.
To Buy Divinity:
Amazon (Book and Kindle) http://amzn.to/XRehSz
Barnes and Noble (Book and Nook) http://bit.ly/1sbGpOb
Michelle L. Johnson on the Internet:
Author Website: http://www.michelleljohnson.us/
Categories: Book Reviews, Commentary, Michael's Recent Writing
Reblogged this on Magical things. Beautiful things. and commented:
I really love this review which breaks it all down without any spoilers, so I had to share!