FF’s Star Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Scions of Azazyel: War in Heaven by Robert Kenneth Wheeler Jr. is a full on fictional brew of Christian, Greek, and Norse mythology, along with a tremendous assortment of fantastical creatures. I rarely find a book to read about angels and demons and this book certainly saw to that hankering of mine.
The secret to the location of the fallen Archangel Azazyel’s prison lies within Angelica and Jonah, sister and brother and Azazyel’s direct descendants, who are sent on a quest by none other than the Archangel Gabriel. Transported out of Atlanta and into the town of Nome, Alaska by Gabriel after encountering supernatural threats, Angelica and Jonah are instructed to find one Atenerk Sangliak and retrieve the Rod of God. Soon to accompany them are Alaskan natives and a gnome named Atungitok. The time to prepare for the Battle of Armageddon has come and the retrieval of the Rod of God from a half-dwarf gnome chief is only the beginning of their quest.
In Wheeler’s world, there are twelve Archangels, called the “Sons of the Morning.” From the oldest to the youngest, the list of Archangels goes as follows: the twins Satan and Sandalphon (the latter worshiped as Odin), the twins Raziel and Jophiel (worshiped as Zeus and Poseidon), Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Zadkiel, Camael, Sachiel, and Azazyel.
It is an odd thing to see Christian mythology blended with anything else. What Wheeler did was truly original, something that I’m pretty confident that most fantasy fans have never seen before. And that is to thoroughly explore the possibility that perhaps, there could be such a thing as a third kind of fully fledged angel. When Satan rebelled, there are those that fought for his dark cause and those that fought for God. The author gives us neutral angels, angels that chose not to take up arms against Satan, and uses the word Nephilim to make the existence of many mythological beings believable. He goes on further to quote from the Bible and other sources to help with the story he’s telling.
Thanks to Gabriel and Raphael, we also learn about such things as how the Mark of Cain led to the birth of the vampires and how the Norse god Odin came to loose his eye. The effort that the author put into making this book as interesting and unique as possible hasn’t been for naught because I loved every minute of it. The whole world he created seemed plausible, like all the gods, beings, and monsters as well as the realms beneath our very Earth could very well be real. Angelica and Jonah’s journey begins on Earth, but we see them travel deep beneath the Earth through the mythological Norse nine realms. I enjoyed going through all of these different places and it was always a pleasure to reach a brand new destination.
One realm I enjoyed being taken to was that of the fairies, and it is just before they enter this magical place that Gabriel tells Raphael that they “need to begin training the Nephilim to enhance their powers.” Something unexpected happens to Jonah after entering the faerie realm that I could not have predicted. This unpredictability of this novel is what readers will love the most. I, for one, was unable to predict a thing correctly.
Angelica and Jonah are both in possession of items with special properties. While both Angelica and Jonah have special amulets, they are in possession of other items too. Since the death of her parents, Angelica has lost faith in God. As their quest evolves, Angelica will have to find that faith again if she is to use the Ring of Solomon. Her brother, Jonah, is the smart one; his enthusiasm for information makes him stand apart from every other character. Even more so when that something unexpected happens.
The original company that we meet in the beginning experiences a loss when one of the Inupiaq members of their group gets killed. Soon after that, besides Gabriel and Raphael, they are joined by a dwarf prince named Hammerhand who wants to prove that he is deserving of the name that he’s been given and this quest is the only way for him to do that. There is tension between Hammerhand and Atungitok because dwarves and gnomes do not get along and these two made me laugh a lot. In Asgard, after an entertaining physical collision between the company and Thor – the latter puts up one heck of a fight might I add – these two are forced to share a room. In unison, they state: “You have got to be kidding me!”
“I don’t know who Gabriel is…” This is from Angelica in the second chapter in the book. I didn’t find it believable that someone who has lost faith in God doesn’t know who Gabriel is. Surely, she must have heard mention of the Archangel at some point in her life. In Chapter 13, the author writes that Lamech, the world’s first vampire, “took his time letting the warm, salty blood fill his mouth as he swallowed over and over.” Lamech is drinking a character named Lillith’s blood. I don’t drink blood, but I’m sure most readers would want the author to also mention the iron-like taste of the blood in this instance.
There is nothing like being mentally placed in the presences of terrifying beasts and benevolent beings like gods and angels and Robert Kenneth Wheeler Jr. is very good at that. Nope, he is great at that! The atmosphere of this book is not dark, but like that of any fantasy novel about a team of heroes journeying to wondrous places while facing their own obstacles along the way. You should read this if novels about angels and demons don’t usually entice you. This one will put a spell on you until you have come to the last page.
Date Published: August 16, 2017
Genre: Mythology & Folk Tales
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