The Angel

The Angel (The Original Sinners) - Tiffany Reisz My impressions or why I hated this book so muchWhy people write books? For as many reasons as there are writers I suppose. Some of them just want to tell a story – their story or an interesting story or a story that taught them something and can teach something the readers. Some of them want to share their experience to overcome some demons of their past. Some of them do it just to earn money, the more the better. There are two things that help you achieve the latter: sex and scandal. The series penned by Tiffany Reisz is guilty of both.The plot of the first book, The Siren, was practically a masterpiece compared to this one. There are too many subplots here and the author didn’t manage to interest me in any of them – not really. The final revelation as to who snitched on the saintly Søren made me shrug – it bordered conspiracy theories invented by Dan Brown in his hugely popular but nevertheless inane pseudo-novels. I found also a significant number of infodumps and the style of narration left a lot to be desired. But these are hardly my main grievances. The style is nothing compared to the topic and the characters straight from a blue magazine or a soap opera for horny teens. Let me include some caveats here. I know this is fiction. I understand how idealization play an important role of pulling readers into a book and making them forget the harsh world they live in and ugly faces they see every day. But, like in the case of The Siren, it really made me laugh how all the characters in the Angel were presented as ridiculously handsome/beautiful/perfect and they all somehow kept hanging out with equally handsome/beautiful people, having ridiculously and invariably wonderful sex with no consequences whatsoever. Sorry for being such an old grouch but I have to feel the characters and situations are to some extend realistic, otherwise I spend my time rolling my eyes too much – very bad for my wrinkles.While reviewing the first part, The Siren, I wrote that the novel was full of ‘but’ characters. Now I can be more precise. These characters are all cowards and pretenders – as simple as that. Nora pretends she is your ordinary erotica writer or, alternatively, an ordinary Catholic woman who attends Mass every Sunday dressed in conservative clothes. She never dares to expose her real self – a slutty dominatrix with as many kinks as there are fleas on a stray cat. It seems that being humiliated publicly in a BDSM club takes far less courage than telling your neighbours who you are and what you are and walk tall and proud. Overall both Nora and Søren manipulate others as well as each other. It may appear innocent and comedic, but in normal world it would be more dangerous than playing with fire. Søren just pretends he is a perfect priest with crystal clear conscience who can advise young couples before marriage, save depressed kids toying with suicide and generally take care of his “goody two-shoes” (Nora’s words, not mine) parishioners with a straight face. In my view he is too cowardly to say what he really thinks and show his real face because it would entail, God or rather Satan forbid, emerging from under the wings of that big, powerful institution of the Catholic Church. In other words he does nothing else but protects his shapely bottom from the harsh reality. With so many hypocrites small wonder this novel reads like a nightmare. Actually I completely agreed with Nora’s mother, a nun, when she brings up the point of Søren knowing what he was getting into when he became a priest. So, why now does he turn his back on a vow with no feelings of remorse? As a real person of faith, he is supposed to put God first. When you don’t do it there is some sense of remorse, and your conscience should go into overdrive. Let me also tell here that hundreds of priests every year leave the priesthood and the Catholic Church, trying to live as ordinary laypeople so it is perfectly doable. Not easy but still.Now a bit more about the content. There were plenty of horrible scenes in that one, just let me mention two which I found the worst. The first one concerns the childhood of Søren. We are told the reason why, according to his creator, he turned the way he is – a sadistic BDSM aficionado. We meet Elizabeth, the older sister of Søren, who confide in Susanna, a journalist investigating Søren’s possible misdemeanor; that good lady tells us and the curious reporter how she raped her younger brother in order to make him kill her. Yes, she wanted to commit a kind of ‘suicide by brother’; profiting from the fact that her little bro had been thrown out of a school exactly because he’d killed another boy during a failed rape attempt. You see, their common father was a monster, he used to rape little Elizabeth regularly (mind you we talk here about kids not older than 12) and that situation drove the girl to…another rape. How do you like this little story? Does it, in your opinion, hold water? Do you find it interesting or viable? Why do you think the author came out with something so sickly disgusting in the first place and wanted to share? I know I might sound mean but I suppose it was written for the sheer shocking value. In the first part there was a statutory rape. The next installment deserved something…more? Juicier? Uglier? More memorable? More repulsive? Ok, dear readers, here you have a nice little bundle: double incest, a triple rape, a suicide attempt, a murder. Satisfied? Yes, there is a method in this madness - in my opinion it was done deliberately to create a scandal and outrage. There is nothing better for the sales figures, you know, and the publishing market sets standards of shock higher and higher. The second scene is perhaps not as disgusting as the first one but nevertheless horrible for different reasons. Griffin with his newly-found love, 17-year-old Michael, arrives to that boy’s hometown to meet the rest of his family. You see, Griffin doesn’t do secret relationships and here in my opinion he is perfectly right – secrets sooner or later are bound to be used against you in the worst possible moment, it’s always better to stand up and be counted. Still Michael’s dad has been a nasty, ugly bully all Michael’s life and he tortured mentally his son just because he doesn’t tolerate homosexuals, let alone any variation of BDSM and Michael is a born submissive, a natural. Griffin, being the assertive and even aggressive dom, defends Michael and shows his obnoxious old man his place. He does so…by buying Michael from his father as if his young lover was a puppy or a horse or a used motorbike which took his fancy. Yes, he writes one big fat check, elegantly if not insultingly rounded to the tell-tale sum of 69 K, which is supposed to cover all childcare allowances Michael’s father had ever paid (Michael’s parents are divorced). It is supposed to make that man shut his trap and leave his angelic son in peace. Oh boy. Oh dear. Where is the logic? Where is the truth in it? Where is intelligence? Where is love?My first general remark: buying a person is really insulting and illegal; more often than not it backfires horribly. Paying a parent any amount of money so they stop pestering their kid is a waste of funds– a primitive, counterproductive, crude gesture which won’t solve any problems at all, more likely producing more of them in due time. Even if it is done with best possible intents it reeks of thoughtlessness and a complete lack of any perspective.Now Griffin is supposed to be a son of a super-rich, super-clever Stock Exchange guru so he should know everything there is to know about finances, investment and making fortune, right? Believe me or not but a man like him would never just hand down a check to somebody like Michael’s father. Not before annihilating that stupid bully with legalese and make him sign a ton of documents which would limit his ability to pester his son to the bare minimum, using a horde of brutal lawyers. Not to mention the fact that rich people stay rich just because they never pay if they don’t have to and when they actually agree to spend some money they only spend as much as really necessary. Paying Michael’s dad off and snatching his teenage son away wasn’t necessary and wasn’t wise. A sugar coated fairytale ending? Rather a recipe for a disaster - because in real world a 17-year-old ALWAYS knows what is best for him and ALWAYS takes great, mature decisions concerning his or her future right? And never ever regrets it? SighFinal verdict:I don’t recommend the Angel to any thinking, intelligent reader. I am not sure whether for my own sanity’s sake I should read the next part. Maybe I am mad enough. I must think it over for a while.