Experiments in Ontological Relativism

and Other Brain Farts

Review – Angelology, by Danielle Trussoni

Posted by Jason on August 13, 2010

As promised, here’s another review. This one’s a bit longer… but then, so was the novel!

Also, what do you think of the reviews? Should I do more? Less? Other?

Angelology, by Danielle Trussoni

Cover of Angelology, by Danielle TrussoniThere are lots of kinds of logic floating around in our brains. There’s the true/false of Boolean logic, sure, but there’s also narrative logic, musical logic, and, for many of us, a big dose of movie logic. This novel contains an awful lot of movie logic.

First, the good: the plot overall is pretty interesting and presents some good mysteries and action. The characters are pretty likeable, and I enjoyed reading about them. There’s also obviously a lot of research that went into writing this book, and it showed. In fact, the parts relating to real-world angelology and history were some of my favorites in the novel.

But it reads like a first-draft script of a summer blockbuster movie. The characters often do things and react in ways that don’t entirely make sense for your average person, but are the kinds of things that happen on-screen all the time. Characters who are otherwise pretty intelligent seem to never question some very outlandish claims, and sometimes it seems that the characters know everything the reader has found out, regardless of whether the character has had a chance to get that information or not. I think the thing that irked me most, though, is the Hollywood-style sequel hook ending. I’m not really a fan of stories that don’t end organically, and the ending feels a little cheated to me.

There are some structural problems that don’t really get in the way of enjoying the book, but I feel like they could have been tighter. There’s a large flashback that takes up a good chunk of the book, interrupting the main action. The book also seems to be billed as a mystery, but really you find out the answers pretty early on, and then it goes into thriller/chase territory. Not necessarily a bad thing, just not what I was expecting. There’s also a very episodic structure to the second half of the book. Event X happens, gets resolved, you feel like things are over. Then it leads into event Y, which has its own setup, action, and conclusion. Again, not really bad, just felt a little disjointed to my tastes.

Still, despite all the flaws, I still enjoyed reading it, and I’ll probably also read the inevitable sequel. I think most of my problems with the book were because I expected something a little different than what the author was giving me.

If you like blockbuster-style thriller movies (and hey, nothing wrong with that!) then you’ll probably enjoy reading this one.

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3 Responses to “Review – Angelology, by Danielle Trussoni”

  1. I’m NOT going to read this review because I have this book waiting to be read on my bookshelf at home and I don’t want to know if it sucks or if it’s great but I will come back here when I have read it to read what you wrote.

    • Jason said

      Please do! I’ll be very interesting in comparing opinions after you’ve read it. I found it to be a surprisingly quick read, despite the length.

      • I bought it when it first came out and it’s been sitting there patiently waiting for me to read it when I get to it. Trussoni is from Wisconsin. She wrote a memoir Falling Through The Earth a few years ago that was, I believe, a New York Times Notable book. I will SO let you know when I finally get to it.

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