Flaming Dove is a post apocalyptic dark fantasy novel by Daniel Arenson.
Outcast from Hell. Banished from Heaven. Lost on Earth.
The battle of Armageddon between the angels of Heaven and the minions of Hell was finally fought... and ended with no clear victor. Upon the mountain, the armies of Hell and Heaven beat each other into a bloody, uneasy standstill, leaving the Earth in ruins. Armageddon should have ended with Heaven winning, ushering in an era of peace. That's what the prophecies said. Instead, the two armies--one of angels, one of demons--hunker down in the scorched planet, lick their wounds, and gear up for a prolonged war with no end in sight.
In this chaos of warring armies and ruined landscapes, Laila doesn't want to take sides. Her mother was an angel, her father a demon; she is outcast from both camps. And yet both armies need her, for with her mixed blood, Laila can become the ultimate spy... or ultimate soldier. As the armies of Heaven and Hell pursue her, Laila's only war is within her heart--a struggle between her demonic and heavenly blood.
Flaming Dove was to be fair quite a surprise, I really wasn't expecting something of this quality from an author I hadn't previously heard of. The premise is great, after the human apocalypse followed by an actual Armageddon with Angels descending from the Heavens and Demons rising from the pits the human race is now a seriously endangered species with just pockets of survivors. The Angels and Demons own the land now and continue to battle for the right to claim the planet. The two sides are depicted in the archytpal way, angels are glowing figures with swanlike wings while demons are all fire and brimstone with teeth and claw.
So this is a post-apocalyptic novel with a difference, the distinct absence of humanity, it's a very interesting idea and works surprisingly well with a fast plot, plenty of epic battles and lots of destruction. Pile on some complex characters with even more complex relationships that blur the lines between good and evil, heaven and hell and you get a really polished story that's told very well.
Daniel Arenson has a very nice way of spinning a tale, managing to keep the subject matter lively and fun, even when discussing dark concepts with very well crafted prose. I particularly like the Beelzebub character, a fallen angel who has taken over as the Lord of Hell, he's smart, deceitful and dangerous but with a real soft spot for the ladies, he also manages to subtly undermine the whole kingdom of heaven as being controlled by a strict diety and existing almost as a communist style state. All the main characters have many layers and there are a number of inner monologues that break up the story very well.
The fight scenes are great, well crafted and nicely detailed with explosive angel versus demon fights. The fluid writing style lends itself very well to the fast plot and action oriented storyline and the book is just simply a thoroughly engaging joy to read. The main character herself, Laila is a richly complicated individual, with a halfblood mix of angel and demon, constantly torn between two worlds and feared by both.
Flaming Dove is an energetic, fun and fluid tale of Armageddon gone wrong, with richly crafted prose and engaging, larger than life characters, recommended.
Written on Sunday 28th November 2010 by Antony Jones.
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