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Archon: The Books of Raziel by Sabrina Benulis
Review by Harriet Klausner
Harper Voyager Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780062069405
Date: 27 December 2011 List Price $22.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Angels have haunted Angela Mathers for years whether she is asleep or awake. In fact her dark visions led to her spending two years at a mental health care facility that she believes did her no good. Her only relief from her vivid depressing dreams is when she paints these angels that haunt her 24/7. They are not for sale though she has had offers, as she needs them by her side.

Desperate for some solace, Angela becomes a student at the Vatican's West Wood Academy on the isolated isle of Luz. However, she knows that desire to live a normal life is not doable for her, as she is visibly a blood head with dark red hair. Some at the academy say she is the prophesied reincarnation of the dead angel, Raziel; known as the Archon who will serve as the Angels' tool to change the universe and probably as a side effect destroy humanity. At the school her reciprocated attraction to Kim has the angry witch Stephanie plotting to destroy her; neither female is aware a serial killing essence owns Kim. Meanwhile Angela quickly realizes that the West Wood Academy has not provided this beleaguered blood head student the harmonious respite she yearns for.

Although the story line rotates perspective (too many players providing their viewpoint leading to early confusion), Angela is the prime protagonist as she paints a depressing gloomy atmosphere of foreboding doom. Readers will sympathize with her plight as she goes from the fire (mental institution) into the frying pan (West Wood Academy), but the lack of a full history diminishes the audience's caring as we need background to better understand her soul. No other character comes across as three dimensional as the angels and most of the students (except the enemy witch and the boyfriend) respectively seem interchangeable.

The story line is a gothic urban fantasy as the island of Luz with its academy contains all the typical dark elements especially the foreboding doom and gloom enhanced in this case by the amoral (in terms of human values) supernatural. Although the apocalyptic story line takes a long to time to merge into an understandable tale, young adult readers will enjoy Angela's lament as Sabrina Benulis successfully paints an extremely dark world in which angels have a different belief system than the mortals they manipulate.

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