Title: Familiar Angel
Author: Amy Lane
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 200 Pages
Category: Urban Fantasy
At a Glance: As romances go, Harry and Suriel were quite magical, but overall, this book was a bit too fast and loose with world building and timeline structuring to make it a top-notch story.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: One hundred and forty years ago, Harry, Edward, and Francis met an angel, a demon, and a sorceress while escaping imprisonment and worse! They emerged with a new family—and shapeshifting powers beyond their wildest dreams.
Now Harry and his brothers use their sorcery to rescue those enslaved in human trafficking—but Harry’s not doing so well. Pining for Suriel the angel has driven Harry to take more and more risks until his family desperately asks Suriel for an intervention.
In order for Suriel to escape the bindings of heaven, he needs to be sure enough of his love to fight to be with Harry. Back when they first met, Harry was feral and angry, and didn’t know enough about love for Suriel to justify that risk. Can Suriel trust in Harry enough now to break his bonds of service for the boy who has loved his Familiar Angel for nearly a century and a half?
Review: I have loved many of Amy Lane’s stories and while this one, Familiar Angel, had much going for it, I must say that I often felt as though I was running behind the story trying to catch up to it. Let me begin with a quick recapping and some highlights that I really enjoyed about this novel, overall.
Harry and his two “brothers” have been, essentially, enslaved in a brothel, and at the mercy of an abusive psychopath named Big Cass, for far too long. Harry is ill but still does everything he can to shield both Edward and Francis from Cass. While trying to escape, they meet Emma, a sorceress who is trying to retrieve her lover from hell. Using the three boys as vessels to hide her magic, she also gives them shape-shifting abilities, and more. Over the next 140 years, this small family makes it their mission to save others who are being trafficked for sex. Now, in modern times, Harry comes face-to-face with his past—Cass—long thought dead but somehow reincarnated due to Harry’s deep-seated fears of the man, and the past he shares with him.
Because of Cass and his abuse, Harry thought he had lost all his faith, his trust in others, and in love. But the angel, Suriel, the same one who helped the boys and Emma so long ago, has always been there to save Harry, and now has more to offer him—his love. But loving Harry comes at a great price to Suriel. Not only will it mean he must break his bond with heaven and survive the torture that entails, but he will also become human like Harry. Harry must decide if he can let go of his past, his fears, and place his trust in Suriel and the love he has to offer.
If there was one outstanding element in this story, it was the relationship between Harry and Suriel. You could literally feel their connection jumping off the page at you; theirs was a beautiful romance that made the heart ache for more, and drew you into the story when it seemed so difficult to maintain a link to the action. When I felt as though I had lost my way in the storyline, because it seemed as though I had been thrown in to the middle of the action, it was the exchanges between Harry and Suriel that would ground me and remind me how beautiful this book really could be.
Unfortunately, all too often I felt as though I was missing vital backstory, that pieces of the plot had already been told but left out of this novel, which led to the feeling that I was always a step behind the action that was currently happening on the page. Those 140 years that went by with the turn of a page should have informed the drama that was unfolding. Instead, I had no idea of what had happened to cause the current dilemma the boys found themselves in. Consequently, I felt that the story itself was lacking and that I never really got a complete grasp on who these boys were and what all they had endured at the hands of Cass, or how it had influenced who they had become in adulthood.
In the end, Familiar Angel relied too much on the reader concentrating on just the love story aspect, and being okay with a rather murky and unfinished storyline. I am hoping that we may get the stories of Edward and Francis in future novels, and with them, a clearer picture of the brothers’ past lives. Until then, I can say that as romances go, Harry and Suriel were quite magical, but overall, this book was a bit too fast and loose with world building and timeline structuring to make it a top-notch story.
You can buy Familiar Angel here: