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Angela Mathers is obsessed with visions of angels, supernatural creatures who haunt her thoughts by day and seduce her dreams by night. Released from a mental institution, she hopes her new university, West Wood Academy, will give her the chance at a normal life.

But such is not to be. . . . For a secret coven plots within West Wood, and demons and angels alike walk the streets of Luz, searching for the key to open Raziel's book—a secret tome from a lost archangel. Some wish to destroy Raziel, others, like the Supernal Israfel, one of the highest of the high, to free him. For when the Archon rises as foretold, they will control the supernatural universe.

Torn between mortal love and angelic obsession, Angela holds the key to both Heaven and Hell, and both will stop at nothing to possess her. . . .

Topics: Angels and Witches

Published: HarperCollins on Dec 27, 2011
ISBN: 9780062069450
List price: $6.99
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Angela Mathers has not had the easiest childhood; she has extreme reactions to vivid dreams and can see angels. For Angela, seeing is believing and she once again takes it to an extreme. She decides to try to kill herself, hoping that she would be able to live in a world with angels-she mistakenly believes angels are only around and with the dead or dying. In the beginning of the book, the author explains much of the necessary background a reader would need to fully grasp the concepts of this novel. The action starts about a quarter into the novel. The reader will get inside Angela's head and begin to befriend her. Angela may not be a perfect character, but that is part of her appeal. She has a bit of a "devil-may-care" attitude at times and can be very reserved. The reader will have to "work on" Angela to truly grasp her personality. The other characters are all intriguing. Each has a very different quality or characteristic from the rest. The idea that their alliances are not set in stone and the secondary characters are actually thinking, rather than just remaining set in their opinion, is really unique. Readers will not find that quality in many other books. The plot of this book is intricate. A reader will have to pay close attention; however, if a reader is committed to reading this book, there shouldn't be any confusion. The book was a suspenseful paranormal fantasy with a tinge of romance. Archon is recommended to young adult/adult readers.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Review Courtesy of Dark Faerie TalesQuick & Dirty: A wild mix of angels and demons, each player having their own agendas, and the mortal with the power to destroy it all. LOTS of details and subplots to follow making this more political than romance in its presentation.Opening Sentence: “That’s an incredible painting.”The Review:This book turned out to be a hard read for me. There is an obscene amount of back story details and lots of little sub agendas for each character, that the overall story can get lost in the translation. I had to read it twice through in order to really appreciate Archon. This book, though worth it, will take a leap of faith on the reader’s part that things will begin to make some sense if you can just stick it out.Angela Mathers is apathetic to life. She has just been released from a mental institution and is about to start attending the Vatican’s prestigious West Wood Academy in Luz. Accepted into the Academy not only because of her exceptional paintings of angels, but because she may be the One prophesized as the Archon; the Supernal Raziel reincarnated as a mortal and possible Ruin of the known world. For someone not even interested in living, this seems far-fetched. All she knows is that her dreams are haunted by two beautiful angels and she is unable to kill herself no matter how many times she tries. But her personal concerns become unimportant with so many different people, demons, and angels testing her and speculating on whether she is the one they all have been waiting a millennia for.This is where most people are going to start to lose interest. There are too many different characters with too many agendas. Some want to see the Archon come into power, some would rather kill the Archon before she comes into her power. Is Angela the one foretold or isn’t she? Even at the end of the book, this fundamental question is still there. I have hopes that the series will start to make more sense as it progresses, because if the next book is like this one, I won’t continue reading it.Although each character is strong, they are all basically flawed; which makes them far more relatable. Stephanie Walsh is the queen of the school; full of confidence and attitude. But she is still chained to her adopted mother’s approval. Kim is the bad boy that Angela shouldn’t get involved with; but he is fragile emotionally and longs for Angela’s love. Even the Supernal Israfel, who is one of the top three elite angels, has vulnerabilities that make him seem more “human.” Each of the main characters has so much depth to them and too many secrets to do adequate justice to in this little book. It almost needs an additional 400 pages to fully explore each player’s background and rationality.The world itself is intoxicating. The City of Luz and its inhabitants are a major draw for me. An academy sponsored by the Vatican that encourages exploration of supernatural abilities outside their own Lexicon. I love all the little details of the dilapidated classrooms and dorms; how the townsfolk deal with murders like they are commonplace. Even the torrential and seemingly increasing violent weather are all indicative to the overall tension of the book. It is these details that help balance out the endless barrage of plots and subterfuge by the characters, helping the reader gage the mounting tension that is rising toward the climax of the story.One of the few things that I did not like about this book was Angela. At first, she is only going through the motions of life. She has no desire for anything other than her death. By the end of the book, she is looking forward to what is coming next in her life. So, where was the turning point for her having such a dramatic change of heart? Was it her sacrifice of her dreams to call up a spirit of an angel? Was it sleeping with her lover for the first time? Was it meeting the angel of her dreams and realizing that he is really not all she made him out to be? I’m not sure when it happens, but I am sure that it seems almost too drastic a change for it to be believable. It feels like Angela isn’t reacting faithfully to her essential character. I find it hard to relate to her as a person.So, what is the Archon anyway? I can’t give a good answer to that. There are so many different interpretations offered about the prophecy, that no one has been 100 % correct. I had hoped that it would become clearer at the end of the book but alas, it was not meant to be. Perhaps the next few books offer what has been teased in this first one; a decent explanation to what all of this stuff means. If you decide to take the plunge into Archon remember this: Don’t get caught up in the details and just let the book flow through you. If you do that, it makes it a much more enjoyable read.Notable Scene:I don’t care if I’m the Archon or not. I don’t have to open that damned Book to put Stephanie where she belongs.In Hell.She left the room, clattering down the steep staircase and along a hallway that emptied into the broken church. Angela splashed through the pebbles, hardly even giving a damn about her surroundings. Her brain burned like the stone around her neck, and it seemed to her that through that Eye, she could see the whole universe and everything in it, and how much it deserved to be in her hands rather than in those of a greedy, ignorant person like Stephanie.This is my world.Where was that thought coming from? It was the voice that had reminded her how to subdue Troy, and its pitch and tone was still like her own, but much more forceful. Briefly, Angela flashed back to that long-ago dream, when she’d stood before the angel who’d spoken to her so mysteriously.Now she remembered at least a fraction of what he’d said, though she wasn’t sure how much sense it made.For now, though, it seemed right to agree.This is my world. Time to enforce the rules.The Books of Raziel Series:1. ArchonFTC Advisory: HarperCollins provided me with a copy of Archon. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review. The only payment received came in the form of hugs and kisses from my little boys.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Many books draw the reader in and keep them turning the page making it hard to stop reading but this book almost seemed to push the reader out. The writing, especially at first, felt awkward and disjointed and I had to fight the impulse to give up reading it and move on to something else. I was curious about some of the passage like the prologue so I forced myself to stick with it and it did get better and more interesting, but it was not very well written imo. Some interesting ideas but it didn't seem to flow together very easily. The characters were confusing especially with them often being more than they appeared, either through reincarnation and/or possession, and sometimes it was difficult to keep straight who was who or what. The Supernals like Israfel were often described as so powerful that it seemed no human or even half-human could stand against them, They were described as being able to take a life with a thought and seemed able to mesmerize and control at their whim, yet at times much weaker characters seemed able to stand up to them in ways that didn't seem realistic if they had such enormous power. Some of the motivations of the characters were confusing as well, and it wasn't always clear why some of the characters were making the decisions they did or what their actual goal or reward was. Things didn't seem to be very well explained and I kept expecting things to become clearer the further I got into the book but it really didn't seem to happen. In fact, things seemed to become more muddled and confusing. That said, it was interesting and different and I did find myself thinking about it and wanting to see what was going to happen, so I didn't give it as low a rating as I might have with the way I felt at the start. I think it's one of those books that if a reader is curious about it they should give it a try and see if they want to make the effort to muddle through it. I'll be curious to see if the author settles in more and improves with the next book.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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Angela Mathers has not had the easiest childhood; she has extreme reactions to vivid dreams and can see angels. For Angela, seeing is believing and she once again takes it to an extreme. She decides to try to kill herself, hoping that she would be able to live in a world with angels-she mistakenly believes angels are only around and with the dead or dying. In the beginning of the book, the author explains much of the necessary background a reader would need to fully grasp the concepts of this novel. The action starts about a quarter into the novel. The reader will get inside Angela's head and begin to befriend her. Angela may not be a perfect character, but that is part of her appeal. She has a bit of a "devil-may-care" attitude at times and can be very reserved. The reader will have to "work on" Angela to truly grasp her personality. The other characters are all intriguing. Each has a very different quality or characteristic from the rest. The idea that their alliances are not set in stone and the secondary characters are actually thinking, rather than just remaining set in their opinion, is really unique. Readers will not find that quality in many other books. The plot of this book is intricate. A reader will have to pay close attention; however, if a reader is committed to reading this book, there shouldn't be any confusion. The book was a suspenseful paranormal fantasy with a tinge of romance. Archon is recommended to young adult/adult readers.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Review Courtesy of Dark Faerie TalesQuick & Dirty: A wild mix of angels and demons, each player having their own agendas, and the mortal with the power to destroy it all. LOTS of details and subplots to follow making this more political than romance in its presentation.Opening Sentence: “That’s an incredible painting.”The Review:This book turned out to be a hard read for me. There is an obscene amount of back story details and lots of little sub agendas for each character, that the overall story can get lost in the translation. I had to read it twice through in order to really appreciate Archon. This book, though worth it, will take a leap of faith on the reader’s part that things will begin to make some sense if you can just stick it out.Angela Mathers is apathetic to life. She has just been released from a mental institution and is about to start attending the Vatican’s prestigious West Wood Academy in Luz. Accepted into the Academy not only because of her exceptional paintings of angels, but because she may be the One prophesized as the Archon; the Supernal Raziel reincarnated as a mortal and possible Ruin of the known world. For someone not even interested in living, this seems far-fetched. All she knows is that her dreams are haunted by two beautiful angels and she is unable to kill herself no matter how many times she tries. But her personal concerns become unimportant with so many different people, demons, and angels testing her and speculating on whether she is the one they all have been waiting a millennia for.This is where most people are going to start to lose interest. There are too many different characters with too many agendas. Some want to see the Archon come into power, some would rather kill the Archon before she comes into her power. Is Angela the one foretold or isn’t she? Even at the end of the book, this fundamental question is still there. I have hopes that the series will start to make more sense as it progresses, because if the next book is like this one, I won’t continue reading it.Although each character is strong, they are all basically flawed; which makes them far more relatable. Stephanie Walsh is the queen of the school; full of confidence and attitude. But she is still chained to her adopted mother’s approval. Kim is the bad boy that Angela shouldn’t get involved with; but he is fragile emotionally and longs for Angela’s love. Even the Supernal Israfel, who is one of the top three elite angels, has vulnerabilities that make him seem more “human.” Each of the main characters has so much depth to them and too many secrets to do adequate justice to in this little book. It almost needs an additional 400 pages to fully explore each player’s background and rationality.The world itself is intoxicating. The City of Luz and its inhabitants are a major draw for me. An academy sponsored by the Vatican that encourages exploration of supernatural abilities outside their own Lexicon. I love all the little details of the dilapidated classrooms and dorms; how the townsfolk deal with murders like they are commonplace. Even the torrential and seemingly increasing violent weather are all indicative to the overall tension of the book. It is these details that help balance out the endless barrage of plots and subterfuge by the characters, helping the reader gage the mounting tension that is rising toward the climax of the story.One of the few things that I did not like about this book was Angela. At first, she is only going through the motions of life. She has no desire for anything other than her death. By the end of the book, she is looking forward to what is coming next in her life. So, where was the turning point for her having such a dramatic change of heart? Was it her sacrifice of her dreams to call up a spirit of an angel? Was it sleeping with her lover for the first time? Was it meeting the angel of her dreams and realizing that he is really not all she made him out to be? I’m not sure when it happens, but I am sure that it seems almost too drastic a change for it to be believable. It feels like Angela isn’t reacting faithfully to her essential character. I find it hard to relate to her as a person.So, what is the Archon anyway? I can’t give a good answer to that. There are so many different interpretations offered about the prophecy, that no one has been 100 % correct. I had hoped that it would become clearer at the end of the book but alas, it was not meant to be. Perhaps the next few books offer what has been teased in this first one; a decent explanation to what all of this stuff means. If you decide to take the plunge into Archon remember this: Don’t get caught up in the details and just let the book flow through you. If you do that, it makes it a much more enjoyable read.Notable Scene:I don’t care if I’m the Archon or not. I don’t have to open that damned Book to put Stephanie where she belongs.In Hell.She left the room, clattering down the steep staircase and along a hallway that emptied into the broken church. Angela splashed through the pebbles, hardly even giving a damn about her surroundings. Her brain burned like the stone around her neck, and it seemed to her that through that Eye, she could see the whole universe and everything in it, and how much it deserved to be in her hands rather than in those of a greedy, ignorant person like Stephanie.This is my world.Where was that thought coming from? It was the voice that had reminded her how to subdue Troy, and its pitch and tone was still like her own, but much more forceful. Briefly, Angela flashed back to that long-ago dream, when she’d stood before the angel who’d spoken to her so mysteriously.Now she remembered at least a fraction of what he’d said, though she wasn’t sure how much sense it made.For now, though, it seemed right to agree.This is my world. Time to enforce the rules.The Books of Raziel Series:1. ArchonFTC Advisory: HarperCollins provided me with a copy of Archon. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review. The only payment received came in the form of hugs and kisses from my little boys.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Many books draw the reader in and keep them turning the page making it hard to stop reading but this book almost seemed to push the reader out. The writing, especially at first, felt awkward and disjointed and I had to fight the impulse to give up reading it and move on to something else. I was curious about some of the passage like the prologue so I forced myself to stick with it and it did get better and more interesting, but it was not very well written imo. Some interesting ideas but it didn't seem to flow together very easily. The characters were confusing especially with them often being more than they appeared, either through reincarnation and/or possession, and sometimes it was difficult to keep straight who was who or what. The Supernals like Israfel were often described as so powerful that it seemed no human or even half-human could stand against them, They were described as being able to take a life with a thought and seemed able to mesmerize and control at their whim, yet at times much weaker characters seemed able to stand up to them in ways that didn't seem realistic if they had such enormous power. Some of the motivations of the characters were confusing as well, and it wasn't always clear why some of the characters were making the decisions they did or what their actual goal or reward was. Things didn't seem to be very well explained and I kept expecting things to become clearer the further I got into the book but it really didn't seem to happen. In fact, things seemed to become more muddled and confusing. That said, it was interesting and different and I did find myself thinking about it and wanting to see what was going to happen, so I didn't give it as low a rating as I might have with the way I felt at the start. I think it's one of those books that if a reader is curious about it they should give it a try and see if they want to make the effort to muddle through it. I'll be curious to see if the author settles in more and improves with the next book.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Although I read a lot of urban and paranormal fantasy, both YA and adult, the realm of angels was new territory for me. I'm not entirely sure if it is my lack of experience in this sub genre or just this particular book but I found Archon, the first book of The Books of Raziel series, to be completely confusing. I never felt like I understood the world that Angela and the other characters inhabited. I didn't understand the rules, the prophecy, and even what was actually taking place at times. While it seemed that Benulis often provided details about the physical setting, the best mental picture that I could get was that everything was gloomy and falling apart. I never connected to the characters either. I had trouble distinguishing the good guys from the bad guys even when characters were labeled angel or demon. It seemed that everyone was simply out to destroy the earth and rule over everything or merely wanted to indulge their own selfish desires. The true motivations behind the characters' actions were often hidden in the midst of the chaotic events and manipulation of others seemed to be the main goal. While Angela was the central character of the story I never felt that I understood her any better than any of the other characters. I simply didn't care what really happened to any of them. It is also difficult to say what actually happens in this book. While the action and killing seemed to be non-stop, I didn't really see the point in most of it. At the end it felt like very little had actually changed for the characters who survived. The ending definitely has the feel of the first book in the series, as there are so many unanswered questions, but I'm not going to struggle through another book in the series to try to actually understand what is going on. If I had not received this book through the Amazon Vine program, I would not have read all the way to the end.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Like others, I was drawn in by the beautiful cover art and the exciting description about a dead archangel being reborn as a human. Ultimately, I was left disappointed. This could have been a fantastic book! The mythology is a clever reworking of angels and demons, with many new ideas to bring it to the next level and make it unique and interesting. I loved the clever twists regarding the Devil and Raziel's book. I also appreciated that the author didn't have pages and pages of information dumping. I prefer being thrown into the world-building and picking it up as I go along. The story is set in the city of Luz, run by the Vatican (though it is never clear if this is part of our world, or a new one). Angela has been dreaming of, and painting, two angels since she was small. The one comes through clear, and divinely beautiful. The other is more abstract and subtly menacing. These dreams are what supposedly motivate her. Only, Angela never comes across as motivated about anything except regret that she can't seem to kill herself. And therein lies the major downfall of this novel - poor characterization. Like so many reviewers, I didn't like ANY of the characters. Worse, I didn't even hate any of them. I just did not care. Characters shouldn't be solidly black or white hats, I get that. Complexity makes for interesting people. However, I do need a side to root for, or against - and I need the characters to be developed. Angela spends most of the novel pining that she can't kill herself and be with the beautiful angel in her dreams. All her actions are like going through the motions of living. Only, she is going through the motions of a plot. None of the characters are three dimensional. There's Kim, who is more than he seems and has been searching for the Archon a long time. Angela has sex with him, but there is no relationship (let alone a romance). She is drawn to the mysterious Sophia, but again, no real connection. Angela's nemesis Stephanie is just a typical, power-hungry "mean girl" who Angela can't even bring herself to hate because she matters so little. Even the angels and demons fall flat. I have read stories before where angels are not the gentle, wise beings of lore. They are contemptuous and dismissive of mankind because we are beneath them - but they have motivation, personality, charisma. These do not.In addition to the problems with characterization, there really isn't a plot. Don't get me wrong, there is a lot of movement in the story, even action. Angela encounters angels, demons, Jinn, half-breeds and more on the journey to discovering she is the Archon (not really a spoiler since it's in the description). She faces her enemies, flees from danger, investigates (sort of). But, the underlying foundation is never built - why does Raziel need to be reborn as this messiah-like Archon? Is there an imbalance in the universe? Should he not have died? I have no idea, and with no one to connect with, plot it vital. Overall, I am left torn over this book. The mythology was so interesting and engaging, it kept me reading to the very end. And I would like to know more. But I just don't care about any of these characters. I'm still not sure if I would read a sequel...
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
When I first read Daughter of the Blood by Anne Bishop, I found myself on shaky ground. I'm an extremely visual reader, creating scenes and characters in my head as I read the words on a page. I picture everything. With the first book in the Black Jewel's Trilogy, however, I had trouble seeing the world the author had created in my mind's eye. I can't explain why, just that it's so. Perhaps it was the way the author jumped right into the story and took off running. It was the same for me with Archon by Sabrina Benulis. And yet both books captivated me, drawing me into their worlds. Even when I wasn't reading, I felt a little like I had one foot in the book and the other in reality. I love it when a book has that effect on me.Set in Luz, a city on the cusp of all that is holy and hell, the novel is about a damaged young woman who wants nothing more than to die. Only she can't. Every attempt she makes ends in failure. Haunted by visions of angels, Angela longs to join them. She is sure she will find answers at the Vatican's exclusive university in Luz.A prophecy foretelling the end of the world warns of the coming of the Ruin or Archon. The Archon is believed to be the reincarnation of the once powerful angel, Raziel. Angela is one of many who fit the description of this alleged Ruin with her red hair, pale skin and mystical powers. Considered freaks of society and ostracized, the blood heads are both feared and hated.Angela becomes the target of a particularly nasty sorority leader who will stop at nothing to prove that she, Stephanie, is the Archon. Soon Angela finds herself at the center of the struggle between Heaven and Hell--where good and evil are blurry at best and where the likely outcome is life or death.Despite my initial difficulty picturing Luz, I found Archon to be an intense and entertaining book. The characters were fascinating--flawed and mysterious, beautiful and yet ugly. The whole evil versus good came into play time and time again and was upended just as many times throughout the book. It was hard not to feel sympathy for even the darkest of characters. Angela, the main protagonist, is a strong young woman despite her insecurities. She shows courage and decisiveness when she most needs it. And yet clearly she is quite damaged, having been terribly abused as a child because of her blood head status.The angels in Archon are more like the ones in the television show Supernatural than they are from the show Touched by an Angel. The angels are prideful and self-centered, having their own agenda that doesn't always include the humans. It makes it all the more interesting. I confess I didn't see the allure of any of the angels really. Sure they were beautiful, but their personalities left a lot to be desired.Of all the characters, the one that I was most drawn to was Sophia. She is a mystery right from the start. Kim, too, was an especially interesting character. He and Angela seemed well suited for each other. I was never quite sure of Kim or Sophia--where their loyalties lied. Both are still a bit of a mystery and I hope to learn more about them in future books.It's hard to believe this is a debut novel. The author expertly weaves the characters and their stories together. There are several moments throughout the book that left me holding my breath, afraid of what was to come and yet dying to know what would happen. I picked up Archon to read on a whim and am so glad I did. It was an exciting read and I look forward to seeing what else Sabrina Benulis has to offer. I just hope she doesn't take too long!
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