Joint Review – Wings of Redemption (Return to Sanctuary #0.5) by Sarah Gilman

16126047Publisher: Entangled
Publish Date: Out now
How we got this book: ARC from the publisher

Humans and archangels don’t mix on the best occasions. When Saffron Morin goes to the gates of the demon colony, Eden, in search of her sister, she meets an archangel who is curious one minute and hostile the next, and she ends up the colony’s “guest” against her will.

Kestrel’s archangel psychic talent tells him the human woman’s life is in danger. Despite her family’s association with poachers who hunt archangels for their valuable feathers, he vows to save her life. Enemies by birth, lovers by choice, they give in to growing attraction as days pass.

Even if he succeeds in saving her life, he must hurt her to protect others of his kind, and he may not be able to live with himself after a betrayal he has no choice but to commit. In order to find redemption, the Collector’s daughter and an archangel must first find each other.

This blurb came from Goodreads.

 

 

 

 

 

E: I don’t remember exactly why I requested this to review but I think it was the combination of the cover image and the blurb. I thought the idea of human and archangel, hunter and hunted, and the play on the name of the colony were intriguing. Beyond that I wasn’t quite sure what to expect and I don’t think I could have predicted most of what did occur. Gilman created a rather interesting world with archangels treated like rare trophy game despite their powers, demons (I am really curious about them), and humans who if not openly supporting the “collectors” didn’t openly oppose them either.

Has: I was also intrigued with the premise and I really liked the idea of archangels being targeted for their feathers by poachers. I also liked that Saffron and her sister, came from a family of poachers even though they were actually photographers who wanted to take pictures of archangels which were just as rare as archangels feathers.

E: Siblings have been known to do some interesting and potentially dangerous things in the name of love. Saffron did not prove to be an except to that list. Part of a well-known poaching family, she ventured into the woods by the demon colony trying to rescue her sister. She thought she would be able to hide her family relationships just long enough to mount a one-woman rescue. Instead she became an unwilling/unwelcome guest threatened with torture on a fairly regular basis. I thought Saffron’s family loyalty was a nice trait to see even when it caused her a lot of mental distress. I enjoyed how she was able to figure out a way to resolve a few things at great personal cost but without crossing that final line and betraying herself.

Has: I really liked that opening scene which hits out with a bang when Saffron demands her sister’s release because she suspects her being held against her will in the colony. The world-building was also interesting with the way demons were the guardians of the archangels. Although I would have liked more expansion to their backstory because it was good twist with the angels and demons mythos. However, even though the angels all each had a unique power and were guarded the demons, I didn’t fully get why they were so easily hunted and killed but I hope this gets expanded upon more later in the series.

E: YES I want more demons, in a literary sense that is, because it seemed to be a really interesting relationship developed over time. I also found it fascinating that archangels were so vulnerable, again a sharp contrast from most western influenced beliefs. I enjoyed seeing the mental conflict Kestrel experienced as he set himself up to be rescuer, guard, confidant, and yet also in a position to ensure the safety of his people regardless of the cost to Saffron. I think how he resolved that particular conflict was most intriguing and certainly generated a wealth of emotions during the process.

Has: I also found the romance, to be pretty cute and sweet although the story kicked up in pace and tone in the second half for me. Despite the strong start of the beginning, I found the pace a bit bogged down and I couldn’t warm up to Saffron as a character, although later in the story as the romance progressed it got better for me. But I did like the romance between Kestrel and Saffron, and the subplot involving his power and how that affected her brought an absorbing dynamic to the plot. I also liked how the supporting characters added more colour and depth to the world and story and I was interested in a couple of characters who I hope will have their own books in the future.

E: The romance was sweet and never became too sappy but I wanted more. I needed more depth, more backstory, and more external conflict. I enjoyed Kestrel’s power and its interesting developments but he never employed it in an active sense but let it use him. It really took until the last third or quarter of the story for Saffron and Kestral to start influencing their world again instead of floating along with the various currents and eddies. That being said, I did find several nuggets that kept me reading and curious about this world. As unexpected as this read turned out to be, I am rather curious to see what Gilman is able to do with a longer installment.
I give Winds of Redemption a B-/C.

Has: Overall, this was a fun set-up novella with a compelling world, and I am a sucker for angels and demons which Gilman has created a cool mythology. While I would have liked a faster pace, and more expansion to the backstory and characters, the romance was cute and enjoyable and this was a good set-up for a series.

I give Winds of Redemption a C

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