Reviewed by Sarina
TITLE: The Wind-Up Forest
SERIES: Archangel Chronicles #4
AUTHOR: L.J. LaBarthe
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 240 pages
RELEASE DATE: February 17, 2014
Sequel to No Shadows Fall
Archangel Chronicles: Book Four
Archangel Gabriel is hoping for a quiet period in his life to enjoy his relationship with Archangel Michael, but someone has other ideas.
New dangers arise when the Holy Grail is stolen. Gabriel, Michael, and the rest of the Brotherhood of Archangels and their allies must somehow thwart the twisted desires of the thief.
Their search for the Grail takes them all over the world, calling on old friends like Uriel and Raziel, and forging powerful new alliances. Though they face a fresh set of perils in pursuit of the thief, the enduring comfort Gabriel needs so much, that of his beloved Michael, never abandons him.
With the defeat and elimination of Semjaza, Michael and Gabriel are just really hoping for a period of peace and quiet so they can have some time to themselves. Unfortunately, the universe has other plans for the two Archangels as word reaches them that the Holy Grail, the relic helping to maintain the balance throughout all the realms, has been stolen. As the angels scramble to play catch up against their unknown foe, things are quickly beginning to deteriorate and it becomes painfully obvious that they don’t have as much time as they’d hoped to combat the shifting tides. When their enemy is revealed, however, it becomes readily apparent that things are much worse than even the angels could’ve imagined but it might just be the unexpected betrayal that deals the hardest blow.
With the ending of the previous book, I was really looking forward to getting into a new story arc and the theft of the Holy Grail was a different enough premise for this series that I jumped right into the book with a smile. The usual cast of characters all make a reappearance here from the Archangels themselves to the Archdemons and a host of secondary characters (some familiar, some new) to fill in the gaps. One group of new characters, the Venatores, were a welcome sight for me. This group of non-angels trained to fight against demons was introduced in a previous book but before now I hadn’t gotten to see them in action; I enjoyed the new dynamic this group brought to the story and how this added a new shifter element to the one already present.
The pacing was steady as always, and I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that the perpetrator was a complete unknown to me until the reveal. There were also enough stolen moments between the main characters to make me happy on the romance front. 🙂 The only thing I was a little disgruntled about was the lack of any real action in this installment. While I did enjoy the story, this book was basically one giant set up for the next one in the series as you mostly see information being gathered and allies being consolidated. Still, the series has been pretty solid so far and as there are quite a few mysteries yet to be solved (and with the action I’m hoping to see in the next book), I’m looking forward to seeing where the author takes the series from here.