Reviewed by Sarina
TITLE: The Crystal Lake
SERIES: Archangel Chronicles #5
AUTHOR: L.J. LaBarthe
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 260 pages
RELEASE DATE: April 14, 2014
The thief of the Grail has been identified and the Brotherhood of Archangels is moving to counter her evil machinations. But as demons flock to the side of the thief and betray Hell, monsters are enslaved and shifters and an angel turn traitor. The love between Gabriel and Michael is tested as they join the rest of the Brotherhood on the trail of Naamah. Danger makes strange bedfellows in the form of Lucifer, the Archdemons, and Lilith. A traitor lurks among the angels and humans, and the Venatores are discovering vital new information. Lovers Liam, a Necromancer, and Baxter, a shifter working for Michael’s Venatores unit, must face not just the living but the dead. Archangels Raziel and Uriel contend with demands on Raziel’s power that wear him to the brink of exhaustion. The Brotherhood will need all their strength to prevail against the threats surrounding them.
Continuing from where The Wind Up Forest ended, the clock is ticking as the forces of Heaven and Hell work towards preventing the destruction of the balance between the realms. With Naamah now identified as the perpetrator, the Archangels and their allies are scrambling to collect information on the theft of the Holy Grail. Intel is difficult to come by, however, and the effects from the desecration of the Grail are widespread and getting worse. With time running out, and an unknown traitor in their midst, it will take a near miracle to prevent the utter chaos that Naamah is planning to unleash.
I find myself oddly addicted to this series and I have no regrets. 😀 I can say that I’m really grateful for the glossary of key individuals that is provided at the beginning of each book because with every new addition to the cast of these stories, I sometimes need a little help to keep them all straight! There was a lot of information to absorb in this book from several different directions as various groups of characters are sent on different missions throughout the story. I liked that the author is using so many different characters instead of leaving all the heavy lifting to Michael and Gabriel; it allowed for a nice diversity in the situations and I enjoy reading about the different couples and groups.
Much like in the previous book, the focus of The Crystal Lake was information gathering and moving the plot along towards the inevitable confrontation with Naamah. Things moved along at a good pace and even though there wasn’t much in the way of action until the end, I still enjoyed the story itself and the development I got to see with some of the lesser known characters. Sex was, as always, a nice bonus but in no way a focal point of the book; I actually like that you get to see the sweeter ‘couple moments’ between the various pairs more than the sexy times.
Overall I’m still enjoying this series and this was a good read. I’m looking forward to the next book as the confrontation with Naamah is coming up and, more importantly, (for me anyway) the identity of the traitor should be revealed. I may have huffed a little bit when I realized the author was going to make me wait for that little tidbit of information. I’d recommend this book to anyone that enjoys paranormal or books with angels and demons in them. This series builds on itself, however, so you really should start at the beginning instead of jumping right in.