Angel Town (Jill Kismet)
I’m not usually one who likes blatant and violent action in my novels, but sometimes a simple shoot-‘em-up is just what the doctor ordered. And Lilith Saintcrow’s books always fit that bill. The Jill Kismet series is going out with a bang in Angel Town, a story that pits good against evil in a final explosive showdown.
(Description nicked from B&N.com.)
“She wakes up in her own grave. She doesn’t know who put her there, she doesn’t know where she is, and she has no friends or family.
She only knows two things: She has a job to do: cleansing the night of evil. And she knows her name.
Readers shouldn’t go into this book expecting an incredibly deep plot and intricate characters. There is a story, but it revolves almost solely around the power struggle between Jill and the demon Perry, to whom Jill is inextricably linked. Most of the big plot points were brought forth in the previous novel, Heaven’s Spite, which stands as the series’ best book. Since this novel is essentially the second part of Heaven’s Spite, it’s hard to review it in isolation.
There are some revelations about Perry’s relationship to Jill’s teacher Mikhail, and about certain other characters from the series, but mainly what you see here is Jill taking an unholy amount of physical punishment and still coming back for more. This book is the final showdown that readers have been waiting for, and after some wandering around and gathering allies, the novel’s climax is brutal and unrelenting.
For all that this novel embraces simplicity more than most others that I read, I enjoy them. It can sometimes be refreshing to read a novel that doesn’t reach for the stars and doesn’t try to convey a momentous message. Saintcrow’s novels are the equivalent of a summer action flick. You go to those to see the special effects and watch things blow up, not to ponder the mysteries of life. There’s an enjoyment to be had in these types of entertainment, when you’re in the right mood.
There is one thing that I need to bring up about Saintcrow’s writing: every novel she has an expression or two that she uses multiple times and then never uses in future novels. The problem is that such expressions are overused in the novels in which they appear. For instance, in this novel, the word “flicked” is used over and over, so much so that it’s noticeable. People flick their feet in martial arts kicks, flick their fingers in dismissal or to indicate direction, and so on. This expression wasn’t used in earlier books. In the previous novel, people “subtracted” things, as in “I straightened, subtracting the pot from him”, but that is never used in Angel Town. It’s an annoying habit, and it’s one that I hope she stops in future novels.
It may not be fine literature, but Saintcrow’s books are fun and engaging all the same. Angel Town is a rip-roaring conclusion to the Jill Kismet series, packed to the gills with bullets, blood and vengeance. Summer movie season is over, so you might want to pick up its replacement in print form.
Also by this author: Dead Man Rising, Heaven’s Spite, The Iron Wyrm Affair, Saint City Sinners
This review appeared on Owlcat Mountain on October 11, 2011.