Meg's always thought that love and ghosts are fantasies for gullible people, but her skepticism is about to be tested. As her roommates Sol and Alexei move on with their lives, Meg remains stuck in her rut, unsure what to do about her future or about her best friend Athos. He wants more than friendship from her, but she isn't sure whether she's straight or gay, let alone in love with him. Not helping are the strange trances that show her the lives of two other young girls - one who wants to be a voodoo priestess, and the other who wants to escape a Christian cult. Athos sticks by her as the trances take over her life, and Meg will have to figure out her true feelings, or lose him along with everything else.
©2016-present Kyell Gold (P)2016 Kyell Gold and Jay Maxwell
Yes, it's a great book showing off Kyell's well thought out characters.
Character development through various trials and tribulations.
The Baron, out of all of them he seemed to make the most sense.
While I though the ending was very cliche, hence me calling it lackluster, the adventure that lead to it was worth the trip. I am still scratching my head at the Hanna sequence and at some point might just have to ask Kyell about it, perhaps i missed something but as a theme that reoccurred "Did it really matter?". negativity aside it wasnt a bad arc to the story just missing quite how it fit with in the story.
The thing I loved about the series is that they played along the lines of trying to find self discovery. However while this book did that somewhat it installed the erotica element that I thought the lack of in the books prior made the series so unique for Kyell Gold.
This is not your usual 5 star review. I'm not really a Kyell Gold fan; in the past I've been critical of his writing. Not this time. Not this book.
The first chapter captured me. I had the opportunity to hear the author read it and Meg's character was alive. She boldly lets you know she is who she is, she's damn proud of that and you're going to have to deal with it. The rest of the book sucked me in with the writing quality. This book sings. "Black Angel" is three separate narratives braided together, and I immediately loved Hannah and Marie-Belle's tales. There the stories are immediately more intriguing, but also the descriptive prose purrs in ways I haven't seen from what I've read of Gold.
With most of Gold's work, sexual identity is quite important in two of the three stories, with Meg's confusion and struggle with asexuality and Hannah's budding lesbianism set in a very oppresive Christian cult. I have trouble connecting with these elements, and that is a disconnect that is okay, because not every story is for everyone. Even though that part doesn't resonate with me, I was instead deeply touched by Meg's experiences. There is a point where she truly doubts her sanity and she has no idea which way is up. That is very real to many people who have dealt with mental illness and it made me love this book.
The book is not without its flaws.
The biggest one for me is, strangly, Meg's character. Consider she is: irritable by default; hostile to anyone expressing interest in her life; carries a "whatever, I don't care" attitude; only shows rare and grudgingly appreciation. Meg is a crank, 30 years away from chasing kids off her lawn with a broom. She is the dog that growls at anyone who passes by. How she manages to have any friends is beyond me. This makes for a hard character to read at times. It also hampers things from a story perspective. She refuses to tell anyone anything unless she is absolutely cornered. This not only leads to a lot of needless stalling of the story, but because Meg is so guarded, it turns every interaction into an overanalysis of "what does this person mean, what do they want, what should I say, what can I tel them, what will THAT mean to them". Yes, characters with flaws that get in their way and complicate things makes good fiction, but her inability to trust is taken to the level of becoming an exhausting grind. Thank goodness the Marie-Bell and Hannah narratives offer some respite from that. Also, I quickly lost patience with Athos. While he clearly cares a lot about his friend, every scene the two are together, Athos is asking her what's wrong multiple times. She cannot hiccup without him hovering over her. While yes, Meg is going through a crisis, Athos gives her so little space to breathe that I felt smothered.
These frustrations are made up for by the final leg of the book. Those last chapters are excellent.
I must speak about Max Miller, the audiobook narrator. His voice acting was divine. TouTou, the Baron, and Jeffrey leap out as the best in the book, but his consistently excellent voicework, both male and female, made the experience that much more for me.
While I did set the book down when things get frustrating, or when they got too hard and dark, More often I stopped reading because I didn't want to finish the book too soon. It is meant to be savored. Or as the Baron would say, it should be enjoyed.
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