Thursday, October 13, 2011

Angelology by Danielle Trussoni

Danielle Trussoni
Angelology #1

When art historian Verlaine finds letters from a Mother Innocenta to Abigail Rockefeller, he knows his client Percival Grigori will be interested. To learn more, he travels upstate to the late Innocenta's convent, St. Rose's, where he meets the young Sister Evangeline. Evangeline, intrigued by Verlaine's visit, tries to learn more about the correspondance and stumbles on a family history that's been kept from her for her entire life. As Evangeline and Verlaine are initiated into the secrets of angelology, their danger grows and they hunt for the one object that could save or destroy them all.

Angelology was what I was hoping for from The Historian (review). Drawing from a number of Biblical passages and historical events, Trussoni created a fascinating and unique world where angelologists fight to defend humanity from the Nephilim, offspring of angels and humans. While I've read books featuring nephilim before, Trussoni's were exceptionally well-researched and detailed, and the angelologists were a new concept for me (and one that afforded me the opportunity to say fun words like "angelological"). I greatly admired the way Trussoni wove together various myths and legends to make up the world of her story.

Angelology and The Historian shared a historical focus and a more intellectual aspect than many supernatural stories, but the similarities end there. Where The Historian frequently got bogged down by research and trivial information, Angelology never lost its atmosphere of excitement, mystery, and danger, and was a far more enjoyable read.

I did have some issues with certain aspects of the book. It took me until almost a quarter of the way through the book to realize that the existence of the Nephilim was not common knowledge, which could have been made much clearer. Also uncertain for a time was the nature of the relationship between Nephilim and their angelic ancestors. I think the clarification of these issues much earlier in the book would have made it a bit easier to understand. I imagine that a Catholic upbringing was quite helpful in understanding parts of the novel as well, since much of the first part has to do with life at a convent, though I'm sure anyone could have worked things out.

For the most part the book was reasonably well-written, stylistically, though phrasing was sometimes awkward or unwieldy. However, I disliked the sudden break in the story for a narrative from Celestine, an otherwise fairly minor character, which dominated the second quarter of the book. I understand that Trussoni wanted to impart information about angelology, particularly the expedition Celestine took part in, but I wish she had found a way to do it without such a long hiatus from the main plot and without leaving the perspective of the main characters.

A side note: many of the angelologists (oddly, even those who were not from angelological families) had amusingly thematic names: Celestine, Evangeline, Angela, Seraphina, Gabriella, Raphael, etc. It got to the point where it was a little ridiculous.

At any rate, Angelology was a very exciting story. I was a little disappointed that it turned into a treasure hunt at the end, and that I basically predicted all the plot twists. (I prefer to be surprised.) However, I have high hopes that things Trussoni hinted at in this novel will play a greater role in the sequel.

Plot: 4 cupcakes
Characters: 3 cupcakes
Style: 2 cupcakes
Overall: 3 cupcakes
Source: The Tyrant's Kitchen


  1. I'm not crazy about the title - makes me think of those kiddie coffee table books - but this sounds pretty good! Thanks for sharing; I probably wouldn't have bothered picking this one up based on the title. Great review!

  2. Thanks Colleen! I'd never thought of that comparison, but you are totally right! I really did enjoy it though :)

  3. Another fine review, Kate. I've been semi-kicking this one around for a while. I'm going to go ahead and add it to my TBR list now ;)


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