Hellsbane by Paige Cuccaro (VO)

Hellsbane, Book 1

Synopsis: Emma Jane Hellsbane always knew she was different, but she had no idea she wasn’t even human. Well, at least she’s half-human. She’s half-fallen angel, too, and now dear ol’ dad wants her dead. All the Fallen angels want all their troublesome offspring removed from the mortal coil so she’s trying not to take it personally. Besides, she wants him dead just as much. Her father’s death is the only way she’ll be forgiven for his sin, stop those pesky demons from trying to hack off her head, and have any hope at all of getting back to a normal life as a wicked slick Intuitive Consciousness Explorer.
Of course, first she’ll have to figure out which fallen angel is her father, avoid accidentally seducing her angelic mentor, help an old friend conquer his own fallen sperm donor, and basically save the world from a cataclysmic divine smack down.No problem. With a last name like Hellsbane, Emma Jane was definitely born for the job.

Emma Jane Hellsbane can feel people’s emotions, the good ones like the bad ones. She’s a psychic, more precisely an “Intuitive Consciousness Explorer”. With this strange gift Emma Jane has made her livelihood. She receives clients at home and practices sessions as well. She didn’t expect her new client: Tommy St. James, a former school friend! More than anything, she didn’t expect to see him wounded and carrying a sword on him. From there Emma Jane’s existence will be changed forever. After a demon attack, she finds herself marked. Now she’s an “illorum” like Tommy, which means she’s a Nephilim Soldier, (i.e. half-human, half angel) who hunts demons and Fallen angels to return them in hell.

As for the characters, I liked the heroine, Emma Jane. She’s funny, sarcastic and she always has a ready reply. However, it’s hard for her to admit that she’s no longer part of the human’s world. She wants desperately to return to a normal life, her ancient life as an Intuitive Consciousness Explorer but the task is difficult and at the beginning she’s a poor fighter without experience. But the following events will make her see things differently, marking the turning point of the story. She finally accepts what she is and we will then have to deal with a real illorum. Moreover, Emma Jane is the only illorum woman, which isn’t without consequences. Her relationship with Eli, her mentor is rather ambiguous. She’s very attracted to him but such a relationship with him would lead them both to ruin. I liked Tommy, who also has difficulties to accept his condition of illorum. He takes a very dim view of the connection between Eli and Emma Jane, and tries as best as he can to make her listen to reason. The police officer Dan is also very endearing. Liam McGregor, meanwhile I was very intrigued. He seems to be an atypical character. I wonder if we will see him in the next books. Okay, I admit, of all these male characters, I especially liked Eli! He’s a very complex character and I hope that eventually we’ll learn more things about his past.

In the end it’s a pretty cool novel and it’s easily readable. This book is focused more on action than on the romance: the attacks of demons are numerous, so there is plenty of fight scenes and our heroine has no time to rest! The plot is set up very quickly, from the very first chapters we understand what is at stake. Throughout the story we learn everything there is to know about angels and the Council of Seven, the Nephilims, the Fallen and the demons. However, despite all these revelations, some questions remain unanswered, particularly about Emma Jane’s powers, her father and so on. There is enough here to fuel our desire to learn more!

In conclusion, this first book raises the decor. Overall I enjoyed this book and even though I’m less attached to the first half of the book, I have to admit I really liked the second half. I also enjoyed the references to Joan of Arc! The author managed to create a world that is both fascinating and intriguing. I’ll read the sequel with pleasure.

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