Blood and Feathers is one of those books I simply don’t know how to write a review of. Why, you ask? Because there is one word that to me feels like it sums up the entirety of the book: perfect. But ‘perfect’ isn’t much of a review, so I am going to have to put away my fanboy grin for a bit, and attempt to explain why I feel this way about this book.
Set in the modern world, Blood and Feathers aims—and manages—to offer a difference in a genre where detectives, wizards, vampires, and werewolves are usually centre stage. It tells an old story: that of the war in between Heaven and Hell. Apart from the fact that this isn’t really like any story of the war in between the two that you have ever read about.
Alice is a normal girl, at least as far as she knows, with a normal job and, as far as possible when images she can’t explain haunt her from her childhood, a normal life. But her world is about to be turned upside down when two angels turn up at her house, and she witnesses her father being murdered. She is dragged into a war that, as far as she knows, she has nothing to do with.
But Alice is a half-angel—daughter of an angel and a priest—and she has an important job to do, whether she is ready for it or not. With Hellmouths opening up everywhere, Hell is tipping the balance in its favour, and the angels, Earthbound, Descended, or otherwise, aren’t about to let that happen.
With Mallory—an Earthbound with a troubled past and a drinking problem—as her guide and mentor, Alice must come to terms with her power if she is to accomplish the task that is set in front of her. But when one must venture into Hell, there are obstacles that no one can prepare you for what you’re going to find, and Alice must face herself and her fears if she is to come outthe other side, having completed her task, without Falling once and for all.
The action takes place in an unnamed modern city, and the lack of places and dates only adds to the fantastical quality of the book. It could be happening anywhere, right outside our door, for all we know, and it adds a certain power to the story.
Alice is a wonderful character that doesn’t need tight leather or kick-ass fight scenes to take centre stage as a strong female lead. She is lost in a world she does not understand, but she does her best to adapt and understand those around her. She is human, in the best of ways; flawed and all the stronger for it.
Mallory was by far my favourite angel of the book, Earthbound and dejected, with a drinking problem and the mind of a soldier, he is Alice’s mentor as she learns to control the astonishing power she possesses. He is both kind and harsh, motivated and a little bit cynical, and more than anything he wants to be given a chance to atone for his mistakes.
Blood and Feathers is wonderfully, beautifully written, with amazing characterisation and some of the most realistic dialogues I have read in a long time. Angels aren’t all white here, but neither are the Fallen all black, and the plot is enthralling from the get-go. The main cast is colourful, diverse, and likeable, and carry the plot effortlessly forward, never breaking the pace of the book. One of the twists at the end even had me staring at the page in disbelief and anger!
Blood and Feathers is definitely one of the best books I have read this year, and definitely will be one of those stories I go back to when my mood darkens and I need a bit of a pick me up. Morgan’s debut left me enthralled, cheering, excited, and surprised, and never once disappointed. I only wish it had been longer, or that the sequel was out already, because no sooner had I turned the last page, that I already missed Alice, Mallory, and the rest of the cast around them.