Newcomer Alicia Wright Brewster debuts with a novella of urban fantasy centered on a fallen angel called Six. Sent to Hell for no reason she can discern (and no one’s bothered to tell her, either), Six enlists the aid of Alden, an angel who can come and go as he pleases. After she escapes, Six sets out to experience the ways of humans on Earth. “I should have been human,” she thinks to herself. After she foreswears her angelic birthright in particularly bloody fashion, she saves a woman from being sexually assaulted and meets Cara, her first human friend. Instead of settling into the quiet, peaceful life she imagined of human existence while still in Hell, Six ends up with more supernatural deception and danger than she wants. But her impulse to help humans, part of her angel heritage, is too strong to let her stand idly by while Alden carries out a personal mission which is decidedly unangelic and fatal for humankind.
Oh, and by the way, her husband’s looking for her. He’s very difficult to resist, in a manner of speaking; after all, he’s the head honcho in the underworld. But even he can’t force her back into Hell: she has to go back there of her own free will.
Don’t Call Me Angel can be fairly named a paranormal romance. With the glut of vampires, were-whatevers, and other more than human beings in this genre, Brewster’s use of angels—from both Heaven and Hell—is a refreshing change. Particularly welcome is the less-than-perfect “good” angel in the form of Alden, who’s not beyond using his special abilities to, as Scrooge once said through Charles Dickens, “decrease the surplus population” for his own purposes. Alden is drawing unwanted attention to them both; Six is supposed to be in Hell, and Alden’s personal mission will likely send him there permanently. With her fate now tied to Alden’s, Six feels compelled to stop him any way she can.
Fans of paranormal romance and/or urban fantasy will find much to like in this novella. Brewster concocts a very believable tale full of inhuman yet individual-minded characters, some of whom are faced with the very human questions of responsibility, independence, and how to handle change. Six reacts in ways commensurate with her personality to the obstacles she faces; she takes no guff from anyone, but is careful to be as kind as she can to Cara, since she may be the only human friend Six ever meets. The Forsaken series is off to a fine start with this work, and Alicia Wright Brewster is a writer to watch.
J. G. Stinson
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