Note: This post is sponsored by Masquerade Tours. All opinions are my own.
“Exhausted, cynical, and confused, Anna is always there to report for duty. She’s part of a clandestine government team that defends the nation against supernatural terrorism-which, in all honesty, is enough to drive anyone to drink. Toss in a fear of intimacy with a desire to have friends and lovers like a normal person and, well, Anna is a walking, talking contradiction, albeit one wrapped in a special agent with arcane, magical powers of her own. And at five-thirty in the morning with a zombie-infested apartment building in the heart of Washington, DC, you’ve got the makings of the worst morning…” (Summary via Goodreads.com)
In Hand of Chaos, the first book of this series, we are introduced to Anna. She works for a top secret branch of the government which deals with supernatural threats. Each member of her team has different powers: Anna can control arcane magic, and the others are cursed with immortality, were-tigers, shamans, or necromancers. The book opens with a battle against zombies and traces the team’s journey to find the person behind it–and the plan that is bigger than they ever thought.
The idea behind this series is fascinating: Basically, the realms of Heaven and Hell have been battling it out for millennia throughout the galaxy, and Limbo works to keep either realm from destroying regular people’s lives. Anna and her friends are agents of Limbo, but throughout the book, we meet characters who serve Heaven or Hell, each with their own special powers and characteristics. And Anna herself is an interesting character to follow–she’s doing her best to live a normal life in the midst of some very abnormal events and abilities. Some of the most fascinating scenes in this book follow Anna as she learns new kinds of magic.
The ideas about Heaven, Hell, and Limbo and the agents who work for them are further developed in the second book, Prophet of Chaos:
“Nathaniel is a man of many gifts. First and foremost is the power of Prophecy. Whenever he sleeps, he dreams of triumphs and tragedies alike, and how to either make them happen or prevent them. With that knowledge, he’s thwarted the world-shaking schemes of Angels and Demons alike. Not surprisingly, every elite agent of both Heaven and Hell is always hunting him, wanting to be the one to take down the notorious man known to most as The Prophet.
Recently, he’s been plagued by a series of recurring visions that threaten to force him out of his shadowy life and into the spotlight. A Senator with presidential aspirations is on one side, backed by the most ruthless of Heaven’s forces and seeking to transform the world into a brutal theocracy. A church of Demon-worshipping terrorists also stand ready to launch a bloody revolution through mass murders, demonic possession, and civil war that will literally bring about Hell on earth. Nathaniel stands in the middle, struggling to stop both sides from realizing their chosen versions of humanity’s future with everything in his mystical arsenal. And he can’t do it alone.” (Summary via Goodreads.com)
I have to admit, when I started reading this book, I was very disappointed that the MC from Hand of Chaos was no longer the MC. After the events of the last book, I really wanted more information on Anna and how she dealt with the aftermath. Still, I grew to like the new main characters as the book went on (and we do get glimpses of Anna throughout the story).
We read several viewpoints throughout the book, from self-righteous descendants of angels to characters who are kept alive by demon blood. But the main characters are Nathaniel, the Prophet who will do whatever it takes to keep Heaven and Hell from destroying the human world; Derek, a graphic designer who discovers that he is an enchanter–and suddenly has to flee for his life from forces and beings he didn’t even know existed; and Corinne, a member of the same governmental organization as Anna who is seeking revenge. Each viewpoint shows the reader something new about the impending danger, and we see how little room for error Nathaniel has, how unlikely it is that he will enable the version of the future that will end peacefully.
This book has a great exploration of the realms of Heaven, Hell, and Limbo, even more so than Hand of Chaos. We get to understand more about how this world works and who the main players are, and Prophet of Chaos sets up the next book in the series nicely.
Fair warning: Each book has a couple of explicit sex scenes (which I quickly skimmed) and a significant amount of curse words. If those things bother you, these books may not be your cup of tea.
On the whole, I was pleasantly surprised at how well thought out these books were. The supernatural world they present is complex and interesting, and each character is well written. Despite a few sex scenes that I had to skip (that’s just not my thing), I’m definitely interested in seeing where this series goes next.
Rating: Pretty Darn Good