Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Angel Time (Song of the Seraphim, Book 1) by Anne Rice

I never read Anne Rice until I graduated from college and became curious about the lady who seemingly started the trend of moody, philosophical vampires (Joss Whedon continued the trend in his shows Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Angel).  I wanted to see what her first works were like in comparison with her newer books (before and after becoming a Christian), so I picked up a copy of Interview With a Vampire.

It enthralled me.  I devoured the book and was hooked on Anne Rice's prose style -- dreamy, meandering, a gigantic English garden with walkways twisting in on themselves.  I also fell in love with (some of) her characters, like Louis, the vampire who tried to be good.

One of my favorite quotes from the novel is from Louis, who is traveling on a boat to Europe:

"It seemed at moments, when I sat alone in the dark stateroom, that the sky had come down to meet the sea and that some great secret was to be revealed in that meeting, some great gulf miraculously closed forever. But who was to make this revelation when the sky and sea became indistinguishable and neither any longer was chaos? God? Or Satan? It struck me suddenly what consolation it would be to know Satan, to look upon his face, no matter how terrible that countenance was, to know that I belonged to him totally, and thus put to rest forever the torment of this ignorance. To step through some veil that would forever separate me from all that I called human nature.

I felt the ship moving closer and closer to this secret. There was no visible end to the firmament; it closed about us with breathtaking beauty and silence. But then the words 'put to rest' became horrible. Because there would be no rest in damnation, could be no rest; and what was this torment compared to the restless fires of hell? The sea rocking beneath those constant stars - those stars themselves - what had this to do with Satan? And those images which sound so static to us in childhood when we are all so taken up with mortal frenzy that we can scarce imagine them desirable: seraphim gazing forever upon the face of God - and the face of God itself - this was rest eternal, of which this gentle, cradling sea was only the faintest promise."

 Isn't that incredible? 

Funnily enough, I didn't pick up any of her "after" books (except maybe her memoir, "Called Out of Darkness"...I think I did read that, and it was good, but I can't ever remember for sure) until I saw "Angel Time" on the library list for the Kindle.  I decided to give it a try and once again, was blown away by the concept, the characters, and the grand scheme of things.

The story includes a hit man (present day), a guardian angel, time travel (into the Dark Ages), and religious history (Jews + Catholics in Dark Ages = Bad news).  I don't want to give the twist away but the story about one man's life and the second chance he receives is deep and hopeful.  It inspires and grips you, and makes you feel as if you've traversed time and space as well -- going deeper into the human existence, learning what it means to accept grace and forgiveness, and as for having to say goodbye to the characters?  It was dreadful.

I will be reading the second book in The Song of the Seraphim Series soon, and I am also looking forward to reading The Wolf Gift! (Coming out Valentine's Day)

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