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Envy Cover Picture

Envy:
A Novel of the Fallen Angels

J. R. Ward

Published 2011             454 pages

Summary (from the book jacket)

As the son of a serial killer, homicide detective Thomas 'Veck' DelVecchio, Jr, grew up in the shadow of evil. Now, on the knife-edge between civic duty and blind retribution, he atones for the sins of his father – while fighting his inner demons.

Assigned to monitor Veck is Internal Affairs officer Sophia Reilly, whose interest in him is both professional and arousingly personal. And Veck and Sophia have another link: Jim Heron, a mysterious stranger with too many answers… to questions that are deadly. When Veck and Sophia are drawn into the ultimate battle between good and evil, their fallen angel saviour is the only thing that stands between them and eternal damnation.

The Review

Envy is the third book in J.R. Ward’s Fallen Angels paranormal romance series. Each story in this series is a stand alone romance but the fantasy world building and general background has been built throughout all the novels so far, so it’s probably best to read them in order…

The Fallen Angels books are set in the same world and place (Caldwell, New York) as the author’s phenomenally popular Black Dagger Brotherhood vampire romances. However, there is no meaningful vampire involvement in the Fallen Angels books and readers looking for a quick fix between BDB novels will be disappointed here. Especially after the hero for Envy (Veck, a Caldwell police detective) was first introduced in the latest BDB book Lover Unleashed which may have raised cross-over vampire character expectations…

The Fallen Angel books have a similarity in writing style to the BDB books and Envy is no different in that regard. All the heroic male characters seem to have the same contemporary “voice” as the Brothers while the archangels (Nigel, Byron, Colin et al ) all “speak” with faux upper class British accents which (writing as a real live British person) personally grate on my nerves worse than Dick Van Dyke’s laughable cockney accent in Mary Poppins. The archangels, in mythology usually a class reserved for mighty, war-like warrior angels, have been written as an effeminate bunch of tea drinking and scone eating pantywaists! (…Is this because they’re faux Brits? Does the author think that the people of Britain spend all day eating scones between taxing rounds of croquet…? Really?)

The character with the most realistic “voice” was probably Reilly, the female IA officer with whom Veck becomes romantically involved – at least she reads like a normal intelligent woman. Although even she is aggravating in places. Her lack of faith in Veck and the speed with which she turns on him is something that I wouldn’t find as easy to forgive and forget (without comment) as Veck does. Veck is a typical hero from the J.R. Ward school of romance writing – tough and manly with a dark-side just waiting to be polished away by the love of a good woman. It’s a winning formula so really there is no cause for complaint there!

For me, the problem with Envy is lack of “paranormal” romance between the Veck and Reilly. Their romance is very normal. Even the obstacles in the path of their true love can be boiled down to the mundane – a hero struggling to put a dark past behind him and be a better person, a frame-up for a crime he didn’t commit, a girlfriend in danger from a deranged killer – these are all staples of the romantic suspense genre. The paranormal elements are separate to the romance. Paranormality is focused on the Fallen Angels themselves, whose relationships are dysfunctional but entirely compelling to read about. Jim, Adrian and Eddie were what kept me reading this story, not Veck and Reilly – and that’s just wrong for a romance.

In terms of plotline, Envy is the best book in the Fallen Angel’s series so far but I’m just not that into this style of non-paranormal, paranormal romance and that made the story drag for me in places. However, I think it’s only fair to point out that for readers who like to read regular romances, as well as paranormal ones, this book could well be a winner.

LoveVampires Review Rating:

Review Rating: 3 stars out of 5

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