Saturday, May 12, 2012

Review: Fallen Angel

Fallen Angel
Fallen Angel by Eden Winters

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One thing in advance: this is not a light and easy read. Not unexpectedly so for those who are familiar with this book's prequel, [b:The Angel of 13th Street|8125589|The Angel of 13th Street |Eden Winters||12921252], but rather unlike many other books from Eden Winters. With this book, the author shows herself from a more serious, pensive side.

This is very much Noah's story; one could justifiably call it his backstory, since there are many flashbacks to his rentboy years and to his hangups on Billy, his former boyfriend and fellow rentboy.
Although we also get Jeremy's voice, and although there are quite a few erotic scenes (and I loved to see Jeremy as Noah's mature, self-conscious lover in those), Noah's problems were there front and center.
Outside the bedroom, Jeremy and Noah had less page space together than Noah's inner musings took, and they walked parallel for a big part of the book rather than together, each caught up in his own problems. Their relationship is established, though somewhat under duress lately, mainly with Jeremy's upcoming departure for college, but also with the changes that Doc, Noah's mentor, puts on the streetworker organization for which Noah has been working during the last ten years.
But that's just the surface. The real problem is, for one, that Noah hasn't quite arrived in his still-new relationship. He's still full of guilt and remorse about Billy, so much so that he wakes from sleeping screaming his former lover's name (much to Jeremy's chagrin) Unconsciously Noah is still thinking of Jeremy as his "ward", someone he has to protect and keep safe at all cost, even though he knows that Jeremy is all grown-up by now, even though he acknowledges Jeremy as his equal partner. As a result, Noah keeps things to himself, even keeps things FROM Jeremy, and tries to work out everything by his lonesome like he was used to doing before he had a partner. Which, of course, puts some strain on their relationship. This goes beyond typical male incommunicado, it's a problem Noah doesn't even realize he has and, once he does, has to work at very hard to overcome.
For another, Noah is seriously burnt out. But with his abovementioned communication issues, Noah won't even admit his state of emotional exhaustion to himself, much less ask for help from his nearest and dearest. His friend have to drag him out of the swamp of his self-destruction by his hair, which doesn't go without some kicking and screaming on Noah's side.

This is a character-driven book. Following Noah's slow struggle out of the chains of his past is not always pleasant, even exhausting at times, and yes, as other reviewers have stated, the ending has its melodramatic moments, and there's a loose thread which bothered me as much as it did Simsala. But I was once again taken by the honesty of this tale, by the sincerity that shines through the pages.
Not for every mood or every day, but definitely recommended

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