Book Review: Sins of the Son by Linda Poitevin

Sins of the Son: Grigori Legacy, Book 2
by Linda Poitevin
$8.99 (paperback)
352 pages
Ace (Penguin)
Release Date: March 27, 2012

Review copy received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Plot Description:
When homicide detective Alexandra Jarvis sees a photo of Seth Benjamin on a police bulletin, she knows that Heaven’s plan to halt Armageddon has gone terribly wrong. As the only mortal who knows of Seth’s true nature, only she can save him. Aramael was a hunter of Fallen Angels until a traitor forced him into earthly exile. Now, with no powers and only a faint memory of Alex, his mortal soulmate, he will stop at nothing to redeem himself-even if it means destroying Seth in the name of the Creator…

Review:
Since I became aware of Linda Poitevin’s Grigori Legacy series, I couldn’t wait to read the first book, Sins of the Angels, which I thought was fantastic for its emphasis on world-building and exploring the world of angels, both celestial and terrestrial. It has earned a spot as one of my favourite urban fantasy series and with good reason. As with its predecessor, Sins of the Son is rich in world-building and centers more around an angel-focused plotline as opposed to the police procedural format that dominated the narrative of Sins of the Angels.

While I thought it was definitely more interesting to delve into the universe of Heaven and the One (aka God), I do think the police procedural format worked a bit better because it involved solving a mystery, a chase, making sure the villain’s plans didn’t come to fruition, etc, but with Son, the main conflict revolves around a pact signed between Heaven and Hell–and more specifically, the One and Lucifer–which states neither side will go to war until Seth, aka The Anointed, chooses a side. But Seth has some ideas of his own.

Last time we saw Seth, he kind of had a thing for the central character, cop Alexandra Jarvis, who is doing her best to recover from the events of Angels, which involved a heart-breaking loss. This time around the main conflict involves less page time for her sister and niece, and instead focuses on the fact that Seth has descended from Heaven (by his own will) only he was supposed to come back as a baby and grow into his abilities, etc. He lands as an adult man with severely impaired memory and speech functions, and it’s only when Alex comes to see the facility where he’s being held that he starts to reminisce.

Aramael, the dark and moody angel, aka Alex’s soul mate, was dealt a particularly crappy hand last time we saw him, but he doesn’t let it get to the stage where he becomes a whiny, emo nuisance. He gives in to the inner darkness in himself and uses it to draw strength when he needs it most. He encounters the Archangel Michael, who comes to him saying that he has to intercede in Seth’s matter, regardless of how he might feel about Alex. One of the pluses about Aramael and Alex’s first “reunion” after everything that’s happened is that Poitevin doesn’t make it out to be some sappy, unrealistic twee moment. Complicating matters is Alex’s latent attraction toward Seth, and his deep feelings for her, but I was relieved when the narrative didn’t detract into a love triangle, although there are certainly elements of that in the interactions of these characters.

Although necessary in some parts, I didn’t enjoy the sections involving the scientists and the news reports involving the women who ended up mysteriously pregnant and giving birth in a very short time frame. I thought it added an interesting dynamic to the battle between the One and Lucifer, both of whose depictions I thought Poitevin handled well. I’m notoriously picky about the way I like to see Lucifer portrayed, and bonus points to Poitevin for playing around the the mythology elements to unveil a bombshell about his relationship with the One. It lent a nice variation on an otherwise stale theme we’ve heard thousands of times. I also thought it was cute that Lucifer enjoyed Dante’s Inferno ;-) It did feel like Heaven got a bit more page time than Hell, with most of our Underworld trips focusing on scenes between Lucifer and his chief sidekick, Sammael, who used to be an Archangel. Here’s to hoping that we’ll see more of Hell in the forthcoming third volume in the series.

Although most of the fight scenes didn’t involve weapons and focused on hand-to-hand combat, I enjoyed them immensely and thought everything leading to the last stand-off was fantastic. I particularly enjoyed the fallen angel vs angel scenes, although the ultimate battle would have been a face-off between Michael and Lucifer.

In terms of the setting, Poitevin moves us from Toronto to Vancouver, which I thought was an interesting shift, and although there isn’t exactly time for Alex to go sight-seeing, I thought it would have added a bit more to the book had the city been explored a bit further as Vancouver has a unique culture.

Things end on a definite “to be continued” note, which I think has fantastic potential, and as I said above, I’m itching for book 3 already ;-) Even if you’re not so big on angels, this series is a must-read for urban fantasy fans–a definite “read under the covers with a flashlight” book that will keep you in suspense the whole time about whether the Apocalypse can be averted. It’s a great sophomore effort from an author whose books I continue to enjoy.

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