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AngelFall Book II - A Novel of Hell (The AngelFall Series 2) Kindle Edition
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Much like Mortuus' experience entering Limbo for the first time, I found Book II to be a welcome breath of fresh air. From the outset the long, clinical descriptions of characters, places and events have been banished in favour of dialogue and observations made from the characters' perspectives. The language is still a little formal and aloof in places for my liking (every now and then uncommon 'highbrow' words appear where more common words would have sufficed, and I found the incongruity a little off-putting), but the difference in the overall tone is marked. The story flows more smoothly, changes in narrative threads are easier to reconcile, and most importantly, characters really start to come to life. All this has left me eagerly awaiting the release of Book III.
Something I think is worthy of note - not so much a criticism as an observation; all of the events described in the book take place in Dante's Hell, and although the books touch on it now and then, there doesn't seem to be much of an atmosphere of the horror and torment suffered by most of the inhabitants. Even when horrific injuries and the acts that cause them are being described it all seems to be quite ... detached. As I said, this isn't really a criticism - I just caught myself marvelling at the enormity of the suffering every now and then, and thought it might be worthwhile expanding the theme literally within the book.
One difficulty I had was in trying getting my head around the layout of the environment. I constantly had to keep re-reading parts where it was important to understand where characters were moving from and to, and the little map illustrations didn't really help that much. To be fair though, the fact that I'm living in a largely sleep-deprived state at the moment may have contributed heavily to my confusion, so I can't lay this squarely at the author's feet!
I must reiterate the fact that I have a lot of respect for Foulk for self-publishing these books; I can't imagine it's an easy task, and it must take a vast amount of time, effort, patience and determination. It's encouraging to see that instead of having a negative effect on the quality of the actual writing the very opposite is true - Book II is a huge stride forward, and if this trend continues throughout the rest of the books AngelFall fans are in for a treat!
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
I do *like* the book so far, but I hate getting into a story with lots of threads, and then learn that nothing will be resolved. I do hope that the three parts will be combined to make a proper book.
All that complaining said, Aristotle, Chiron, the Minotaur, King Minos and others all make interesting characters, and I like the mechanics and rules that S.E.Foulk has set up. When the last third comes out in December (I hope), I'll reread the whole book at once, and make a proper review of a book with a beginning, middle, and end.
Only recommend if you want to be left hanging for awhile.
The atmosphere of Hell is akin to a stormy day in Seattle, according to the narrator of S.E. Foulk's mutli-volume adventure in the underworld. Book II picks up where the first part left off, following the adventures and horrible tribulations of several characters as they traverse the Seven Levels of Dante's Hell.
This second book is more engaging and easier to follow than the first as the disparate story lines and characters from Book I begin to converge and the shape and scope of the story-at-large becomes more clear. Something is happening in Hell, something unheard and undreamt of in countless eons and mysterious and monumental forces are at work!
Mr. Foulk deftly paints an underworld as hellish as Goya's greatest nightmares, bringing it to life and populating it with memorable characters.
The story mostly follows Aristotle who lives in Dante's version of Hell and happens to have been placed in Limbo, where he grows restless. Aristotle begins to explore the lower levels of Hell, where we encounter the Hell that Dante describes. Why is he wandering? Well, that's the rub... because this story is broken into three parts (not three books, but one large book published in 3 parts) we don't really find out yet. Unfortunately, part 3 seems to be where we get some answers and it hasn't been published yet (the last page of book 2 says that book 3 will be available December 1, 2011 but it is currently December 22, 2011 and it has not been published yet).
I liked part 2 better than part 1 - I think because we actually start to see some ACTION. Part 1 was largely about scene-setting and getting to know the characters. One small note is that there are a LOT of characters with a lot of Greek names that can get a bit confusing at times (although generally the names are a little on-the-nose "Mortuus" is the dead guy, "Militus" is the military guy, etc.) when trying to remember which person belongs to which group. I read that this story series came from a pitch for a video game, which is an interesting concept but also to that end, I was surprised that some of the "battle" types of scenes were hastily written and seemed... I dunno... to cop out at the last second? No spoilers, but suffice it to say that we come across 'slapping the beast on the nose stuns it and it realizes that it is wrong to kill people' types of tropes. Especially with a videogame type of background, I would have expected the fight scenes to involve lots of details of complicated actions.
Again, this book just ENDS and leaves you waiting for the third installment. Also, as other reviewers have pointed out, there are a quite a lot of grammar and spelling errors that took me out of the story and prevent me from giving a 5/5 rating.
I downloaded the three book set on a recommendation from a friend. I'm glad I did. Usually when I finish a book, I'll wait until at least the next day before starting another. This series I just kept on going. It was almost like I was afraid I was going to miss out on something. The worst part of the series was the end of 'Book III' when it said to be continued in 'Book IV'.