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Archon

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Angels and demons do battle for a girl possessed by the spirit of a powerful, dead angel in this fabulous paranormal debut by Sabrina Benulis. Archon is the first of the Books of Raziel, a truly fantastic and very hip new take on heavens warriors that readers of the angelic novels of Danielle Trussoni, Lauren Kate, Becca Fitzpatrick, and Alexandra Adornetto are sure to Angels and demons do battle for a girl possessed by the spirit of a powerful, dead angel in this fabulous paranormal debut by Sabrina Benulis. Archon is the first of the Books of Raziel, a truly fantastic and very hip new take on heaven’s warriors that readers of the angelic novels of Danielle Trussoni, Lauren Kate, Becca Fitzpatrick, and Alexandra Adornetto are sure to adore. Archon is new wave urban fantasy, a tale of the supernatural that brilliantly blends passion, obsession, horror, and suspense in a way that will appeal to dark fantasy fans and paranormal romance readers equally. Sabrina Benulis’s angels are creepy, sexy, and totally awesome—and, like Anne Rice’s amoral, ambiguous, and addicting vampires, they will seduce and terrify you at the same time.


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Angels and demons do battle for a girl possessed by the spirit of a powerful, dead angel in this fabulous paranormal debut by Sabrina Benulis. Archon is the first of the Books of Raziel, a truly fantastic and very hip new take on heavens warriors that readers of the angelic novels of Danielle Trussoni, Lauren Kate, Becca Fitzpatrick, and Alexandra Adornetto are sure to Angels and demons do battle for a girl possessed by the spirit of a powerful, dead angel in this fabulous paranormal debut by Sabrina Benulis. Archon is the first of the Books of Raziel, a truly fantastic and very hip new take on heaven’s warriors that readers of the angelic novels of Danielle Trussoni, Lauren Kate, Becca Fitzpatrick, and Alexandra Adornetto are sure to adore. Archon is new wave urban fantasy, a tale of the supernatural that brilliantly blends passion, obsession, horror, and suspense in a way that will appeal to dark fantasy fans and paranormal romance readers equally. Sabrina Benulis’s angels are creepy, sexy, and totally awesome—and, like Anne Rice’s amoral, ambiguous, and addicting vampires, they will seduce and terrify you at the same time.

30 review for Archon

  1. 4 out of 5

    Max

    I received the ARC version of this book from a friend who is in the industry and read it while traveling. I havent reviewed books up until recently but Ive been an avid reader for a long time, and I have to say I will give this my best shot. Maybe this synopsis will help out the other readers of the book as well since it seems they missed a lot of the information that was actually in the book though they said it was not there. As for the synopsis, this book is about Angela Mathers who is a I received the ARC version of this book from a friend who is in the industry and read it while traveling. I haven’t reviewed books up until recently but I’ve been an avid reader for a long time, and I have to say I will give this my best shot. Maybe this synopsis will help out the other readers of the book as well since it seems they missed a lot of the information that was actually in the book though they said it was not there. As for the synopsis, this book is about Angela Mathers who is a troubled young girl with a rough past just released from an institution because of the angels she sees in her dreams and the way she reacts to the dreams. She desires to be with these angels so therefore tries to kill herself – mostly because she believes angels are in the world of the dead and dying will allow her to be with her them. However, this is a very small part of the book!! She does not constantly try to kill herself through the whole book like other reviewers have said. She really only tries once in the book, and its pretty minor. The other reviewers who said otherwise must not have read past page 50 because after that, there really isn’t much suicide talk. Angela realizes she shouldn’t kill herself and doesn’t try anymore. The author has a very vivid imagination and subtly hints at many details about Luz and the background throughout the story. The way she describes everything is really surreal!! I’ll admit that not too much happens in the first 70 pages. After that though, the book really hits its stride!! The reason the beginning is a tad slow or confusing is because there wasn’t a big info dump at the beginning, which is great! To me, it takes no talent to dump a ton of info at the beginning. This author sucks the reader in with curiosity and then keeps your interest with action, a tad of romance, twists, and the ability keep you wondering what will happen next. I will say though that this book may not be for everyone. This book is NOT Twilight (THANK GOD!!), nor is it a typical paranormal romance novel. There really isn't much romance in it so if you're looking for that, I'd recommend you look elsewhere. Archon is an epic fantasy novel that has its own plot but still alludes to a much larger story that is yet to come in the next 2 books. The plot is complicated and there are several characters so while some young adults can handle the book, there is action-type violence so it seems to be written more for older young adults and up. This author does not throw information in your face and I like that! She reveals it slowly in a deliberately planned manner. Careful readers will have no problem knowing what goes on in this book. However, if you skim (as it seems some readers on here do), you will be confused because you will miss things. Blood head – The author alludes to a blood head being someone who is shunned and described as a freak with red hair but does not say it specifically in the ARC version of the book. Maybe this will be clearer in the published version but trust me, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out why blood heads are so important, what they are or how they got their name. Not to mention it’s stated explicitly in the synopsis on the back of the book. Setting – There are quite a few references to Luz being on Earth. I’m not sure how other readers missed this. Characters – While this has been a complaint for a lot of people, I had no real problem with any of the characters and actually thought the idea of them being ambiguous in their alliances and motivations was daring and unique. Angela especially is very unique for a heroine, and whatever flaws she has are realistically presented. A Mary-sue she most certainly is not, and she has an impressive sense of integrity and determination, especially at the end. This book does read like the set-up to something more epic and sprawling, though, and I think most people are confusing what is the need to introduce many important characters with a lack of development. Anyway, for me, this book hit the nail right on the head! It was exactly what I was looking for, and I’ve grown pretty tired of looking for something unique to read. Twilight has cast such an enormous shadow over the YA fantasy market, it’s been almost impossible to pick up a book and not think I’m reading that all over again. Who I would recommend this book for: Intelligent, detail oriented readers who like intricate and darker fantasy, fans of paranormal type thrillers or horror, and anyone sick of the same old thing. Who I would not recommend this book to: Those who need a Twilight variety plot with overly perfect characters, people who hate anything dark or gothic, and those who like a very easy read.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Melindeeloo

    The two things going for Archon are the gorgeous cover and the dark atmospheric feel to the writing especially with respect to the academy setting of the story. Unfortunately, that isn't enough to overcome the fact that the first third of the book is very confusing and that I really couldn't connect with any of the characters. Archon's protagonist is a Blood head, which has nothing to do with vampires, although that is what came to mind everytime I saw that word, but instead refers to a red-head The two things going for Archon are the gorgeous cover and the dark atmospheric feel to the writing especially with respect to the academy setting of the story. Unfortunately, that isn't enough to overcome the fact that the first third of the book is very confusing and that I really couldn't connect with any of the characters. Archon's protagonist is a Blood head, which has nothing to do with vampires, although that is what came to mind everytime I saw that word, but instead refers to a red-head with witchy potential. Angela dreams of angels and is suicidal when we first meet her, since Angela is sure that death is the vehicle to connect with the most beautiful of the angels in her dreams but in each attempt to kill herself 'something' stops her from dying. Much of the story is about various parties looking for a prophesied Blood head, 'the Ruin', who will become the vessel for a dead angel. Or wanting to be the Ruin in the case of the Angela's nemesis Stephanie - who in a YA cliche, is the queen bee of a clique of Blood heads at the academy where the story is set and is competition for the same 'hot' guy - in order take over Lucifel's throne in hell. Neither of these characters are likeable - actually none of the characters in the book are likeable - and neither are heroine material either. In fact pretty much all of the characters are at least gray, and personally, I actually ended up being far more intrigued by the 'villains' of the piece - a djinn who is an angel offshoot that eats the some of the students and a demon who ends up behaving in a surprising way at the end. Oh, by the way, both of these villains end up having more nobility than the angel who also is one of the players in the story. Archon was a very difficult book to read, I struggled through the first third and set this down twice at that point since I still didn't have a clue as to what was going on, and while I can sometimes tolerate this in a first person narrative in which I am learning about the world with the narrator and am immersed in their reactions. Angela is pretty flat emotionally, so here it was just frustrating, and not enough of her background is shared early on in order to feel much sympathy for Angela. Quite frankly if my fifteen year old hadn't convinced me that it wasn't fair to write a review if I didn't finish the book, I would just given up and at that point. However, I did pick the book up again and approached it with a different mindset and once there finally is an explanation of what the heck is going on and some of the villains come out of the shadows as well, I found the middle of the book to be fairly interesting, and there is a gothic texture to the writing that is interesting as well. Unfortunately, the story loses momentum around page 350, and when Archon finally finishes much is left unresolved since Archon is apparently a series starter. So bottom line is that before starting reading Archon I should have committed the back cover blurb to memory - I don't read them before reading a book - I would have been far less confused because it turns out that the blurb actually shines a light on the setup to the story better than the early chapters of the book did. And if there had been a better intro to Angela's horrible childhood it might have allowed me to connect to her as a character early on as well, I probably would have liked Archon more - first impressions are crucial. But as it was, if I had purchased this book myself instead of getting the ARC free from the Amazon Vine I wouldn't have finished Archon even though there are a few bright spots in this dark murky confusing tale.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

    I am baffled by all the excellent reviews. Are there 2 versions of this book out there and I have the version intended to bewilder and confuse? An angel I am told was male, but later that he/she/it is pregnant? A fairie is an angel? Angela is the Archon but not? She houses Raziel's soul but doesn't? And I still don't know what the Ruin is...! It was a sign when I realized I was two weeks into this book and still only about 60% through it that I was not going to agree with all the positive I am baffled by all the excellent reviews. Are there 2 versions of this book out there and I have the version intended to bewilder and confuse? An angel I am told was male, but later that he/she/it is pregnant? A fairie is an angel? Angela is the Archon but not? She houses Raziel's soul but doesn't? And I still don't know what the Ruin is...! It was a sign when I realized I was two weeks into this book and still only about 60% through it that I was not going to agree with all the positive reviews this book has been getting. I found myself re-reading entire chapters because I was so very totally confused. And unfortunately, there is no wiki page out there summarizing it in a coherent manner, with spoilers, so I can understand what I have read. I normally do that here on my blog, but i don't even know where to start... I am confounded. More of the review, and spoilers, to be found on seriestracker.wordpress.com, for those who are as lost and confused as I was on this one!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    30/11 - I DNFed this like a month ago, by which I mean I put it down at page 63 and never picked it up again because it's just dreadful. It's now at the stage where it really needs to go back to the library (I mean, there's at least a 5% possibility that someone out there will actually enjoy this, right?) so I decided a Friday night is the perfect time to grit my teeth and finally get this review done. I bookmarked a number of pages for discussion (all incidences of idiotically purple prose). Page 30/11 - I DNFed this like a month ago, by which I mean I put it down at page 63 and never picked it up again because it's just dreadful. It's now at the stage where it really needs to go back to the library (I mean, there's at least a 5% possibility that someone out there will actually enjoy this, right?) so I decided a Friday night is the perfect time to grit my teeth and finally get this review done. I bookmarked a number of pages for discussion (all incidences of idiotically purple prose). Page 22 - 'The flames had muffled to a mass of burning cinders.' Muffling is something that happens to a sound, not a source of heat or light. It's literally defined by the dictionary as 'to cover or wrap up (a source of sound) to reduce its loudness'. Page 31 - 'While most of her paintings remained hidden away in their portfolio cases, two of them hung on the walls, portals to either a dream or a nightmare, whichever happened to suit her fancy at the moment. She felt a kinship to both of them, one day aching for perfect beauty, and the next, for a grayness that wiped away her soul.' What the hell does all that mean? Two of Angela's paintings hang on the walls of her bedroom - that's all we need to know, the rest of that waffle is totally superfluous (and confusing AND irritating to read). Page 42 - 'Those pink lips pursed into a tightly controlled frown.' Lips can't frown since 'frown' is defined as 'to furrow one's brows in an expression indicating disapproval, displeasure, or concentration' (you may notice not one reference to lips in that description). Page 59 - 'His voice promised secrecy and savory things.' How does a voice (not the words mind you, just the tone of voice) promise sausage rolls and meat pies? Logic is a thing Benulis seems to feel is less important than flowery writing - as long as it's apparently beautiful, that's all that matters, right? That's all the bookmarks I made and I think that's enough to give you an idea of why I stopped when I did. To top it all off I also had the same problems that all the other one star reviewers had - no connection to the characters, a totally confusing plot, a very slow start, and the complaints go on. Obviously I won't be looking for the sequels and the reviews would have to be something special for me to ever consider anything else by Benulis.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Victoria

    Both the cover and the description definitely enticed me, but unfortunately this book failed to deliver on that promise. The writing itself was not actually at fault, as what prose there was carefully written, with lush words and interesting word choices. Sadly, there was just not enough of this to pull this book through to be a success. The characters, including many supernatural beings including angels, demons and jinn, were not fully fleshed out to be remotely sympathetic, or even interesting Both the cover and the description definitely enticed me, but unfortunately this book failed to deliver on that promise. The writing itself was not actually at fault, as what prose there was carefully written, with lush words and interesting word choices. Sadly, there was just not enough of this to pull this book through to be a success. The characters, including many supernatural beings including angels, demons and jinn, were not fully fleshed out to be remotely sympathetic, or even interesting or comprehensible. This lack of exposition was the book's main downfall. I enjoy fantasy novels, both urban and otherwise, but every fantasy novel has to be grounded into reality by the author's imagination, creating a plane of existence that the characters inhabit and that readers can visit. Even if a book starts in the middle of some action, bits and pieces of exposition have to filter through so that the reader can find their footing. This book did not offer that grounding to the reader. The description on the back was more explanatory than the first hundred pages or so, and honestly, I thought that the book's prologue should have been replaced by the 21st chapter (starting on page 190 in my edition), as it was the most informative and eye-opening chapter in the book. References to the Vatican, and soft-core porn made it impossible to sift out the setting, and the actual location of Luz. I think it was Earth, but there was just nothing concrete. Hell felt more real than the city itself. By the end, and I am actually amazed that I finished it, I didn't care about a single character, and though I had many questions left over after finishing the last page, I don't care enough to bother continuing on. I won't be reading the sequel, that's for sure. It really is too bad, because I had been so excited when I read the description. Maybe you can find something worthwhile in it, though, but I certainly did not.

  6. 4 out of 5

    ILoveBooks

    Angela Mathers has not had the easiest childhood; she has extreme reactions to vivid dreams and can see angels. For Angela, seeing is believing and she once again takes it to an extreme. She decides to try to kill herself, hoping that she would be able to live in a world with angels-she mistakenly believes angels are only around and with the dead or dying. In the beginning of the book, the author explains much of the necessary background a reader would need to fully grasp the concepts of this Angela Mathers has not had the easiest childhood; she has extreme reactions to vivid dreams and can see angels. For Angela, seeing is believing and she once again takes it to an extreme. She decides to try to kill herself, hoping that she would be able to live in a world with angels-she mistakenly believes angels are only around and with the dead or dying. In the beginning of the book, the author explains much of the necessary background a reader would need to fully grasp the concepts of this novel. The action starts about a quarter into the novel. The reader will get inside Angela's head and begin to befriend her. Angela may not be a perfect character, but that is part of her appeal. She has a bit of a "devil-may-care" attitude at times and can be very reserved. The reader will have to "work on" Angela to truly grasp her personality. The other characters are all intriguing. Each has a very different quality or characteristic from the rest. The idea that their alliances are not set in stone and the secondary characters are actually thinking, rather than just remaining set in their opinion, is really unique. Readers will not find that quality in many other books. The plot of this book is intricate. A reader will have to pay close attention; however, if a reader is committed to reading this book, there shouldn't be any confusion. The book was a suspenseful paranormal fantasy with a tinge of romance. Archon is recommended to young adult/adult readers.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Step Into Fiction

    Captivating story, fantastic characters with one hell of a heroine. Review originally posted at Step Into Fiction Review completed by: Jessica

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jodi

    Angels, and demons, and witches oh my! My senses were overwhelmed with Archon beginning with the book jacket, making me want to read what was inside. With the first installment in her trilogy, Benulis uses lush descriptions and larger than life characters to tell the story of a battle between Heaven and Hell. Angela Mathers has led a hard life. Born a twin, she was shunned by her parents because she was a blood head, a feature that according to prophecy will be the dark messiah. Filled with self Angels, and demons, and witches oh my! My senses were overwhelmed with “Archon” beginning with the book jacket, making me want to read what was inside. With the first installment in her trilogy, Benulis uses lush descriptions and larger than life characters to tell the story of a battle between Heaven and Hell. Angela Mathers has led a hard life. Born a twin, she was shunned by her parents because she was a blood head, a feature that according to prophecy will be the dark messiah. Filled with self loathing Angela made numerous attempts to take her life, but each was thwarted by an unknown force, possibly one of the angels she dreams of nightly and hopes to meet. In one final attempt Angela sets her home ablaze resulting in the death of her abusive parents and leaving her scarred. She finds herself at West Wood Academy in Luz, the Vatican’s secret enclave in the search of a normal life and her twin brother Brandon. While at the Academy, Angela learns about the coming of the Archon or Ruin. The Archon is the only one who can open the book of Raziel, taking control of the supernatural universe. One of the students, Stephanie Walsh—a witch and leader of a sorority who believes she is the Archon—takes an instant dislike to Angela because she is rumored to be the actual Archon and the object of her lover’s affections. In a battle between three Supernals, Angela and Stephanie become bitter rivals both working with their own angels and demons dragged into Hell and the Heavens. They are searching for the key that opens the book of Raziel revealing which of them is the Archon. “Archon” is Sabrina Benulis’s debut novel after graduating with a Masters in writing popular fiction. She proves herself as a force to be reckoned with in the paranormal fiction genre. I will definitely be on the lookout for the next installment in her book of Raziel series so I can grab it up and pour over each page. Reviewed by Jodi Ann Hanson for Suspense Magazine

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mav

    The book description is all over the place. Either Archon is that big of a mess, or someone at HarperCollins needs to be fired, or has been and this is their revenge. I'm a sucker for angels though -the constant barrage of bad reviews for Halo is the only thing keeping me from read it- and will probably pick up this book anyway.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Torzilla

    Sounds like this book will either be awesome, or a hot mess.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Pauline

    The concept behind this book is the prophesy that someone with red hair will bring the ruin of man, causing all people with red hair to be isolated into carefully monitored groups where they can be watched to see if the prophesied "blood head" is among them. Actually, this is a pretty little Goth story, very charming in a dark way. The lead character, Angela, was abused by her wealthy parents then disowned by the rest of the family when those overbearing parents died in a fire...then tormented The concept behind this book is the prophesy that someone with red hair will bring the ruin of man, causing all people with red hair to be isolated into carefully monitored groups where they can be watched to see if the prophesied "blood head" is among them. Actually, this is a pretty little Goth story, very charming in a dark way. The lead character, Angela, was abused by her wealthy parents then disowned by the rest of the family when those overbearing parents died in a fire...then tormented by dreams of angels. One in particular seems to haunt her... Dimensions seldom explored in the same story, are artfully woven together in this story without losing that suspension of belief required to really enjoy the ride! Think "The Mortal Instruments" in flavor but in no way a copy-cat or wannabe. The book was referred to me by another Goodreads member and it's a refreshingly different direction to a tough genre, a winner in my eyes!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sonia189

    I didn't like this book much. The idea of someone being a (sort of) reincarnation of an angel and the angels theme in general were probably the best things about it, for me. The story is not very confusing if one is to think about the bare bones of it but the fact the author intended to create suspense and a dark atmosphere by allowing certain situations to happen too vaguely made everything feel out of order and that's difficult to accomplish in a narrative that has to have a sequence. Many I didn't like this book much. The idea of someone being a (sort of) reincarnation of an angel and the angels theme in general were probably the best things about it, for me. The story is not very confusing if one is to think about the bare bones of it but the fact the author intended to create suspense and a dark atmosphere by allowing certain situations to happen too vaguely made everything feel out of order and that's difficult to accomplish in a narrative that has to have a sequence. Many characters were described as being/representing one thing and then they would change. This is certainly intended to create conflicts, doubts in the reader so that some revelations feel more surprising. I think it just proved the lack of consistency of some details. The fact the setting is a student's academy had to be because of trend in YAs at the time... I just can't understand why this wasn't a simple PNR or even high fantasy on angels lore with all those characters just being who they are supposed to. The impersonating of teenagers with the usual issues related to the YA genre just didn't suit this story at all. I don't think this was balanced story: the things left to explain or suggestive of specific situations just didn't match the elements that could help the reader to have a base to focus on when the rest got too weird. I don't think any character was well developed, either. It was interesting, though, to read the reviews of other readers here. I got to understand a few things better thanks to their comments but I won't feel any will to read the other two books in this trilogy anyway.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Shara

    The premise: ganked from publisher's website: There are some things worse than death . . . For years, Angela Mathers has been plagued by visions of a supernatural beingan angel with beguiling eyes and magnificent wings who haunts her thoughts and seduces her dreams. Newly freed from a mental institution where she had been locked away for two years, Angela hopes that attending Westwood Academy, the Vaticans exclusive university, will bring her peace and a semblance of normality. But Angela isnt The premise: ganked from publisher's website: There are some things worse than death . . . For years, Angela Mathers has been plagued by visions of a supernatural being—an angel with beguiling eyes and magnificent wings who haunts her thoughts and seduces her dreams. Newly freed from a mental institution where she had been locked away for two years, Angela hopes that attending Westwood Academy, the Vatican’s exclusive university, will bring her peace and a semblance of normality. But Angela isn’t normal. With her stain of dark red hair and alabaster skin, she is a blood head—a freak, a monster, and the possible fulfillment of a terrifying prophecy. Blessed with strange, mystical powers, blood heads hold a special place in the Academy. Among them, one special blood head is more powerful than them all: the Archon, the human reincarnation of the dead angel Raziel. And when the Archon arises as foretold, it will rule the supernatural universe. Barely in control of her own life, Angela has no ambition to conquer an entire universe, not when she’s suddenly contending with a dangerous enemy who is determined to destroy her and a magnetic novitiate who wants to save her. But the choice might not be her own . . . Torn between mortal love and angelic obsession, the young blood head must soon face the truth about herself and her world. It is she who holds the key to Heaven and Hell—and both will stop at nothing to possess her. In Archon, Sabrina Benulis has created a dazzlingly imaginative tale set in a lush, vivid supernatural world filled with gargoyles and candlelight, magic and murder, in which humans, angels, demons, and those in between battle for supremacy—and survival. My Rating: 4 -- Problematic, but Promising (DNF) Although it should read "Promising, but Problematic," which sounds the same, but is very different in my mind. The former indicates the book is worth completing, the latter explains why one puts it down. But in truth, this is the kind of book where your mileage may vary, because certainly, Benulis seems to have a unique world and slightly disturbing take on angels, but for me, the more pages I read, the more I resented the fact that information was being withheld from me, and I didn't know what was going on or why (and when I'm 163 pages from the end, that's not good). Sometimes, there's a fine line between show and tell, when you can show something but tell just enough so that the reader definitely gets it. Then again, it depends on the reader, and maybe I just wasn't up to the task of reading this book (if that's the case, it was an off-day, because if I can get through Valente? I can get through this), but all that being said, I never connected, and it's my own fault for getting the book to begin with, which I did in support of the author, rather than interest in the premise itself. So I'll take the blame here, and hope that the author, once she's done with this trilogy, will release something (novel or short story) that I can sink my teeth into later. I wish her the best, but it wasn't for me, and that's okay. As for the rest of you, all I can suggest is reading a sample and seeing how it fits you. If the premise excites you and the writing engages you, go for it. I definitely want to see the author do well, even if this doesn't work for me. :) Spoilers, yay or nay?: Yay to a point. Even though this book ended up being a DNF for me, I got quite far, so I'll go ahead and use a cut before wrapping up. HOWEVER, I do spoil a major plot point for N.K. Jemisin's The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, so please don't read the full review of Archon if you want to read the Jemisin. Everyone else, the full review is linked at my blog below. As always, comments and discussion are most welcome. REVIEW: Sabrina Benulis' ARCHON Happy Reading!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    Although I read a lot of urban and paranormal fantasy, both YA and adult, the realm of angels was new territory for me. I'm not entirely sure if it is my lack of experience in this sub genre or just this particular book but I found Archon, the first book of The Books of Raziel series, to be completely confusing. I never felt like I understood the world that Angela and the other characters inhabited. I didn't understand the rules, the prophecy, and even what was actually taking place at times. Although I read a lot of urban and paranormal fantasy, both YA and adult, the realm of angels was new territory for me. I'm not entirely sure if it is my lack of experience in this sub genre or just this particular book but I found Archon, the first book of The Books of Raziel series, to be completely confusing. I never felt like I understood the world that Angela and the other characters inhabited. I didn't understand the rules, the prophecy, and even what was actually taking place at times. While it seemed that Benulis often provided details about the physical setting, the best mental picture that I could get was that everything was gloomy and falling apart. I never connected to the characters either. I had trouble distinguishing the good guys from the bad guys even when characters were labeled angel or demon. It seemed that everyone was simply out to destroy the earth and rule over everything or merely wanted to indulge their own selfish desires. The true motivations behind the characters' actions were often hidden in the midst of the chaotic events and manipulation of others seemed to be the main goal. While Angela was the central character of the story I never felt that I understood her any better than any of the other characters. I simply didn't care what really happened to any of them. It is also difficult to say what actually happens in this book. While the action and killing seemed to be non-stop, I didn't really see the point in most of it. At the end it felt like very little had actually changed for the characters who survived. The ending definitely has the feel of the first book in the series, as there are so many unanswered questions, but I'm not going to struggle through another book in the series to try to actually understand what is going on. If I had not received this book through the Amazon Vine program, I would not have read all the way to the end.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ally

    Archon is a book that suffers from a rather unusual problem. The setting outshines the characters. The water drenched crumbling world of Luz is fascinating. You can tell the author has planned it out well and probably has notebooks filled with little details about it that just didn't make the final edit. The concept is interesting as well playing with traditional ideas of the Antichrist or Ruin as she is referred to in this book. The problem lies with the characters. Their physical presence is Archon is a book that suffers from a rather unusual problem. The setting outshines the characters. The water drenched crumbling world of Luz is fascinating. You can tell the author has planned it out well and probably has notebooks filled with little details about it that just didn't make the final edit. The concept is interesting as well playing with traditional ideas of the Antichrist or Ruin as she is referred to in this book. The problem lies with the characters. Their physical presence is every bit as well described as the scenery, I have vivid mental images of all of them. Most of the characters aren't human, it is clearly stressed in the book that Angels, Demons, Jinn, and Fey don't think mutch of humans and have little sympathy towards them. The few characters that are human are messed up to the point where they barely count. They are hard to identify with and even more difficult to like them. I found myself thinking that this story would be better suited to anime, where the edgy style would have been enough to overcome emotionally cold characters. Sadly it's a novel and lacked the emotional depth and overall enjoyability that I usually look for.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    While this book was good, it left me with far more questions than it did answers. I know that it is the first book in a trilogy, so I didnt expect to have the events in the book all wrapped up in a neat bow by the end. But this book left me with question all throughout the book as opposed to at the end. Let me start by saying that I reviewed this book from an ARC copy provided by the publisher. Because of that I am keeping an open mind and hoping that the finished copy of this book underwent While this book was good, it left me with far more questions than it did answers. I know that it is the first book in a trilogy, so I didn’t expect to have the events in the book all wrapped up in a neat bow by the end. But this book left me with question all throughout the book as opposed to at the end. Let me start by saying that I reviewed this book from an ARC copy provided by the publisher. Because of that I am keeping an open mind and hoping that the finished copy of this book underwent some more revision before it is published. The book starts off right in the thick of the action and maybe that is part of the problem. There is never too much explanation of what is going on or what occurred before so it always feels like you’re 3 steps behind. The story itself and the idea behind it is very good, it’s more the execution of the story and it’s events that is lacking. Nevertheless, while I did find myself confused I did also find myself intrigued. Intrigued enough to want to pick up a finished copy and continue with the series.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Angie M

    The premise for this book seemed really cool, and I'm always down for an angel book. But as soon as I hit chapter one, I knew I was in trouble. The author doesn't explain anything. She expects us to know what's going on. I still don't really understand the academy or blood heads or anything. And the main character Angela? I couldn't connect with her because we're never given that chance. I really could care less if she were to actually die, which is all she cares about anyway. I could deal with The premise for this book seemed really cool, and I'm always down for an angel book. But as soon as I hit chapter one, I knew I was in trouble. The author doesn't explain anything. She expects us to know what's going on. I still don't really understand the academy or blood heads or anything. And the main character Angela? I couldn't connect with her because we're never given that chance. I really could care less if she were to actually die, which is all she cares about anyway. I could deal with that though. I was willing to tough it out. But then it got weird. All of a sudden, Lucifer is actually Lucifel, a woman...? And there's a male angel who's pregnant...? And Jinn are angels...? I just couldn't take it anymore. If you're going to write an angel novel, there are some constants that you have to keep. The thrones in the book are waaaaay off from actual biblical thrones. I mean, why are the thrones in the book so sex-crazed? This book just didn't work for me. I had to drop it. Yet another angel book that's a totally pile of crap.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Tamara

    I do not even know how to explain this book. To be honest, I don't even think the author could explain this book. It was so utterly disgusting, confusing, and it sounded like gibberish. May God help anyone who tempts to read this book.

  19. 4 out of 5

    harlequin {Stephanie}

    This had so very dark a story. The writing, story & characters stick true to that. If you are not of fan of the goth, morbid or macabre scene you will not enjoy this. Would not recommend for children. Not even sure why this was sold as a ya. There are a lot of reference to incest, drug use & sex. Parents will find offensive. Why 3 stars? In some ways this book was so dazzling I can't even wrap my mind around it. In others it was a crushing disappointment. It just feels unfinished. Plot This had so very dark a story. The writing, story & characters stick true to that. If you are not of fan of the goth, morbid or macabre scene you will not enjoy this. Would not recommend for children. Not even sure why this was sold as a ya. There are a lot of reference to incest, drug use & sex. Parents will find offensive. Why 3 stars? In some ways this book was so dazzling I can't even wrap my mind around it. In others it was a crushing disappointment. It just feels unfinished. Plot twists near the end started to go over the top into the realm of, "yeah right!". Unlike most ya books I truly enjoyed the writing style. Even with the grammatical errors. It stays true to the macabre feel from beginning to end. The world has some of the most conceptually unique and well played out takes on demon and angel mythology. The only beings that disppointed was the angels. Not in the style just the characters themselves. This is a description of Troy's character, she is the most interesting too in my opinion. Up close, she was perhaps more terrifying and beautiful than in the shadows, the blue veins of her skin taking on the appearance of intricate lacework, her large eyes such a brilliant yellow that they bordered on fluorescent. If you don't plan on reading at least the first two books don't even pick this up. Leaves too many unanswered questions to satisfy some. I enjoyed it and am more than a little disappointed. Has a constant change of POV throughout the book. Which I've always thought adds more angles to the story. Seems to bug some. Getting to know the cast. Most of the characters are more or less interesting. Not all likeable. Angela is the Archon, the living embodiment of the angel Raziel. (view spoiler)[His soul lives alongside hers. Angela's soul is something beyond human, but it has yet to be revealed. In her dream or memory of the fall she sees through the eyes of someone whom she shares similar features. (hide spoiler)] She can't die. Her character has a connection with the angel Israfeal. Dreaming about him constantly she aquires an obsession. Feeling her abusive parents have left her no choice she attempts suicide. Never works. No matter what she tries. While attempting fire she ends up setting the entire house on fire and killing both parents. Her Brother Brendan has hated her since. She was in mental instituion until the vatican spirits her away. They are collecting red heads, attempting to fulfill a prophecy. personal thoughts: Didn't start to impress me til near the end. Before that seems to not do much. Being content to let others do the work for her. Something I could not get around was her obsession with Israfeal. I kept hoping it was a form of thrall. Turns out no. She is just that messed up. (view spoiler)[Still loved him even after he let her brother be killed by a demon. (hide spoiler)] Kim is in training to be a priest. At least at the beginning. (view spoiler)[It's more of a cover since he is half jinn or jinn demon. He had killed his full Jinn father who was very abusive. His true Jinn name is Sariel. He is cousin to Troy. (hide spoiler)] personal thoughts: Started out annoying me. Enjoyed him before the end also. Troy is a full blood Jinn demon, who is also the high assassin for the Jinn. Best character hands down, super bad ass. So glad she will be back for the sequel. personal thoughts: Fascinating character. If she wasn't in the sequel I probably wouldn't read on. Israfeal is the angel in Angela's dreams or memories. He is hands down the oddest character. Author went a little over board on the vagueness of his character. (view spoiler)[ As far as we know he is male. Being described as androgynous & being supposedly pregnant. We never really find out for sure. He admits to Brendan that he is male. No not making that up. So not sure if he is both. Major inconsistencies with his character. He also mentions that he was in love with Raziel, his brother. Not sure how you can be in love-love with your sibling and not be a fallen angel. There are early references that he is ill. Not sure if that is something unrelated to his pregnancy. (hide spoiler)] personal thoughts: He was interesting. Too odd to be likeable. Not sure what his elegance is. Lucifel Also known as the devil. Yes. In this version the devil is a woman. The fall of the angels is a lot different as well. Still temptation just of a different sort. (view spoiler)[She was impregnated by her brother, the angel Raziel. The children were supposedly killed, but not. Then a holy war ensued between Israfeal's angels and Lucifel's followers. Currently trapped in the underworld at the start. (hide spoiler)] Stephanie is the queen B of the school. Pretty average. She is suppose to be a witch. Attempts to convince everyone through the book that she is the archon. (view spoiler)[Turns out she is the ruin being possessed by two demons. One being the Lucifel, the devil herself. (hide spoiler)] personal thoughts: Average mean girl. Naamah is a demon stephanie called from the underworld. She controls it. Has more of a wishful thinking mother daughter relationship with her. Sophia Befriends Angela. (view spoiler)[She is the living embodiment of the book of Raziel. With all the feelings of a human being (hide spoiler)] Nina Another of Angelas' friends. (view spoiler)[Becomes possessed by the demon Mikel. (hide spoiler)] So we do have a lot of inconsistencies. The vatican turning a blind eye to stephanie's witchcraft. Israfeal not falling considering his own sins. Stuff like that.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Dark Faerie Tales

    Review Courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales Quick & Dirty: A wild mix of angels and demons, each player having their own agendas, and the mortal with the power to destroy it all. LOTS of details and subplots to follow making this more political than romance in its presentation. Opening Sentence: Thats an incredible painting. The Review: This book turned out to be a hard read for me. There is an obscene amount of back story details and lots of little sub agendas for each character, that the overall Review Courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales Quick & Dirty: A wild mix of angels and demons, each player having their own agendas, and the mortal with the power to destroy it all. LOTS of details and subplots to follow making this more political than romance in its presentation. Opening Sentence: “That’s an incredible painting.” The Review: This book turned out to be a hard read for me. There is an obscene amount of back story details and lots of little sub agendas for each character, that the overall story can get lost in the translation. I had to read it twice through in order to really appreciate Archon. This book, though worth it, will take a leap of faith on the reader’s part that things will begin to make some sense if you can just stick it out. Angela Mathers is apathetic to life. She has just been released from a mental institution and is about to start attending the Vatican’s prestigious West Wood Academy in Luz. Accepted into the Academy not only because of her exceptional paintings of angels, but because she may be the One prophesized as the Archon; the Supernal Raziel reincarnated as a mortal and possible Ruin of the known world. For someone not even interested in living, this seems far-fetched. All she knows is that her dreams are haunted by two beautiful angels and she is unable to kill herself no matter how many times she tries. But her personal concerns become unimportant with so many different people, demons, and angels testing her and speculating on whether she is the one they all have been waiting a millennia for. This is where most people are going to start to lose interest. There are too many different characters with too many agendas. Some want to see the Archon come into power, some would rather kill the Archon before she comes into her power. Is Angela the one foretold or isn’t she? Even at the end of the book, this fundamental question is still there. I have hopes that the series will start to make more sense as it progresses, because if the next book is like this one, I won’t continue reading it. Although each character is strong, they are all basically flawed; which makes them far more relatable. Stephanie Walsh is the queen of the school; full of confidence and attitude. But she is still chained to her adopted mother’s approval. Kim is the bad boy that Angela shouldn’t get involved with; but he is fragile emotionally and longs for Angela’s love. Even the Supernal Israfel, who is one of the top three elite angels, has vulnerabilities that make him seem more “human.” Each of the main characters has so much depth to them and too many secrets to do adequate justice to in this little book. It almost needs an additional 400 pages to fully explore each player’s background and rationality. The world itself is intoxicating. The City of Luz and its inhabitants are a major draw for me. An academy sponsored by the Vatican that encourages exploration of supernatural abilities outside their own Lexicon. I love all the little details of the dilapidated classrooms and dorms; how the townsfolk deal with murders like they are commonplace. Even the torrential and seemingly increasing violent weather are all indicative to the overall tension of the book. It is these details that help balance out the endless barrage of plots and subterfuge by the characters, helping the reader gage the mounting tension that is rising toward the climax of the story. One of the few things that I did not like about this book was Angela. At first, she is only going through the motions of life. She has no desire for anything other than her death. By the end of the book, she is looking forward to what is coming next in her life. So, where was the turning point for her having such a dramatic change of heart? Was it her sacrifice of her dreams to call up a spirit of an angel? Was it sleeping with her lover for the first time? Was it meeting the angel of her dreams and realizing that he is really not all she made him out to be? I’m not sure when it happens, but I am sure that it seems almost too drastic a change for it to be believable. It feels like Angela isn’t reacting faithfully to her essential character. I find it hard to relate to her as a person. So, what is the Archon anyway? I can’t give a good answer to that. There are so many different interpretations offered about the prophecy, that no one has been 100 % correct. I had hoped that it would become clearer at the end of the book but alas, it was not meant to be. Perhaps the next few books offer what has been teased in this first one; a decent explanation to what all of this stuff means. If you decide to take the plunge into Archon remember this: Don’t get caught up in the details and just let the book flow through you. If you do that, it makes it a much more enjoyable read. Notable Scene: I don’t care if I’m the Archon or not. I don’t have to open that damned Book to put Stephanie where she belongs. In Hell. She left the room, clattering down the steep staircase and along a hallway that emptied into the broken church. Angela splashed through the pebbles, hardly even giving a damn about her surroundings. Her brain burned like the stone around her neck, and it seemed to her that through that Eye, she could see the whole universe and everything in it, and how much it deserved to be in her hands rather than in those of a greedy, ignorant person like Stephanie. This is my world. Where was that thought coming from? It was the voice that had reminded her how to subdue Troy, and its pitch and tone was still like her own, but much more forceful. Briefly, Angela flashed back to that long-ago dream, when she’d stood before the angel who’d spoken to her so mysteriously. Now she remembered at least a fraction of what he’d said, though she wasn’t sure how much sense it made. For now, though, it seemed right to agree. This is my world. Time to enforce the rules. The Books of Raziel Series: 1. Archon FTC Advisory: HarperCollins provided me with a copy of Archon. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review. The only payment received came in the form of hugs and kisses from my little boys.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Anya

    This is by far one of the most confusing books I've ever read. Half of the time I had no idea what was going on, whose POV it was from or who the hell was good and/or bad... I have half a clue about what exactly was the ending, but am still not 100% sure. One of the main reason I actually finished this book was because I highly dislike DNFs. I will also probably check the sequel, because the writing wasn't bad. The world was thoughtfully created, characters weren't as likeable as they were This is by far one of the most confusing books I've ever read. Half of the time I had no idea what was going on, whose POV it was from or who the hell was good and/or bad... I have half a clue about what exactly was the ending, but am still not 100% sure. One of the main reason I actually finished this book was because I highly dislike DNFs. I will also probably check the sequel, because the writing wasn't bad. The world was thoughtfully created, characters weren't as likeable as they were confusing but maybe things will get better in Covenant. For me, I think the reason why it was so confusing was because Benulis used so many new words to create her world and I had to constantly check the dictionary at the end of the book which made it harder for me to get into the story. Also, there were too many new words that I just mixed them all together. Another thing that was kind of disturbing, so many people kept dying but somehow no one seemed to care...

  22. 4 out of 5

    Aubrie L. Nixon

    Archon by Sabrina Benulis 4/5 Archon is about a blood head aka red headed girl named Angela Mathers. After being released from a mental institution for a suspicious fire, that killed her abusive parents, Angela is sent to West Wood Academy. In this gothic tale, there is a prophecy that a blood head will become the Archon, and bring upon the work something called The Ruin. Basically an apocalypse. Most blood heads are abandoned, abused, or send to WestWood where the Vatican can keep an eye on Archon by Sabrina Benulis 4/5 Archon is about a “blood head” aka red headed girl named Angela Mathers. After being released from a mental institution for a suspicious fire, that killed her abusive parents, Angela is sent to West Wood Academy. In this gothic tale, there is a prophecy that a blood head will become the Archon, and bring upon the work something called The Ruin. Basically an apocalypse. Most blood heads are abandoned, abused, or send to WestWood where the Vatican can keep an eye on them. So this world was already pretty dark and dreary with that premise. PERFECT! This tale is dark, twisted, and gory. I took this one as slow as I could because it was just so good and I wanted to take in as much detail as I could. Archon is doom and gloom, with pizazz. The fierce darkness that surrounds this world is utterly breathtaking, and it literally devours your soul. I LOVED this story and the characters it held. Angela was a flawed character, and I loved that about her. It made her very easy to relate to. She is suicidal, and has tried and failed to end her life multiple times. I feel like those who are suffering from suicidal intentions, might need to prepare themselves for the darkness with Angela’s character. It might trigger some. The multiple points of view within this story were confusing at first. But once you get to know the characters better, it becomes easier to keep up with. The MPOV made this story more unique because you get the differing perspectives and story ARCs that are happening with each character, even the ‘villain.” Because of this, I couldn’t exactly hate any of the characters. In fact, i look forward to each off their journeys in the rest of the series. Over all, this book was fantastic! I can’t wait to read 2 and 3!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Wendy

    When I first read Daughter of the Blood by Anne Bishop, I found myself on shaky ground. I'm an extremely visual reader, creating scenes and characters in my head as I read the words on a page. I picture everything. With the first book in the Black Jewel's Trilogy, however, I had trouble seeing the world the author had created in my mind's eye. I can't explain why, just that it's so. Perhaps it was the way the author jumped right into the story and took off running. It was the same for me with When I first read Daughter of the Blood by Anne Bishop, I found myself on shaky ground. I'm an extremely visual reader, creating scenes and characters in my head as I read the words on a page. I picture everything. With the first book in the Black Jewel's Trilogy, however, I had trouble seeing the world the author had created in my mind's eye. I can't explain why, just that it's so. Perhaps it was the way the author jumped right into the story and took off running. It was the same for me with Archon by Sabrina Benulis. And yet both books captivated me, drawing me into their worlds. Even when I wasn't reading, I felt a little like I had one foot in the book and the other in reality. I love it when a book has that effect on me. Set in Luz, a city on the cusp of all that is holy and hell, the novel is about a damaged young woman who wants nothing more than to die. Only she can't. Every attempt she makes ends in failure. Haunted by visions of angels, Angela longs to join them. She is sure she will find answers at the Vatican's exclusive university in Luz. A prophecy foretelling the end of the world warns of the coming of the Ruin or Archon. The Archon is believed to be the reincarnation of the once powerful angel, Raziel. Angela is one of many who fit the description of this alleged Ruin with her red hair, pale skin and mystical powers. Considered freaks of society and ostracized, the blood heads are both feared and hated. Angela becomes the target of a particularly nasty sorority leader who will stop at nothing to prove that she, Stephanie, is the Archon. Soon Angela finds herself at the center of the struggle between Heaven and Hell--where good and evil are blurry at best and where the likely outcome is life or death. Despite my initial difficulty picturing Luz, I found Archon to be an intense and entertaining book. The characters were fascinating--flawed and mysterious, beautiful and yet ugly. The whole evil versus good came into play time and time again and was upended just as many times throughout the book. It was hard not to feel sympathy for even the darkest of characters. Angela, the main protagonist, is a strong young woman despite her insecurities. She shows courage and decisiveness when she most needs it. And yet clearly she is quite damaged, having been terribly abused as a child because of her blood head status. The angels in Archon are more like the ones in the television show Supernatural than they are from the show Touched by an Angel. The angels are prideful and self-centered, having their own agenda that doesn't always include the humans. It makes it all the more interesting. I confess I didn't see the allure of any of the angels really. Sure they were beautiful, but their personalities left a lot to be desired. Of all the characters, the one that I was most drawn to was Sophia. She is a mystery right from the start. Kim, too, was an especially interesting character. He and Angela seemed well suited for each other. I was never quite sure of Kim or Sophia--where their loyalties lied. Both are still a bit of a mystery and I hope to learn more about them in future books. It's hard to believe this is a debut novel. The author expertly weaves the characters and their stories together. There are several moments throughout the book that left me holding my breath, afraid of what was to come and yet dying to know what would happen. I picked up Archon to read on a whim and am so glad I did. It was an exciting read and I look forward to seeing what else Sabrina Benulis has to offer. I just hope she doesn't take too long!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Donte McNeal

    First things first, I absolutely adore the supernatural, as well as horror, so this book seemed to be one written just for me, what with its dark, homicidal and/or suicidal characters. So imagine my disappointment when Im reading through and see almost the same recycled history of angels and demons, though its not the same, so I digress. *Minor spoilers throughout* Pros Dark, suicidal main character. I have a soft spot for damaged or broken characters that, for the most part doesnt hide from said First things first, I absolutely adore the supernatural, as well as horror, so this book seemed to be one written just for me, what with its dark, homicidal and/or suicidal characters. So imagine my disappointment when I’m reading through and see almost the same recycled history of angels and demons, though it’s not the same, so I digress. *Minor spoilers throughout* Pros • Dark, suicidal main character. I have a soft spot for damaged or broken characters that, for the most part doesn’t hide from said brokenness. Our heroine, Angela is constantly attempting to commit suicide (and just as constantly fails, thanks to a guardian angel… See what I did there? Because the story revolves…around angels...never mind). I love that she is so tired of life and so eager to see the angels she constantly dreams of, she’d be willing to kill herself just for the chance to meet him/her. • Fleshed out Gothic setting/history Luz, the city in which our story takes place, is one that is developed well with its descriptions—if not too much at times. Also, the warped view of angels and their roles in the traditional view of angelical history is refreshing. A story can be bogged down by over-describing something, be it an action or a place. Though, for the most part the descriptive writing style of Benulis works to the reader’s advantage, proving the opportunity to be drawn into the world of Archon. • Interesting, if not underdeveloped characters I’ve already professed my partiality towards broken characters, and this book surely has no shortage of them. It seems not one person in this story is whole (in any sense of the word) and that’s saying something considering how many characters are introduced over the course of the story. That can be a bit of a turn-off at times, but I enjoyed it. Cons • Aforementioned underdevelopment of characters I believe it to be the author’s job, nay their obligation, to provide their readers with characters they can either come to care about or hate. But, when I find myself not really caring whether or not the characters in the story I’m reading gets what they’re working toward/fighting for, then there is a definite disconnect. If I can form a connection with the characters, then their journeys are irrelevant to me. Also, when I can’t figure out the gender of arguably one of the most important characters…well, let’s just say that’s something that takes me out of the story (though I did appreciate the twist on the Devil). • Pacing It took me about a week to finish this book, and that’s a long time for me. I just couldn’t get with the slow pacing of the story; it was almost uneven at times. When the action was happening, I was a bit confused, and the slow parts of the story—which there are quite a few of—seemed to drag on. This is definitely not a page-turner, at least it wasn’t for me. So, in conclusion, Archon was an ok read. It wasn’t full of suspense, and didn’t have me on the edge of my seat, but it had an interesting premise that fell short on being executed. Though, even with that said, I’ll be picking up the sequel. I doubt it’ll be high on my tbr list though.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Beth The Vampire

    The blurb sounded so promising, but I was very disappointed. When I first picked up the book I saw the acknowledgements, and that the author thanked God first. now I have nothing against religion; each to their own. But seeing as the book was about angels, I was already doubting my decision to read this, but I gave it a go. It's wasn't preachy or overly-religious or anything like that, which was good. There was a lot of lore here (hence the need for the dictionary at the back), and the sheer The blurb sounded so promising, but I was very disappointed. When I first picked up the book I saw the acknowledgements, and that the author thanked God first. now I have nothing against religion; each to their own. But seeing as the book was about angels, I was already doubting my decision to read this, but I gave it a go. It's wasn't preachy or overly-religious or anything like that, which was good. There was a lot of lore here (hence the need for the dictionary at the back), and the sheer amount made the book seemed bogged down. Too focused in prophecies, and angels, and fokelore to really focus on the story and the characters. So many times I became confused as to who was who, what certain things meant (like being the Archon, for example, and why everyone was fighting over it considering that it didn't sound like a good thing to be), who was aligned with who and why, and why people took the actions they did. There were some interesting aspects to Angela's character, but these were not fully explored, instead she became so bogged down in the world there wasn't the time. In the whole book Angela and those around her kept saying that she was not the Archon, so I knew that she had to turn out to be in the end, and while she did, the reasons for this and what that meant were so confusing. Also, I couldn't tell whether this was supposed to be a young adult book or not, because while the majority of the characters were 18 or so, the writing seemed to be aiming for an older audience. Often I became confused as to where the characters were, what their surroundings looked like, and what they were doing, and I think this was the fault of the writing. Often unclear, and sometimes focusing on the most minor elements of an environment, I found it sometimes to be convoluted, like the writer was trying to make the story seem more adult. At times, when the characters were just being bitchy to one another I really felt like I was reading a teen high school novel, and then other parts were so bogged down in folklore and mythology that I felt like I was reading an entirely different book. In the end though, I don't think anyone really learned anything, and that all of the characters seemed to get what they deserve...either die or become insane. The explanations of the angels is something else I want to touch on briefly, because they did not seem well explained enough, and it left me wondering whether the author even had a clear picture. At one point one the angels had 6 pairs of wings, and that threw me because it had never been described before. That's what I felt through the whole book, like the pointless and more benign things were explained over and over again (such as Angela not being able to die) but other things, such as the relationships between the angels (Isfrael and his Thrones for example) or specific aspects about their person, were left out. There was promise here, and I could feel it during some passages or chapters, but ultimately this book couldn't decide what it wanted to be and it left itself in the middle of nowhere.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    From the inside cover: There are some things worse than death For years Angela Mathers has been plagued by visions of a supernatural beingan angel with beguiling eyes and magnificent wings who haunts her thoughts and seduces her dreams. Newly freed from a mental institution where she had been locked away for two years, Angela hopes that attending Westwood Academy, the Vaticans exclusive university, will bring her peace and a semblance of normality. But Angela isnt normal. With her stain of dark From the inside cover: There are some things worse than death… For years Angela Mathers has been plagued by visions of a supernatural being—an angel with beguiling eyes and magnificent wings who haunts her thoughts and seduces her dreams. Newly freed from a mental institution where she had been locked away for two years, Angela hopes that attending Westwood Academy, the Vatican’s exclusive university, will bring her peace and a semblance of normality. But Angela isn’t normal. With her stain of dark red hair and alabaster skin, she is a blood head—a freak, a monster, and the possible fulfillment of terrifying prophecy. Blessed with strange, mystical powers, blood heads hold a special place in the Academy. Among them, one special blood head is more powerful than them all: the Archon, the human reincarnation of the dead angel Raziel. And when the Archon arises as foretold, it will rule the supernatural universe. Barely in control of her own life, Angela has no ambition to conquer an entire universe, not when she’s suddenly contending with a dangerous enemy who is determined to destroy her and a magnetic novitiate who want to save her. But the choice might not be her own… Torn between mortal love and angelic obsession, the young blood head must soon face the truth about herself and her world. It is she who holds the key to Heaven and Hell—and both will stop at nothing to possess her. In Archon, Sabrina Benulis has created a dazzling imaginative tale set in a lush, vivid supernatural world filled with gargoyles and candlelight, magic and murder, in which humans, angels, demons, and those in between battle for supremacy—and survival. The reason I have this here is because without reading this you might be entirely confused from the get go. Archon is a wonderfully written book with beautiful language, and an in depth world and characters. Archon is a book you need to read slowly and take in every detail, all of which are very important to following the story line. Sometimes I had to reread a paragraph here or there because I missed something. Now I don’t mind doing this but if you do mind and you don’t pay close enough attention to detail you will miss out when reading this book and end up completely confused but if you don’t mind it like me and pay attention to detail you will surely not think of this book as a waste of time. I cannot wait for the next book 8)

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sam

    OK. Let me start by saying that I am a reader. When I pick up a book, I always finish it out of respect for the work an author has put into it. No disrespect to previous reviewers but ??????? As I see from previous comments, other readers, by putting this book down too early, may have done themselves an injustice. ARCHON by Sabrina Benulis is not a self published piece. A major publisher found the story compelling enough to take it on it not only in the US but internationally as well. My guess OK. Let me start by saying that I am a reader. When I pick up a book, I always finish it out of respect for the work an author has put into it. No disrespect to previous reviewers but ??????? As I see from previous comments, other readers, by putting this book down too early, may have done themselves an injustice. ARCHON by Sabrina Benulis is not a self published piece. A major publisher found the story compelling enough to take it on it not only in the US but internationally as well. My guess is they saw what I and many others saw. A unique, compelling story of love, hate, sadness, grief, myth and enough intrigue to challenge readers and have us asking for more. At first, I was caught up by the beautiful cover and expected the typical quick blow-thru-this-book angel/human romance. How wrong I was - and happily so. ARCHON: The Books of Raziel is not a typical novel. It made me really read, pay attention, get absorbed......... Greatly interested in the true mythology of angels and demons I found BenuIis really did her homework on this one and her characterizations were spot on. She certainly knows Christian angelic mythology and there is a great deal of various religious undertones throughout the novel. For her to create such a deep tapestry while telling such an awesome story is amazing to me. Furthermore, I appreciated the exceptional world building and since I am an epic fantasy fan did not mind the lengths taken to describe the world where all of this was happening. Protagonist Angela Mathers and the cast of characters popped right off the page for me and I truly felt her deep angst throughout the novel. I saw an earlier reviewer comment that the book had a japanese animé feel to it as well. I totally agree with this, especially with the love interests Angel Israfel and novice priest Kim and doll-like Sophia. I loved all of the characters but my standout was Troy, the high-assasin Jinn. She is a cold, calculating, vicious killer and yet, at times, I actually sympathized with her plight. Plenty of previous reviews have summarized this complex book and I do not see a need to repeat it again. Suffice it to say that I can't wait for Book 2 of this series to see where things go next. To the author I say, "Thank You and Well Done", for finally giving us a great paranormal gothic fantasy we can sink our teeth into!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Evie

    *Warning: possible spoilers* This started as a standard YA novel, but "escalated quickly" as they say. Angela Mathers - who just can't succeed in suicide no matter how or what she tries - is in an exclusive school run by the Vatican. Only exceptionally talented students get in, along with all "blood heads", i.e. redheaded young women. Why all redheads? Well, it is believed that when the Archangel Raziel chose to be reincarnated as a human, he left note that it would be as a redheaded female who *Warning: possible spoilers* This started as a standard YA novel, but "escalated quickly" as they say. Angela Mathers - who just can't succeed in suicide no matter how or what she tries - is in an exclusive school run by the Vatican. Only exceptionally talented students get in, along with all "blood heads", i.e. redheaded young women. Why all redheads? Well, it is believed that when the Archangel Raziel chose to be reincarnated as a human, he left note that it would be as a redheaded female who would be the Archon (she who decides the fate of humanity). As a redhead myself, I found this awesome :) Not to mention I've been called a lot of redheaded nicknames in my life, but never blood head. Add that to the list. What I like about this is the reader is taken on a journey that seems like a long time, but in reality it's only a couple of days since classes have started. The seemingly arch enemy and sorority leader Stephanie isn't the real evil, and it's "is Stephanie the Archon....or is Angela..." . It goes back and forth and it's always a mystery. Everyone finds out their friends really aren't, there are agendas all over the place, and souls are at stake - literally. And the REAL Book of Raziel...whoa! The names of the characters are not gender specific, and I really like that barrier being broken. I also like that while Angela does have a love interest, it does NOT rule her life OR cloud her judgment. She doesn't let her emotions get in the way, and does what she needs to do. It's so refreshing to read this in a world where women are shoved romance novels and told if you're a woman who doesn't need a man that there's something wrong with you....this is a great read for any woman who is strong and loves paranormal. It does end on a bit of a cliffhanger just so you're aware...I've had book 2 for a while so off I go!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    Archon is book one in a series about Angela Mathers, a troubled young woman who dreams of angels and is apparently unkillable (she knows, she's tried). The book starts as she's released from a mental institution and starting out at a new university, West Wood Academy, a priest-run school for blood heads like her (red-headed children with powers). Society sends all such children to one place, because one of them is going to be the prophesied Archon, who will unlock the lost book of the archangel Archon is book one in a series about Angela Mathers, a troubled young woman who dreams of angels and is apparently unkillable (she knows, she's tried). The book starts as she's released from a mental institution and starting out at a new university, West Wood Academy, a priest-run school for blood heads like her (red-headed children with powers). Society sends all such children to one place, because one of them is going to be the prophesied Archon, who will unlock the lost book of the archangel Raziel and have the power to remake the universe. And seeing as Angela dreams of angels, she is attracting attention from anyone who has a stake in the Archon prophecy, whether they want to stop her or control her. This was a breathless, strange little book. And I mean that in a good way. Breathless because things happen so fast and even the characters that the narrative is following don't fully understand everything as it's happening. Strange because it's this odd blend of alternate reality, dark fantasy, theology, mystery, and YA romance. There are red-headed witches, evil angels, half-demon priests, and a whole lot of surreal gothic ambiance (somewhat unclear, but I think it's supposed to take place in the future). Also a whole lot of bloody violence, shifting alliances and trust issues. It makes for a compelling read, because you're never quite sure as a reader whose side someone is on or what their end game is. It's not the type of read you can skim- you will miss important details if you do that, and probably be confused. But if you pay attention, enough questions are answered that you will be drawn into the world of the story. Overall it was a satisfying read in itself, but also sets the stage for a pretty sweeping fantasy series. It's definitely on the darker side, though, so if you're looking for something light and fluffy, this may not be for you.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jesse Coffey

    This was a good read. A little too convoluted in places and there were a few sections that I had to re-read. There's a lot flying at you in the story, a lot of details and information. Some things don't get fully explained -- on purpose -- and you're left guessing. But the answers do surface as you go. These are definitely NOT the stereotypical angels and demons that we're used to in the movies and books we've had until now. The angels are tinged with darkness, the demons are tinged with light. This was a good read. A little too convoluted in places and there were a few sections that I had to re-read. There's a lot flying at you in the story, a lot of details and information. Some things don't get fully explained -- on purpose -- and you're left guessing. But the answers do surface as you go. These are definitely NOT the stereotypical angels and demons that we're used to in the movies and books we've had until now. The angels are tinged with darkness, the demons are tinged with light. No one plays fair. It's a dimension where the devil is female and God doesn't have the time or the inclination to ever show His face. The story has a dirty, gritty, post-apocalyptic feel, even though that apocalypse hasn't come. Yet. The humans are flawed but compelling in trying to sort through the age-old story of good vs evil. Angela Mathers is a tortured and troubled soul; driven to the point of madness by her visions of her angel and the demons that would destroy them both. The Vatican has determined a superbeing known as the Archon has been born and is a redhead -- aka, a bloodhead. The demons want the Archon to supplant Lucifel -- Satan by Her true name -- so they can put it on the throne of Hell. The angels believe the Archon to be the reincarnation of one of the Supernals, Raziel. So the Vatican has built a school and compelled all redheaded children to be brought to the island of Luz, so they can find the Archon and destroy it. There are more twists and turns than a road through the mountains, the story is like a car crash on the highway -- you want to look away but you can't. The story may get confusing on occasion but it's still thoroughly engrossing and will suck you in from page one. And while convoluted and dark, the pay off in the ending is worth it. A definitely must read.

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