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Author: Erica Crouch
Year Published: 2013
Synopsis: Penemuel (Pen) fell from grace over a millennium ago, yet there are still times she questions her decision to follow her twin brother, Azael, to Hell. Now that the archangel Michael has returned, threatening Lucifer’s vie for the throne, she begins questioning everything she has always believed.
As Hell prepares for war - spreading a demonic virus and pilfering innocent souls to build an army - the lines separating the worlds blur. Fates erase and the future is left unwritten. Azael is determined that he and his sister will continue to serve as demons together, but for the first time in her life, Pen is not ruled by destiny. She has the freedom of choice.
With choice comes sacrifice, and Pen must decide which side she’s willing to risk everything fighting for: the light, or the dark.
Review: I am still amazed that Erica Crouch is only 20 years old. Because seriously, girl can tell a story. So major kudos to her. This book was fantastic and had me on the edge of my seat pretty much the whole time. Once I got into it, it was so hard for me to put it down and do things that needed to get done... like sleeping and eating. Things start out a little slow, but they eventually pick up and everything becomes so fast paced that I feel like if you blink, you'll miss something important.
You would think that the whole Heaven vs. Hell, angels vs. demons thing is way overplayed, but Crouch puts her own spin on a classic idea. Pen is not your typical demon. She's unsure of herself and it seems like she only does things because she doesn't want to disappoint her brother. She doesn't really make many decisions for herself, and has convinced herself that everything she does has already been decided for her. But from the beginning of the novel to the end, Pen becomes a completely different person and it's really cool to see her transformation. Michael is also really interesting to watch develop. Although he should be an experienced fighter and leader, he has to be taught everything all over again.
The romance moves a little fast, but I guess it makes sense. At least from Michael's side - he's very trusting and has no reason to think that Pen is trying to deceive him (except for her being a demon and all...). I do think he's a little too trusting though, even if he can "see" that she has goodness in her. It's a nice romance story, and it really does add to the plot and character development, so it works.
I also really love the world that Crouch creates. It's not that different from ours, except we get to see glimpses of Heaven and Hell. Crouch's descriptions are not what Heaven and Hell are typically explained as - Heaven is warm, while Hell is icy. I feel like these closer resemble the Heaven and Hell that Dante described in his Divine Comedy, but I could be wrong. Other poems and prose works are mentioned, so it is possible. I'm not a fan of poetry really, but I did like the way it was integrated into the story.
I'm very excited to see how Pen and Michael's story will end in the sequel to Ignite. Also what will happen in the war between Heaven and Hell, especially with the lines between the three planes beginning to blur. What happens when/if Lucifer takes the throne? What about the fight between Pen and Azael? Who will ultimately win? Will Az ever see the light? I don't want to wait to find out! I would totally recommend this book to anyone who enjoys supernatural romances, or the angels vs. demons thing. A 4/5 from me!