The concept of Wilkes alumnus Sabrina Benuli’s novel, “Archon: The Books of Raziel” — the first in what is set to be a trilogy of books published by HarperCollins — drew me in at once.
Fresh out of a mental institution, Angela Mathers attends Westwood Academy, a special university operated by the Vatican, to find some balance in her life. Balance is nowhere near, though, because Angela is a “blood head.”
As a blood head, Angela has special abilities that act as more of a curse. An angel comes to her day and night, for instance, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg in this supernatural universe. Some characters believe Angela is the one who will fulfill an ancient prophecy, which keeps both good and evil allies vying for her attention.
This plot is original in every way, and it resembles nothing that I have ever read before. It is a mix of mythology and religion that comes at a fast-paced rhythm, with plot twists around every corner.
For such a supernatural book, the characters are surprisingly relatable. I was pleasantly surprised to connect with Angela, who doesn’t really want to conquer a universe. She just wants some control over her own life.
Readers will never be bored with this book; in fact, they may not want to put it down. Usually in a trilogy, at least in my experience, the first book isn’t too dark or action-packed. It serves the purpose of slowly setting things up for the next book. “Archon” throws this model out the window. The action starts immediately, and there is no denying that the tag line “The war between heaven and hell begins now,” is a perfect description for the novel.
The writing is held together well, with a nice flow evident in everything from characterization to plot structure. Many ideas in the novel show so much potential for the rest of the series. The inhabitants of Westwood Academy and the isolated island city of Luz draw the reader in and make you want to know more about them, even if they are evil.
The only issue with the book that I could find was that if you don’t pay attention, you might get confused. When I pick up books, I don’t read them lazily or only a few chapters at a time. If you are a reader who does, though, you may have to remind yourself who, for the example, the Jinn, Supernal, High Assassin or Archon are and what roles they play.
Honestly, I loved this fast-paced, enticing novel. Even in moments where there is little action, a reader can sense the pulse beneath. Something is going to happen.
I can’t wait for the next one to come out.
4.5 stars out of 5