Guarding Angel by S.L. Saboviec
Not what I expected, and not like anything else I’ve read, this centuries-spanning novel takes you from Heaven to Hell and back in an attempt to examine human nature.
Publisher’s Description: Guardian angel Enael can’t seem to keep her human Wards in check. They’re the ones who choose their paths before reincarnating—she’s just there to help make sure they stay on track. But it’s not as easy as it might look.
When she meets and falls in love with charismatic Kaspen, a fellow Guardian, Enael’s feelings about Heaven, Hell, demons, and the life she’s known are turned upside down. Worse, angel-turned-demon Yasva, Kaspen’s former love, still holds him in her clutches. Even as Yasva works toward obtaining complete control of Earth, she taunts and haunts Kaspen’s and Enael’s lives.
Now Enael is forced to face her past (which is centuries long and bursting with secrets), her present (which is terribly unfulfilling and full of questions), and her future (which becomes more uncertain as time passes). Armed with a newfound love and fear of losing it all, she must figure out how to save the world—-and the angel she loves. Which side will win? Who will Kaspen choose? Will Heaven and Earth continue to exist, or will everything go to Hell?
Possible spoilers beyond this point.
For personal reasons, I wasn’t quite able to finish this book by today. That being said, I am really enjoying this story! I can’t wait to finish it to see where it goes. Unlike any other book I have read before, the author takes you between three worlds that she brings to life through beautiful depiction. You will fall in love with the characters and become entangled in their saga. Whether you are religious or not, this book brings to life the worlds of angels and demons in a non-specific aspect that I think many people will be able to enjoy.
Guarding Angel is well written and intriguing. Saboviec creates an entire culture of angelic – and formerly angelic – beings without being religious or falling back on stereotypes of the genre. I never felt the story was predictable. In fact, I was never sure where the story was going, so my curiously kept me reading all weekend until I finished! I read a lot, and so finding something in my preferred genre that feels so unpredictable is quite a treat.
I particularly loved the peaceful feeling the author created for Heaven. I can’t say all the angels were nice to each other, but there is a feeling of being taken care of and being treated gently, of not being judged too harshly. Saboviec’s Heaven isn’t perfect, but it mostly feels like what I imagine Heaven to be.
I also love the idea that we reincarnate, and plan out our next lives purposefully to learn something each time we live. I don’t hold to any particular religious beliefs myself, but intellectually I’ve always loved the idea of reincarnation—of a soul returning to life over and over to grow and become wise, to be tempered by having so many experiences. It’s an idea that fits with my own passion for learning and self-improvement, and so it made this story all the more engaging for me.
In addition to the rich culture she created for Heaven, the author also created some wonderfully rich characters. Enael and Kaspen, the main characters, change so much over the course of the novel. They learn an awful lot from each other, from the humans they guard, and from their experiences that each of them is a very different angel at the end of the book than they were in the beginning.
I’m thinking the message of the book has to lie somewhere in how these characters change over time; but I’m still processing. I don’t mean to say the message is vague or poorly written or even absent. I think it is a very well-crafted message that takes some thought. This isn’t a “popcorn” book – there’s not a lot of kicking-down-the-door-and-beating-your-enemies action. This is a very thoughtful book that will probably be percolating in your brain for a while.
If you like this book…
Boy… Guarding Angel is not typical of the things I usually read, so I’m not sure I can recommend anything that might be similar to it. Oh, I’ve read other angel/demon books, but the storytelling is nothing like Saboviec’s style. If you’ve read something you think is similar, I’d love to hear about it!