Firstly, I'd like to thank Danita Minnis for the opportunity to read her debut novel, FALCON'S ANGEL, as part of the Gotta Have R2R/Beta Read program.
Based on the blurb, I really wanted to love FALCON'S ANGEL. Unfortunately, I struggled with it and then struggled some more with this review, which is why I'm posting this almost a week after reading it. I needed the time to let my impressions simmer a bit so I could then view my notes objectively. My ultimate rating is an average of what I liked and didn't like about the book because in the end, it was a case of "it's partly the book and it's partly me".WHAT I LIKED:
The storyline was intriguing because FALCON'S ANGEL is more properly a supernatural/occult story, as opposed to paranormal. Contrary to the blurb, il Dragone
is not a devil-worshipping cult but rather an ancient pagan cult. Moreover, the book deals with reincarnation, not time travel. Given that I love the occult and always enjoy how stories handle past lives, the concept behind FALCON'S ANGEL had a lot of potential and appeal for me.
I loved that the story took place in Italy and England but wasn't an HP book. *lol* And I was most engaged while reading Part II, which was the flashback to the past lives in 18th-century Italy (and NOT Regency England). However, given that FALCON'S ANGEL was published by LSB, I was surprised at how mild the sex scenes were (comparable to current category romances). This fact may permit the book to have a wider appeal.WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE, BOOK-WISE:
Bluntly put, the execution of the storyline could've been better. Choppy and/or odd paragraph structuring from page 1 made for a rough (and nervous) start and I never really achieved a smooth reading flow. In addition, I never felt as if I had any background for support while reading FALCON'S ANGEL. It was almost akin to walking on shifting sand, especially when random "oh, yeah..." type of facts/info were suddenly introduced.
More critically, there were numerous plot holes, inconsistencies and ambiguities which either required me, as a reader, to guess and fill in the blanks or simply took me out of the story (made worse when my hand started to itch for my marking pen). Parts of the story were what I personally call "loosey-goosey", with seemingly important information given without subsequent tie-in or follow-up. And lastly, there was my pet peeve—certain facts, such as dates and ages, not adding up.WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE, PERSONALLY:
I didn't particularly care for Sacha/Angelina; she was too Mary Sue for me and frankly, skated dangerously close to TSTL status. I might've liked Armand/Falcon better but as drawn, his character and background were too improbable for belief, even for fiction. Based on the facts given, he apparently didn't attend university and instead, started "the Organization" at age 20. Which coincided with the time that he first started to look for the stolen Stradivarius. (BTW, neither are stated as being part of the aristocracy—rich families, yes, but not aristocratic.)
And there was another pet peeve—the misinformation/mistake regarding the location of the hymen, as described in a sex scene.
But my greatest disappointment came at the end. The book's blurb is slightly misleading in that il Dragone
turned out to be a red herring. Instead of the story ultimately being about revenge for a centuries-old vendetta, the cult is only tangentially involved in a very common crime—the theft of the Stradivarius.* In case it wasn't clear by the first sentence, a copy was provided by the author for an objective review.EDITED: to note correct publisher