Friday, June 12, 2009

Dancing on the Head of a Pin

Going to try something a bit different with the reviews. Please let me know if you like or dislike.

Dancing on the Head of a Pin
(Remy Chandler Series Volume 2)
Written by: Thomas E. Sniegoski
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Roc Trade
Language: English
April 2009, $14.99
Genre: Urban Fantasy

Once he was known as the angel Remiel, but generations ago Boston PI Remy Chandler chose to renounce Heaven and live on Earth, where he found a secure place among us ordinary humans. But now, having lost the love of his life, Remy finds himself turning more and more away from his human friends and his everyday existence. He's begun to seek out dangerous jobs - those that involve the supernatural, those that bring him into contact with his past.

Like his latest case: the theft of a cache of ancient weaponry stolen from a collector who deals in antiquities of a dark and dubious nature. The weapons, Remy knows, were forged aeons ago and imbued with unimaginable power. If they fall into the wrong hands, they could be uses to destroy not only Heaven but also Earth.

And to prevent that, Remy Chandler must decide whether he is willing to lose the last of his own humanity.


In this second Remy Chandler novel Remy, aka Remiel of the Seraphim, is still reeling over the loss of his human wife. He struggles every day to hold onto his humanity despite the grief that consumes him. Even Marlowe, his dog, does his own job of keeping Remy connected to the human world. So what it as angel to do? Well work of course.

The book begins with Remy and his friend Francis investigating the selling of angelic organs by a group of the Fallen. When they find the angel being held and hear his last words, Remy feels the need to tell his fellow angels, the Nomads, what happened to their brother. The Nomads are a sect of angels who remained impartial when it came to the war in Heaven with the Morningstar. After the war ended they came to earth to contemplate what they should have done and whose side they should have chosen.

This plot takes a bit of a backseat as Remy is soon hired by an older gentleman who has spent his life collecting antique weapons. But these are no ordinary weapons. They are the Pitiless and their strength and power has no equal. Of course that is only scratching the surface of why they were created and who they were created for. Even worse, why has someone stolen them and what are they going to do with them.

Things I loved: This is a great little ride. Not only do I love that Remy stays to his character in his grief for his wife, but his grief is palpable. It’s the little things he misses and how easy it would be to just resume his divine nature and erase that agony. But he made the decision to be human long ago and he isn’t willing to forget all that he has learned and felt during his time on Earth.

I also like Sniegoski’s picture of Heaven and Hell. Hell isn’t what you think. It is not for human souls, but for those who have betrayed God and followed Lucifer. Essentially it is a prison for the Fallen. More than that, he admits that there are other things out there than Heaven and Hell. In the Menagerie series Sniegoski and Golden also address this. Although two of the main characters are God’s creations (Eve…yep that Eve, and Clay, a golem who is created from God’s hands), throughout the series the Menagerie is dealing with something far greater. There are other Gods, other beings that do not recognize or care for the Gods of Earth. And they are coming. Shades of Lovecraft, but good. I see that in the Remy books and it is clear after the events in this book and the previous one that Sniegoski has big things planned and I cannot wait to see them played out.

Another thing I liked was the expansion of Francis. He is a great character as is Remy’s cop friend. Even the Fallen get character development and some of them end up being far more complex than you would have expected. For example Sniegoski has shown us the rebellious, disaffected angels. But now we also see a war torn, post traumatic stress angel who don’t know what to do when the smoke clears. Expanding the universe, explaining certain things that you may have questioned before was great.

Things I didn't love so much: There really isn’t a lot to complain about. Although sometimes Remy’s angel vs human inner monologues can get a bit repetitive, I get them. And once we discover what Francis does in his apartment, understanding why events seem to center around Boston makes sense. Its kind of like Sunnydale and the Hellmouth.

Buy or Borrow: Definitely buy.

Part of: The Remy Chandler Series.
A Kiss Before the Apocalypse (Book One)
Noah’s Orphans (Mean Streets Anthology novella)
Where Angels Fear to Tread (Book Three – Due April 2010)

Also Recommended: The Menagerie Series by Sniegoski and Christopher Golden beginning with The Nimble Man.

3.75 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks

Mad Hatter over at Mad Hatter's Bookshelf and Review has his own take of Remy's latest outing as well.

Have your own review? Let me know and I will post it.

1 comment:

The Mad Hatter said...

I reviewed DOtHoP as well. I had a lot of teh same feelings as you. Great series.

Here is my take: