Published: 27 June 2017
Warnings: Language, violence, abortion, marijuana use
When Octavia Coal goes to the mountains to clear her head, she doesn’t expect to find an angel in trouble.
He tells her his name is Tamiel and he’s one of the Irin – the army of angels tasked with keeping demons from overwhelming humanity. But Tamiel broke a sacred law – he fell in love with a human – and now he’s being hunted by the same angels he once served.
With nowhere else to go, Octavia and Tamiel – along with Jack, the human in question, and her brother Caleb – appeal directly to Zev, the Demon of Games. A trickster of unparalleled power, Zev gives nothing for free, and the gift he offers Octavia to keep Tamiel alive comes with a confusing catch: He makes her the Healer of Raphael, archangel and Commander of the Irin.
Suddenly a target for both angels and demons, Octavia quickly learns that the only way to survive is to play the game better than they do.
The only problem is, she doesn’t know whose game she’s playing …
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I loved this book! A Game of Wings and Marks absolutely fascinated me. I felt like I had been swept away to an entirely possible reality where everyday people mixed with angels and demons and it all seemed entirely feasible. And I knew early on that it had me sucked in. I tend to make notes of things that catch my attention as I’m reading, so that I know what I want to talk about in my reviews and I have a note here that I wrote when I was only 2% into the book (yes, I noted that too) that I didn’t even know the names of any of the characters yet, but I was already totally drawn into the tension of the story. The descriptions had me enthralled right from the start, and I remained invested in what was to come next, the whole way through.
Octavia is our leading lady and boy, is she a strong character. She’s smart, witty, self-reliant and just plain decent. But she’s also confused, troubled and struggling with her own issues. Although the story itself is anything but real (or is it? by the end of this book it felt genuine!), I think Octavia herself is extremely real. Her way of dealing with each adversity as she is faced with it is just so believable.
I also loved our other characters. And there are quite a few of them! There are 3 main men in Octavia’s life. Octavia’s brother Caleb – he has an annoying girlfriend and a protective streak a mile wide. Zeb – he is a demon, a trickster, and an all round shifty dude, but I totally loved him. He had me conned enough that I was willing to overlook his less stellar actions, as I just really enjoyed it each time he made an appearance. Raphael – an angel, a Watcher, and Octavia has been appointed as his Healer. He is thousands of years old, and he struggles with the fact that while he is an absolute abider of rules, there are rules he now wants to break. And there are plenty of other characters to keep you busy too – be prepared to pay attention, or it can get a bit confusing. But even those characters that only make minor appearances still manage to have a ‘personality’, so it is well worth the effort.
I thought Rebecca Crunden did a fantastic job with the creation of all of the different places we visited. One, she did a little too well – I was able to picture one memorable scene in all it’s grotesque glory. As I could picture all of the places that we were taken to. But I’m not sure that I really fully understood all of it – I might need a 2nd reading to be able to put all of the moving parts properly into place, as there were so very many angles at play all throughout the story.
There are also some fairly heavy issues tackled in this book. Fair warning, abortion is one of them. It isn’t harped on about, it is just addressed in a factual manner as part of the story. But it is there. We also follow along as our characters deal with relationships that see them shunned, family violence, dangerous people from their pasts and psychological traumas. I thought it was all very well handled and we didn’t dwell on any of it, but it was all brought out, addressed and made clear; and it all added up to stronger understandings of each character.
I absolutely didn’t see the ending coming for this story – even just a page earlier I was puzzled with how it would go. But it just suddenly made sense. It did finish a little quickly, but not overly so. And I was absolutely happy for the characters with how it all worked out. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of paranormal with a side of intricately woven world building.
Thank you to Rebecca Crunden for sharing a copy of this e-book with me
Rebecca Crunden is an Irish-based author originally from Texas. After completing her first series, she decided to start independently publishing her novels in 2017. To date she’s published one series, two standalone novels, a novella, and co-written an anthology. When she’s not writing, reading or drinking ridiculous amounts of coffee, she’s hiking with her partner and watching an insane amount of science fiction-fantasy shows.