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Review of The Armies of Heaven & Interview with Jane Kindred

Thursday, June 27, 2013



The Armies of Heaven

(The House of Arkhangel'sk #3)
by Jane Kindred

Genre: Fantasy
Paperback: 400 Pages
Publication: June 25, 2013 by Entangled Select




Synopsis

Full-scale war has broken out in Heaven, and Anazakia must embrace her destiny, leading an army of Virtues into battle against a Host of enemies to restore the House of Arkhangel’sk. Furious with her for putting her trust in the angel who has done them all irreparable harm, Vasily tries to ignore his growing resentment, while Belphagor returns to the world of Man with a cadre of beautiful androgynous Virtues to restore the sundered alliance between the Fallen and the gypsy underground. Without their help in enlisting the terrestrial forces of Grigori and Nephilim, Anazakia’s Virtues are hopelessly outnumbered. But there are more things in Heaven and Earth than any of them have dreamt of, and those they cannot see will mean the difference between victory and losing everything.


Review
◆ A copy was provided by Entangled Publishing for review ◆

Anazakia has accepted the role that's been thrust on her as the "Fallen Queen" and now seeks the throne of Heaven. However, she is not the only one vying for power, and the people of Heaven are split amongst the various factions. In order to restore the House of Arkhangel'sk, Anazakia must make bitter decisions as a queen leading her forces into battle.

I really enjoyed watching Anazakia grow over the course of the series. Initially a sheltered princess blind to the growing dissent of the people, Anazakia matures into a kind queen understanding of the wishes and needs of the people. At times, Anazakia does forget the importance of her role in the battle, becoming blind to her duties when her duties as a mother and person conflict with her duties as a leader, but her behavior is understandable. In fact, these vulnerabilities make her all the more real and believable. She's gone through so much, it'd be strange if she didn't crack at some point. Fortunately, Anazakia is surrounded by loyal friends who support and advise her, providing her the strength to keep going, and I enjoyed getting to know them better through the various narrators.

The multiple POVs were done better in this book than the previous book. It was easier to see the chronological order of events in relation to each character, and it didn't feel as if the story was being told to me as much. It did help that there were more battle scenes in this book, which I really enjoyed. A lot of the brutalities of war are clearly detailed for us -- enough that I could see the sacrifices made, but not in such graphic detail that I had to put the book down. For example, I might know that someone is beat or tortured, but I wouldn't be able to paint a picture of the scene (provided that I had the artistic talent).

If there's anything that surprised me me, it's how the romantic relationships played out. Given the complex relationships of the characters, it shouldn't have surprised me what Anazakia ends up doing. However, I didn't see the romance coming between her and this other angel; though they may have had history together, she never really showed present romantic inclinations towards him until late in the story when it suddenly comes to the surface. It may be that she never had time to think about it, and she certainly had to reason to love him. Nevertheless, there is no single form of love, and if a companion novel is released, I'd be interested in seeing how the relationships amongst Anazakia's group play out in the future. Anazakia's reign as queen is looking pretty unconventional.

The Armies of Heaven delivers a solid conclusion to an enjoyable romantic fantasy trilogy. Fans of paranormal romance and more epic fantasy alike can find common ground in the series.


Series
  1. The Fallen Queen
  2. The Midnight Court
  3. The Armies of Heaven
Similar Books
Content
  • Language, Sex, Torture, Sadosim/Masochism, Violence


Interview with Jane Kindred

Tell us a little about yourself and how you got into writing.
I was a voracious reader from an early age, and there were many times I actually ran out of things to read, so I started writing my own stories. I used to write stories in my head to fall asleep at night, and it occurred to me I could write them down, so I did.

I'm glad that you started writing them down since you're published now, and I got to read your books! You mention at your about page that you began writing romantic fantasies since an early age. What draws you to the genre?
In general, I prefer an imagined world to a real-world setting in fiction, because the rules change, and magic becomes possible, and I've always liked books that have a love story along with the adventure. It seems more complete, and makes me care more about the characters.

The freedom to explore the imagination with fantasy is why I love the genre, and some romance never hurt! I saw in your guest post at Paranormal Romantics that you are concerned with how women and sex are being portrayed in literature. What are your worries about this trend?
My post at Paranormal Romantics was about a trend I've noticed in paranormal romance and urban fantasy for a woman's magical strength to be tied to her sexuality. I think it's a very limiting means of empowering a female character, when women have so many other strengths. When it's in the context of the story, such as in Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel's Legacy series, it can be very powerful--and her character Phedre is so much more than just a beautiful courtesan--but when it seems superfluous to the character or the story, I find myself wondering why the author made that choice, particularly when it most often comes from women writers. Maybe it's a means of adding erotica to the story that feels more "authentic" if it's an important plot device, but I'm all for just having erotic scenes if you want them and I don't think they have to be justified by being the key to the woman's magic. She can have as many partners as she wants, just don't tell me she *has* to have them to save the world, you know?

It does seem that romance has been overtaking the plot in stories more frequently nowadays, unfortunately. Though I wouldn't mind some romance on the side, I like to see more of a girl saving the world than her relationship. Anazakia's perspective is told in the format of a memoir and is the only perspective told in first person. Why did you choose to tell her story this way?
I was having trouble at first finding the voice for the story. I'd started the book with what's now Chapter Two, and really liked Belphagor's voice, but felt like I was missing something with Anazakia, so I decided to try an alternate first chapter in first person from her point of view, and immediately felt her coming through. Her style was so different from the third person sections, from her word choices to her cadence to the way she saw the world, that I couldn't imagine not keeping her that way. But then I still really liked Belphagor as I'd first written him and felt the story would be missing something if it were all in Anazakia's point of view. I thought I was taking a crazy chance mixing it like that, but it seemed right for the story, and I never received any negative feedback on it, which surprised me. I kept waiting for someone to say, "You can't do that!" but no one ever did.

I appreciate your having kept the other POVs. They really help flesh out the plot, and I liked getting to know other characters on a more personal level. Anazakia's story parallels that of the last Romanovs, and we learn a bit of folklore and Russian history during her stay in Russia. What influenced you to draw so heavily from the Russian culture and did you do any research for the story?
My initial idea was to tell the story of an angelic family like the Romanovs, and in researching them, I became fascinated by Russian culture. I decided that instead of just a family similar to them, I would recreate them and their destinies. I did quite a bit of research, including traveling to Russia to live with a host family for a month while I tried to learn the language.

It's cool how you went to Russia for your research. If Anazakia were to meet Grand Duchess Anastasia, what would they talk about?
I think they'd end up giggling like little girls and sharing an almost twin-like connection, finishing each other's sentences or communicating without words at all. I see them as kindred spirits.

That's so cute! What are you currently working on?
At the moment, I'm working on a m/m erotica project featuring Belphagor and Vasily from the Arkhangel'sk books.




About the Author


Jane Kindred is the author of The House of Arkhangel’sk trilogy and The Devil’s Garden. Born in Billings, Montana, she spent her formative years ruining her eyes reading romance novels in the Tucson sun and watching Star Trek marathons in the dark. She now writes to the sound of San Francisco foghorns while two cats slowly but surely edge her off the side of the bed.






Giveaway
In celebration of the release of The Armies of Heaven, Jane is hosting a giveaway!

Open internationally.
To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway




This post is a part of The Armies of Heaven blog tour


9 comments on "Review of The Armies of Heaven & Interview with Jane Kindred"
  1. Wow, a month-long trip to Russia! That's rich research, and I'm sure it adds richness to the story.

    Thanks for a great interview!

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  2. Great interview. I'm really looking forward to reading this book. Sounds awesome.

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  3. Thanks, guys, and thanks for having me here today, Kris! :)

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  4. Angels or demons? Why choose? Can't I get both?

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  5. Great interview and giveaway! This book sounds really good. <3

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  6. I do love Angels, although.........

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  7. I love reading about Angels. Thanks for the giveaway.

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  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  9. Congrats to Rhianna, Marilyn, and Kamla, the winners of the giveaway!

    Thanks, everyone, for helping me celebrate my book release! :)

    Jane

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