Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Angel of Chaos (Imp #6) by Debra Dunbar

First, Sam was the little imp who could and then she became the Iblis after the magical sword chose her and now, in yet another stunning transformation, she has become the first angel of chaos since the separation between demons and angels. The angels might be fascinated with her new wings but that doesn't mean that they are going to give Sam a pass at anything.  When an angel arrives at Sam's door promising three favours if she agrees to give shelter to a woman, naturally, being an imp, Sam doesn't pause to consider the old adage, if something seems to good to be true, it probably is. Sam finds herself protecting a pregnant woman who is carrying a nephilim.  Sam may be the Iblis but the angles don't take kindly at all to nephilim.  Sam quickly finds herself battling the angles to protect the woman and child she swore to protect and once again shaking up things in Aaru.

Angel of Chaos feels very much like the Imp series returning to its roots.  Sam may be an Angel of Chaos but she still manages to find herself up shits creek without a paddle pretty quickly.  Sam may now feel morally responsible for the people she has decided are hers but that doesn't stop her hilarious internal monologue.  When Sam is attacked by three angels, Gregory naturally assumes that she has been leaving fake vomit in the sixth circle or infesting the first circle with bird lice once again.  Gregory knows all to well that Sam cannot resist her impish impulses for too long.  Sam may be a cockroach but she's his cockroach and though it means risking his vibration level and opening himself up to new experiences like vodka, chicken wings, chocolate and physical sex, Gregory has decided to strap himself in for the wild ride.

Sam and Gregory started off with a very uneasy alliance and it has grown so much.  Unfortunately, it means that Wyatt, Sam's human toy has pretty much been put out to pasture. This essentially comes down to Gregory accepting at least some of Sam's impish ways whereas; Wyatt is determined to change her.  Gregory may be the archangel Michael but Sam is now clearly his partner and his equal, even if he does enjoy punishing her in Aaru. I love every single scene they share together and am excited that in the next book, Gregory will be spending far less time in Aaru.

Okay, I know I've done a lot of gushing but I love this series.  I love the fact that Angels have hangovers and the growing relationships.  These characters feel so very real to me.  I really don't want to be critical but even our favourite books have their problems.

In Angel of Chaos we meet Jaq a Nephilim and Kelly who are a couple.  Kelly is fiercely protective over Jaq and it's nice to see but we never seem them in a moment of real intimacy.  It will be interesting to see if Dunbar expands their role in the series.

Sam and Leithu are definitely bisexual, there is no doubt about that with both of them repeatedly expressing their interest in other women. This book is very good at making that clear

But after so many books now it’s a little odd that these women never actually have sex with women. Especially since this book is so sexually charged; they have sex a lot. They enjoy sex and neither has any desire to be monogamous. We see them have relationships and we see them have a lot of casual sex (including a stream of pizza delivery guys) but always always with men. Wouldn’t these bisexual women, often expressing their lust for other women, very actively pursuing their sex lives at least occasionally have sex with a woman? At least once?

Sometimes it seems almost inevitable – but when we get close another story reason arises (or, rather, is manufactured) why they can’t actually go through with it. And it feels manufactured because these reasons aren’t maintained – like Leithu is too delicate for Sam to have sex with – but not for Sam’s brother? Leithu may enthral Sam if they have sex… but that’s not a concern for Sam’s brother? Even when Leithu is about to have sex with a woman, she shapeshifts into a man to do it, despite preparing a female form.

Again, in no way can I say these women are not bisexual, that is made very clear wonderfully on multiple occasions, but why this reticence to have them have sex with women in a series that is so sexual?

Harper was dropped off at Sam's door and Sam was tricked into offering her protection. It seems that Harper is about to give birth to a nephlim and angels we have been told see them as abominations. Harper is a Native American or mixed Spanish woman.  She is fierce and is not afraid to defend herself against the magnificent odds that is set against.  Unfortunately this is where the good race inclusion ends.  Sam refers to the father of Harper's baby as racist for his treatment of nephlim who fo the record are part angel spawn and have no relationship whatsoever to people of colour.  Then we have Jaq invoking Harper's Ferry and John Brown in relationship to the big showdown.  Why couldn't we just have some good racial inclusion?  Harper may be proactive but Angel of Chaos is far too white.

I really love this series, don't let the critiques fool you.  Dunbar keeps me giggling with Sam's antics and cheer with Sam's absolute refusal never to give up no matter what she's up against.  Sam however remains and Imp and that means that even when she is trying to be good, bad things happen like her putting hallucinogenic drugs into the soup at a soup kitchen. I never know what she is going to get into next.  I love the way her relationship with Gregory is moving and I love that Dunbar is widening the world by explaining how vampires, werewolves, angels and demons are related to each other. Simply put, I cannot get enough and cannot wait until the next book in this series comes out.