First off, I need to say a massive thank you to Patchwork Press for accepting my request to review this title on NetGalley, and to NetGalley for the service they provide.
*This review will contain spoilers!*
After struggling to get into the first novel in this series, I flew through the novella and couldn't wait to get through the second book, because I thought I was going to absolutely devour it. However, I was suffering from a terrible migraine earlier on in this week, so it's taken me a bit longer to read it than I was hoping.
However, I still really enjoyed it when I eventually got through it. It wasn't as good as the novella, but that's probably all due to my personal preference of preferring back story over current developments. In this second installation, Pen and Michael are still on the run, with both the angels and demons tracking them down to get revenge for their desertion and to receive a bounty for killing them. Instead of the singular narrative that we experience in this first novel, in this second novel we get a dual narrative featuring Azael's viewpoint, which is one of the things I wanted more of in the first book. Azael is the newly instated King of Hell, Lucifer's second-in-command, and following the prologue of the first book (in which Lucifer demanded the deaths of Michael and Pen) he's on a mission to capture the couple, even though he still hopes that he can convince Pen to go back to his side.
I think I preferred Azael's viewpoint, purely because of the fact that we had so much of Pen in the first one. Yes, I was happy to see Pen and Michael settling down into their relationship, but seeing Azael struggling with his desire to obey Lucifer and his inability to send the command for the death of his sister was really interesting. His angst and anger was written extremely well and his chapters flew past, in contrast to Pen, who was much more calm and collected throughout.
The beginning of the novel was very interesting, seeing Pen and Michael on the run and their constant paranoia at the knowledge that they're being hunted. This book was a lot more violent than the first novel, and that was cemented at the start when we saw them both coldly disposing of demons who were hunting them down.
Because this is the middle book in the trilogy it was quite slow, because it was setting up for what is sure to be an explosive and captivating third novel. Pen and Michael met a one-winged angel named Kala, who told them about an uprising called New Genesis who had been inspired by their actions and had decided that it was time for angels and demons to live in peace. Meanwhile, Azael had a group of demons banded together to accompany him to Earth and help him hunt down Pen. The individual groups going on journeys was interesting, but at times the travelling and the settling down just seemed too much like a literary technique rather than something solid. Azael decides to direct his group to London after having a feeling that Pen and Michael had escaped there, but because of how impulsive and reckless Azael is I think it would have been much more realistic if he had destroyed every town near their last sighting in an attempt to flush them out. With the ending of the novel falling when Pen's supporters had just landed in London, ready to attack Azael's troop, the start of the third novel should be explosive and enthralling, and I really can't wait for it.
I do recommend this series, because it's definitely getting better as it goes along, but if you're a fan of the first book you need to be warned that the second novel is a lot more graphic. As well as featuring Kala, who swears in almost every sentence she delivers, the torture that is inflicted upon Michael early on in the novel, as well as the torture that Azael inflicts towards the end, is highly descriptive - if you're a squeamish person, I would definitely suggest staying away from this one.