In the novel Angels and Avalon, Catherine Milos uses vivid language to deliver a story that seems to have been written with a feminine reader in mind. The main character is introduced as a young princess with magical qualities who has been imprisoned her whole life, but has somehow managed to escape. The storyline is structured in short chapters that jump between different perspectives. For instance, chapter two is centered around The Goddess. Despite the fact that she is forbidden to create without the other gods, she creates a land called Avalon, which she conceals. To complete the land, Goddess transports the princess to live there, and names her Adamina.
Milos draws upon paganism, monotheistic religions, and mythology, with Avalon representing a sort of garden of Eden, a new and fertile world. Adamina becomes the first priestess of The Goddess, and quickly learns to hunt and gather, grow a garden, shear sheep, and weave. With a goddess to guide Adamina, an owl to advocate for her, and an angel to provide food, clothing, shelter, and an undying fire, the story is a little too perfect. When Adamina eventually gets lonely, The Goddess guides a ship with men and one woman, named Pagan, to Avalon to keep Adamina company. Pagan agrees to stay if she can have a house built, and send away now and again for supplies. The house becomes filled with priestesses and children. Over time, a port village is created. The author keeps the action moving along with plenty of perspective shifts and by skipping forward in time.
As the angels learn about the existence of Avalon, they begin to appear there. By this time, Adamina has grown into a woman, and has met retired angel Gabriel, who is the one who has been watching over her. Then angel Uriel shows up and blackmails her, asking her hand in marriage in exchange for not telling God that Avalon exists. It is well known that Avalon would be destroyed if God knew about it. At this time, Gabriel’s feelings for Adamina become clear, but they are unable to stop the wedding. Uriel’s motive for marrying her is to produce a male child, which he thinks will be the first new archangel. Uriel teams up to this end with Lucifer, who is after Adamina’s power.
The characters become more magical, fantastical, and sordid as the story moves forward. The story spans several lifetimes and hundreds of years, following the undying love between Adamina and Gabriel, as they are trapped in a cycle of love, devotion, obsession, and greed. The writing is fast paced and evocative, but as can be the case with self publishing, the work could have benefited by some capable proofreading to reduce the number of typos, word choice issues, and grammatical errors. These quibbles aside, Angels and Avalon makes for a gripping and exciting read. The characters in this first book are strong and endearing enough to sustain a trilogy.
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