WOW two books of the series in two days – they sure are addictive.
Quick recap – our antihero protagnist is a half angel, Nephilium, also knows as James / Stark / Sandman Slim, who has spent eleven years in Hell (literally) and come back from the dead to avenge on the magic circle that betrayed him and murdered his girlfriend. He ends up with four of the six in the circle dead, one (Mason) in Hell and last Kasabian a head brought from the hell to be the mouth piece of Lucifer (yeap THAT Lucifer)
Second book in the series starts with Stark working as an independent consultant between the forces of good (Vigil) and evil (Lucifer) by running paranormal jobs for whoever pays him. He is killing vampires, stealing from the ones he killed for side hustle and providing consultation on supernatural murders. “The way I look at it, me stealing from the dead is like regular people pocketing Post-its on their way out of office”. Lucifer’s retainer does help him pay the bills. Well the boss is in town (L) and wants Stark to act as the bodyguard during his time on earth.
Body guarding the King of Hell was never going to be easy, especially when Stark stumbles upon the mystery surrounding zombies, which are starting to infiltrate L.A. I didnt know there could be so many types of zombies! There are four – Zombies / Drifters / Zeds and Zots – the regular zombies like the ones in Kdrama Kingdom, Lacunas – some brain function but stink, Savants / Saperes – “Savant is a Lacuna that can call for pizza delivery” and Death Born – zombies whose souls have been removed at birth. Whoa! keep up people
The chase ensues, where Stark is finding the who, why, what of zombies – as hoardes of them have been let out on the streets of L.A. with neither agents of Heaven or Hell too keen on lending a helping hand. “The universe is the meat grinder and we’re just pork in designer shoes, keeping busy so we can pretend we’re not all headed for the sausage factory.” A bite from zombie renders the human part of Stark dead leaving him entirely angel or half angel.
The struggle between the human and non-human Stark (or as per the book Stark and not Stark) is very well depicted and reflects in the decisions. Stark is also trying to move on in life – with Alice, though dead but very much alive in his thoughts and dreams, the guilt is riding high. The brief expose of “who the father is?” and dice landing somewhere between Lucifer and Uriel is interesting. Sad though is Heaven or Hell, Angels or Demons, politics is all pervasive hands down and its all about power plays.
No one dies, not the good guys, i mean and Stark now has an open challenge from Mason, which means the choice is to find Mason before being found. Like Lucifer said “When i’m gone, Hell will need a new Lucifer……….There are only two candidates with the power and knowledge to take over: you (Stark) and Mason, One of you will live and lead. The other will die.” Now the question is will Stark accept the new job offer to be the Crown Prince of Hell or not.