Title: Lacrimosa (Requiem #1)
Author: Christine Fonseca
Publisher: Compass Press
Released: 21st March 2012
Rating: 3 of 5 stars
Lacrimosa is one of those books you have to bear with before the story becomes truly engaging and you feel sufficiently invested. I spent a lot of this frustrated with what I was reading and inwardly groaning at how far I was from the end; it seemed to drag on and I think at one point I was tempted to just stop reading. But some parts of it were good, and if the level at which the ending was written was consistent, this could have been great.
Nesy is a Sentinel, a level of angel whose job it is to vanquish the UnHoly. Professional, detached, determined, Sentinels don't feel emotion, and Nesy is the best there is. But all that changes when she's forced to take the form of a 17 year old girl in order to confront Aydan, her latest assignment. Things get complicated when the two of them realise they know each other from their human lives. With the additional problem of Azzaziel, the Dark One, leader of the UnHoly, Nesy needs to decide: either do her duty and cast Aydan into hell, or ignore her duty and suffer the consequences.
I mentioned before that I found this frustrating. Exceptionally so. So much of it focuses on the romance. Those of you who know me know how much I love my romance - so what's the problem? Well, the insta-love for one. I didn't see what either of them saw in the other. And I found it incredibly repetitive. There was this constant back and forth with Nesy - one minute she'd resolve to kill Aydan and beg the Council for another chance, the next minute she'd see Aydan and her resolve would crumble. Aydan would flit between succumbing to his hunger for souls and wanting it to end and be strong for Nesy. What I ended up reading for the most part was this confusion of emotions, and eventually it grew to be tiresome.
Nesy is meant to be a 500 year old warrior, yet I saw little evidence of wisdom or experience that she surely should have picked up. I would have liked to see greater contrast between how she usually acts as a Sentinel and how she's affected by this assignment. She did eventually toughen up, however, and start to use her intelligence; she did finally do her best to fulfil her duty, even if it was a the pushing of the one person who, in normal circumstances, would have pleaded for the opposite. Her failure to kill Aydan went from being the result of her emotions to Azza's interference, a much better excuse. I did feel sorry for Nesy, for what she went through when she was human and the betrayal she felt after discovering a certain truth. This girl does have a lot of pain in her and it's hard not to feel that at some point.
The book is split between her and Aydan's point of view, so I would have expected more insight to him. Mostly he focused on Nesy, but there were clear signs of his struggle to cope with the Beast. I never did figure out if that was literal, some force within him, or just a metaphor for his hunger. I would have liked to see more contrast in his character too, but I did grow to appreciate his willingness to sacrifice himself and feel the pain he suffered. Azza as an evil being wasn't as impressive as he could be - using this nickname even after his identity was revealed didn't exactly help - and the secondary characters fell flat too. Zane, Nesy's apparent best friend, I found quite annoying and didn't seem to possess any best friend qualities; Cass was overly sympathetic and seemed quite happy to invade Nesy's heart for someone who was supposed to be her friend.
Yet for all that, there were parts that were worth reading. I enjoy reading angel/demon stories generally. I liked seeing this different side to angels - they appear kind, beings that help humanity, yet they have a habit of invading thoughts and opening up your soul. Even one of the Council harbours a secret. The ending was well done, bringing some much-needed action. If you like reading about angels, I would still give this one a go, but do be prepared for the relationship between Nesy and Aydan.