Angel Arias: Marianne de Pierres

This is a more comprehensive version of the review I wrote in Goodreads.

The sequel to Burn Bright, Angel Arias, firmly cements Marianne de Pierres reputation as one of the finest writers of young adult speculative fiction. Continuing where Naif’s adventures ended in the last novel – with her escape from Ixion, Angel Arias is a fast-paced thriller that poses a burning question: what is the relationship between Ixion (the Ripers) and Grave (the Elders)? It’s now up to Naif and her friends to find the answer.

But leaving Ixion has not been easy for Naïf. Not only has she left behind her friend, Suki and her brother, but the Riper, Lenoir, as well. Their blood bond makes the distance between them more than a physical wrench and means that Naif is still connected to the haunting demesne of Ixion and its travails, which makes focussing on her current situation harder than usual. Knowing Ixion is on the cusp of rebellion and that the answer to all the puzzles surrounding the Night Creatures, Ripers, and the disenchanted young refugees who flock to Ixion, lie in her home of Grave, Naïf is unable to remain in limbo on Raskalia’s island sanctuary – especially not when the young people the pirate saved from certain death turn on their saviour and those they believe are plotting against them. And so the scene is set for a breath-taking adventure that sees Naïf putting her life on the line to learn the terrible secret that links Grave and Ixion, her past and her present, her friends and her foe. Finding allies where she least expects it and betrayal where there should be loyalty, Naïf has her courage and wits tested to the limit. But when she learns the truth about the Ripers and the Elders and begins to comprehend the sacrifices that are being made in the name of politics and social experiments, she’s forced to make a terrible and deadly decision.

Breath-taking, with wonderfully drawn scenes and dialogue, Angel Arias is a terrific sequel examining faith, friendship, exploitation and the abuse of hegemony in subtle and thought-provoking ways. Through the character of Naïf, we come to see that this complex world, with its strange creatures, juxtaposition of hedonism and control and dour and passionate humans, is not black and white, but an intricate mix where rights and responsibilities are both personal and highly political: the choice, regardless of age or race, is yours. This tale leaves you wanting more. Bring on the third book! Stat!

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