Sometimes I read a book, and it’s so incredibly good or so incredibly bad that the review practically writes itself. Not so here. This novella definitely has its good parts, but there just isn’t enough there. It really could have been enjoyable, but in its current form, it reads more like an outline than a fully realized story. The author needed to flesh out the story a bit more and make it at least a tiny bit longer because it reads more like a rough sketch than a fully realized novella.
From the beginning of the story, readers know that Sara is an angel. She’s not a powerful archangel, but rather an archivist in the holy library who has begun to develop some rule-breaking tendencies. Angels can only access sources and add them to the library at that moment when the book would have faced destruction on earth. However, Sara has accessed sources that are still “live” in order to gain information. In this case, she feels determined to save a sick little boy, and the information she believes will save him resides in a rare book in the collection of an evil drug lord in Australia.
When Sara goes to look at the book, she discovers too late that the drug lord’s collection also includes a djinni bound to him and forced to guard the drug lord’s estate. Filip discovers the naive Sara right away, and the physical attraction between the two is also nearly instantaneous. After the two engage in sex play, Filip must bring Sara to the drug lord, as required by the order that binds him. Naturally, the idea of adding an angel to his collection of rarities appeals to Filip’s master, but we soon learn that the man’s daughter has been kidnapped and all ideas about dealing with Sara quickly become subordinate to rescuing the daughter.
What follows is a mixture of hot romance, fast-paced adventure story, and musings upon morality. Much of it is actually quite interesting, but all of it feels rushed. The world-building and the rules governing Sara and Filip’s world feel like abbreviated sketches in many cases, and I never felt totally invested in the story because it all reads like a summary. I spent much of this novella getting the distinct feeling that I was looking at the skeleton of something very interesting. If only the author had put more meat on the bones, it could have been an interesting read. As it is, what should have been key emotional moments lacked punch. For instance, when the plot regarding the boy Sara is trying to save gets resolved, it feels like an afterthought as no one spends much time on it.
Given that Angel Thief is a little too brief, the story itself feels very rushed and characters never fully spring to life. It’s not bad, but it’s not all that good either. The world of this novella is not fully developed, and as a result, the story never does seem fully formed. Short stories and novellas can contain entire worlds complete in and of themselves, but this one just fails to do it and as a result, ends up as a rather ordinary read.