I don’t usually read erotica or erotic romance, but I knew before going in that a book byTiffany Reisz would have great characters and witty dialogue. So because of a reading slump, I picked up The Angel, the second book in her Original Sinners series. It was as good (and evil, in some ways) as I expected.
The angel of the story is Michael, and he was my favorite character. Not that Nora and Kingsley and Soren are not well-rounded and interesting – because they absolutely are – but Michael was more compelling. A gay teenager whose homophobic father brutally rejected him, Michael tried to commit suicide and was only saved because he was discovered in time. He is a talented artist, but he doesn’t have the breezy self-confidence of the others, and he’s middle class in terms of money, which was another thing I liked, because otherwise it was a bit too much Lifestyles of the Rich and Infamously Kinky.
I liked him enough that I didn’t expect much of a plot other than a scaffolding to provide a structure for sex and hopefully a relationship for Michael. But Reisz doesn’t skimp on anything. The story begins with Soren being recommended for a promotion, which means he’ll come under some close scrutiny by his superiors. At the same time, a journalist receives an anonymous fax suggesting she investigate Soren.
The journalist, Suzanne, has no liking at all for the Catholic Church because her brother killed himself after being sexually abused by a priest, and she is determined to ferret out any secrets or wrongdoing on Soren’s part. So right away the stakes are high. Rather than risk Nora and Michael coming into Suzanne’s radar, Soren sends them to stay with Griffin Fiske. Griffin is a recovering drug addict and trust fund baby who has instant chemistry with Michael, especially since Griffin is a Dom while Michael turns out to be a submissive.
Though realizing this is the easy part of their relationship. The hard part (heh) is Michael working up the courage to admit his feelings, both to Griffin and to his parents, and Griffin confronting Soren, who’s protective of Michael and doesn’t have the highest opinion of Griffin. Frankly, Michael has it a lot easier.
There’s a lot to love in this story, from the character depth to the humor (if you consider sodomy an abomination, you must be doing it wrong). And most of all, it kept me hooked, because I wanted Michael to be happy, and I wanted Suzanne to be all right, especially because a few things she did for her investigation were on the playing-with-napalm level of danger. But this book stuck the landing, twists and all.
That said, there were a couple of aspects of it that didn’t work for me. The first is the sex. I don’t know if there are any other readers who skim or even skip Reisz’s sex scenes, but here one such scene goes beyond pain and into blood play. This made me wince and wonder about infection. So, fair warning to readers.
And while I enjoyed Suzanne as a character, on one occasion, she behaved in a way that made me wonder if she’d been drinking. Speaking of characters, this book is also not a good starting point for newcomers to the Original Sinners books, because it involves the entire cast. But it does lead nicely into the next in the series, and I’ll probably pick that up some time when I’m in the mood. On the whole, The Angel is a fun, gripping read that made me laugh and made me tear up. Erotic romance doesn’t get much more emotionally powerful than that.