Monday, 2 July 2012

Halo of the Damned by Dina Rae

Halo of the Damned...
Blurb (from Goodreads):
A chain of advertising agencies, a new breed of humans, and a fallen angel to worship…

Andel Talistokov is known for his slick advertising agencies across the globe. He is a fallen angel that uses advertising as a weapon for Satan's work. His growing power emboldens him to break several of Hell’s Commandments. Furious with his arrogance, Satan commands him to return to Hell after finding his own replacement. Yezidism, an ancient angel worshiping religion, quietly expands throughout the West. Armaros appears as a guest of honor during their ceremonies. He mates with young women to produce nephilim, a mixed race of humans and angels. They are alone and unprepared for their supernatural power. Joanna Easterhouse, a recovering drug addict, steps out of prison shortly after her mother's fatal accident. She and her sister, Kim, unravel their mother's secretive past. Intrigued, they learn their bloodline is part of a celestial legacy. Both worlds collide. Halo of the Damned is a horrifying tale that weaves research together with suspenseful twists and turns. 

Halo of the Damned... by Dina Rae

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Halo of the Damned...Not for the faint hearted!
(I received a digital copy of this book for free as part of the ‘Halo of the Damned’ Blog tour.)
32-year-old Joanna has just been released from prison, after an 18 month sentence for possession of cocaine. She goes to live with her sister and niece, who are living in her mother’s home since her death. Lydia (their mother)’s will leads them to some unusual discoveries though, as it turns out she had a lot of money, several homes, and some strange artefacts in the shape of a painting, a scroll, and strange curved bit of metal.

Unfortunately, Jo’s sister Kim shows these artefacts to the wrong people, and Kim narrowly avoids death in a car accident – the same way her mother died. Realising that something is seriously wrong, Jo and Kim try to protect Maria (Kim’s daughter) from what is happening. Maria however seems to know more than anyone, when it turns out that her grandmother had been teaching her things about angels and their writings, and showing her how to use a Ouija board.

Meanwhile, Jo has found herself a fantastic new job at an advertising firm, which is a huge surprise to her now that she has a criminal record and is on parole. What she doesn’t know is that the head of the company (Andel) is a fallen angel, who likes to eat people, rape people, and generally cause pain and suffering. He’s built an entire empire of advertising companies, partly using his evil means, and likes to have people worship him, even if this means annoying Satan.

What events really led to Lydia’s death? What is the significance of the scroll, painting, and piece of metal? Just how far will Andel go to get what he wants?

I’m not really sure where to start with this book. The story was interesting, but I think I’m just a little bit too sensitive for the subject matter, as I was uncomfortable at several points whilst reading this book due to some of the more violent events. This book is really not for the faint-hearted, and contains scenes of violence, devil worship, blood drinking, cannibalism, and rape (of both males and females), and I really wished I hadn’t started reading it while eating my breakfast!

Joanna is an interesting character, although she is unsure what to make of her niece’s strange habits of talking to a doll (who talks back to her and tells her strange things), and using a Ouija board to talk to her dead grandmother. With the weird occurrences that are happening though, I think I might have been more inclined to take her advice, especially after her sister claims that her car accident was caused by seagulls attacking her car.

Jo’s mother’s family were seriously weird. They had this strange religion that they described as ‘angel worship’, when they really meant fallen angels – Satan etc. They were into some seriously sick activities, including incest, rape, and murder, but on the outside looked like totally normal people, which just made it all the more disturbing.

I really wasn’t endeared to Jo’s boss – the fallen angel/demon Andel either. In the first few sentences of the book he is portrayed eating his own daughter’s dead body, which really put me off my breakfast! He’s generally a bit of a nasty character all round to be honest, although I suppose this is to be expected of a demon, and his activities are generally rather unpleasant.

There were also a few side characters involved – Sean – Lydia’s lawyer and lover, Abe – the private investigator looking into Lydia’s family for Sean, and Marcus – Andel’s second in command and another nasty character (he’s into torturing animals).

I’m afraid the final straw for me was when a police detective got his eyeballs pecked out by seagulls. Really gruesome, I felt physically sick, and really just could not bear to read any more. I was going to give it 6 out of 10 stars up until this point, but I really had to knock it down after this. Sorry but I’m going to have nightmares of that scene for a long while to come.

Overall; this was a well written book, with a well thought out storyline, the subject matter was just a bit too violent and taboo for me.
4 out of 10.


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