Friday, August 5, 2011

BookReview: Destiny - Rogue Angel #1 by Alex Archer

I've been interested in this series since I saw it debut in 2005, but as I am mostly buried under paperbacks already, and I was worried about what exactly the series was going for and how well it would last, I let it pass by me.

Fast forward a good six years.  There are now over 30 Rogue Angel titles out, and they're all available as Kindle books for less that five bucks apiece.  So hey, why not give it a shot?

Overall, I found the book rather entertaining.  One part Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (Annja Creed, the heroine, even makes an oblique jab at the video game character in this book) and one part Witchblade, with some vibes from Alias thrown in (at least, in my mind), Rogue Angel - Destiny was a pretty solid action novel.

Annja Creed is an investigative archaeologist who works for a cable television "history" series that's about as serious as anything you'd find on the History Channel at 3 o'clock in the morning.  But it gives her the freedom to roam the world and stick her nose into various little-visited areas of the globe.  On one such trip in France she gets mixed up in the hunt for an ancient amulet, the Beast of Gevaudan, and the search for Joan of Arc's sword.

A mysterious old man named Roux who is definitely more than he appears, adds a great deal of mystery to the mix.  As well as the son of a deceased burglar, a maniacal criminal mastermind, and a cabal of unsavory monks hiding a centuries old secret.  Combine all this with a five-hundred year old broadsword that lives in a pocket dimension of its own, and you've got quite the modern fantasy / mystery novel.

Mel Odom (the ghost writer for this book) did yeoman's work in setting the stage for future installments.  I'm already reading the next book, Solomon's Jar, and it doesn't disappoint either.

Most importantly, neither does our heroine.  Annja Creed is smart, she's tough, she's skilled, and while she is lithe and beautiful, these assets are used sparingly, if at all.  In my mind, she's a good combination of Sydney Bristow and Sara Pezini, both tough and capable heroines who use brains, brawn, and beauty in deadly combination.

If you're a history buff, you might squirm a little now and then while things are bent for the purposes of entertainment.  I was a little annoyed reading this story when they kept referring to "knights in armor" in the time period of The Beast, which was the mid 1700s (around the time of the French and Indian War).  While there were certainly knighted individuals going to war and having adventures during that time, any mention of armor just seems silly - if such is used, perhaps a cavalryman's cuirass or a "lobster tail" helm, or a pair of armored gauntlets, it should be specifically labeled as such to keep it from seeming silly, otherwise the idea of an armored knight riding about a decade before the American Revolution puts a fork in the historical crediblity of the story.

But ultimately, this is an action novel, and I'm willing to forgive a bit of mis-handled research.  The book was a fun, fasts read, and I hope to enjoy many more.


TF Rofkahr said...

Ah - I didn't realize Mel Odom was the GW for this series. He's always been a favorite - I'll have to grab one of these up while I travel.

BISH said...

One of my favorites among Mel's prodigious output . . .

Jim said...

A couple comments on the Rogue Angel series.

1) If you have the opportunity to get them as audiobooks through your library or something, don't hesitate for a second to snap them up! Graphic Audio does a tremendous job with them, as they do with all their other projects. The RA books in particular are really well done. I've listened to the first 8 or so in the series and enjoyed them all.

2) I'm not sure if it is a deliberate running gag at this point or not but damn near every time this poor girl gets into a bathtub for a well deserved soak, she's interrupted by either a phone call or someone breaking into the joint.

3) This Gold Eagle series in particular has some really great writers. Mel Odom, Jon Merz, Joseph Nassise, and Victor Milan. All are veterans of the action/adventure genre and know their stuff.