Series: Shadowstorm #2
Published by Del Rey on February 25, 2014
Genres: Science Fiction
Sexual Content: Kissing, references to sex
Reviewed by: Kate
In G. T. Almasi’s thrilling alternate reality, the United States, the USSR, and the Republic of China share a fragile balance of power with Greater Germany, which emerged from World War II in control of Europe and half of the Middle East. To avoid nuclear Armageddon, the four superpowers pursue their ambitions with elite spies known as Levels, who are modified with mechanical and chemical enhancements.
Nineteen-year-old Alix Nico, code-named Scarlet, is a kick-ass superheroine with killer Mods and an attitude to match. She’s considered one of America’s top Levels, even though her last mission nearly precipitated World War III. So now Scarlet and her new partner, Darwin, have been sent to Greater Germany to help sow the seeds of anarchy and prevent Germany’s defection to Russia and China.
But where Scarlet goes, chaos follows—and when her mission takes an unexpected turn, she and Darwin must go ever deeper into enemy territory. As Scarlet grapples with a troubling attraction to her new partner, explosive information comes to light about the German cloning program and one of its prisoners—a legendary American Level who just happens to be Scarlet’s father.
While straying toward the science fiction spectrum of speculative fiction, HAMMER OF ANGELS nonetheless is likely to appeal to urban fantasy fans looking to shake up their reading habits. After all, the Shadowstorm series features a ass-kicking heroine with superhuman powers plus a cast of witty supporting characters set in a fictional world mirrored after our own - pretty much like every UF novel, it just so happens this one doesn’t have any magic and takes place in an alternate history where Germany won World War II.
One of the things that struck me most about the first book in the Shadowstorm series, BLADES OF WINTER, was how young our heroine, Alix, seemed. Understandable, after all, since she is a nineteen year old scientifically enhanced superspy who is prone to getting in way over her head. However, she comes across as supremely immature, a little too trigger happy, and sometimes just plain stupid, for as smart as she is purported to be. Luckily, in HAMMER OF ANGELS, Alix seems to have grown up a bit, and despite still being a bit trigger happy, shows signs of wanting to live to be old enough to drink legally.
Action-packed and frequently leaving me without a minute to grab a breath, HAMMER OF ANGELS has all the elements of a perfect spy novel: a team going undercover, lots of secretive missions, and quite a few fights that the bad guys don’t come out of. Whereas BLADES OF WINTER felt more like a mystery, HAMMER OF ANGELS is the movie with all the explosions that they release in the middle of summer a la Jason Bourne. This is not at all a bad thing- but it has a bit of a different, more fast paced vibe as a result.
While maybe not something I would have normally picked up, HAMMER OF ANGELS is kind of like book Pringles (really hard to stop reading), plus it gave my brain a break from werewolves, vampires and magic, which is always appreciated. As Almasi has mastered the art of the cliffhanger (don’t think I’m not counting- this one makes two in a row, dude), I’m eagerly awaiting the next installment in the Shadowstorm series. I have a feeling it’ll be as fun as the first two.Series Titles:
- Blades of Winter
- Hammer of Angels