The year is 2446. Tzadkiel, Archangel of Mercy, has somehow found the one merciful person left on Earth. His job is mostly complete with Lourdes at his side. Nothing but his conscious stands between him and releasing the Final Horseman from his waiting place.
First, though, he needs to find a place to keep Lourdes safe. As love begins to blossom in the French countryside, the twisted Savauge clings to their trails, intent on finding them and keeping Lourdes all to himself. Blinded by lust and rage, he’ll go to any length to get his hands on her.
All three of them will be pushed to the very edge, and there may be no coming back.
Before I dive into my actual review, I want to say how THANKFUL I am to Cynthia Morgan, who so gracefully gave me a free copy of the audiobook in exchange for an honest review. I have been DYING to read this sequel since I finished Misericorde, and even though life has been a bit insane and I haven’t had time to write up this review, Clandestine is all I’ve been able to think about. I’ve read other books since then, and I am just…. STUCK on this stinking series. Stuck like Savauge to— You know what, I take that back. Gross. Ick. No. *hits rewind on her life*
I’ll try to tone down my excitement this time, guys. I’m sorry for shouting at you all. Actually, I’m not. Because once again—
ABSOLUTELY FREAKING FANTASTIC. BREATHTAKING.
Did you like how I used different adjectives this time around? Heh. Cynthia’s world building continues to blow my mind every time I pick up one of her books. The fantastical, science-fiction environment that somehow blends both reality as it could be in the future and the supernatural world of angels and demons is perfect. Within this book, we get a bit of an insight into the “science” side of things— the instruction manual of Tzadkiel. You half expect these explanations to be boring, but it was far from it. I didn’t mind listening to Little Tzad explaining things to Lourdes. He’s just so sweet. I could never get tired of listening to him.
Last time, I struggled with getting into the story, but with this installment, there wasn’t a lengthy intro. We jump straight in with both feet. It was a journey that took me some time (ten hours, to be precise) because I listened to the audiobook instead of reading it. About an hour a day, here and there, and then on my way to our vacation home, I binge-listened to like four hours at a time. I fully intended to listen to the entire thing on the way down, but I was so worked up about it that I had to take breaks. LOL
Last style point— TENSION. Good grief, the romantic tension. That’s another reason that I had to stop so frequently. I’ll preface by saying this: I am a very expressive reader. If you watch me read, you’ll know exactly how I feel. So, this book is ROMANTIC. I put it in all caps and bold so you’ll know how important this is to me. Because it’s not the type of romance that’ll make you fan yourself and hide your phone screen. No, no, no. This is like squealing out loud in my car and beating the steering wheel while you blush like a little school girl (I did all of these things). This is the best, innocent style of romance. I was melting in my seat, you guys. I was eating lunch and telling my coworkers about it. It’s been a looooong time since I read anything that was this romantic without being smutty.
Now that I’ve talked your ear off about style, buckle up for some character development!! Because there’s a lot of it! YAY!
Lourdes is back, and she continues to be one of my favorite female characters. I stick to my guns in saying that she is so much more than the sweet, submissive maid that the men think she is. Her bravery really gets tested through this book, and her strength is pushed to a breaking point. I obviously cannot relate to the things she went through in the last scenes of the book, but GOD, did I feel for her. I kept wanting her to get up— murder some people— do something— but I also really understood her predicament. She’s sort of helpless in a very frustrating way, but I get it. So say the least, I am very excited to see her grow even more now that her eyes (and Tzad’s eyes) have been opened to how helpless she really is. Maybe he will teach her how to protect herself.
Then there’s Tzadkiel. My freakin’ king. I call him Little Tzad, but I should really start calling him King Tzad. Not Kiel because we don’t like that side of him. Yuck. My journey through simpdom continues, and I honestly think hearing the narrator bring life to his voice was the final nail in the casket. Literal goosebumps. It was everything I imaged it to be. There’s growth though, in how Tzad has to tamper down his own demons. The more hatred that grows in him for Savauge, the more he struggles to maintain the “angelic” side of himself. Seeing that play out made him less perfect and more… human? Relatable? All of the above. I simply love him. Periodt.
Other characters include Levesque, who is 100% redeemed in my eyes, Chevalier, who I believe is the real guardian angel here, and a slew of other people. I won’t dwell too much on them, simply because their role is much smaller than the others and I’ve dragged this on long enough.
Last but not least is Savauge. To be honest, I wouldn’t even give this man the time of day. If I saw him walking down the street, I wouldn’t cross to the other side. I’d wave down a car and politely ask them to RUN HIM OVER. And when the judge asks me why I assisted in his murder, I’d tell them because the world is a better place without his stinkin’, nasty face. Then, I’d cuff myself. Disgusting human being. I’ve NEVER wanted to punch a character so much in all my life. (Good job, Cynthia, for creating a character that I hate this strongly. Lol. Very well done. But UGH)
*takes several heaving breaths* I’m wearing myself out. I’m too excited. LOL
I don’t have too much to add, surprisingly, to what I said last time. The multiple POVs are still seamlessly well done. There’s a perfect blend of past and present, allowing us ample insight into Lourdes’ past and the other characters’ thoughts and feelings along the way.
It probably wasn’t my advice that Cynthia followed, but I did see some things I commented on had changed. Shorter chapters but more of them (16 this time, as opposed to 9) and a trigger warning added to the Amazon description. I genuinely have NO COMPLAINTS.
Once again, I’m gonna have to give his book a heaping 12/10. It’s honestly better than the first, and I cannot wait to read books 3 and 4 when they are released. I’d read Cynthia’s grocery list, at this point, if she’d let me.
You can follow Cynthia Morgan at the following links:
Stay tuned for my next review: a dystopian romance that honestly might give Cynthia a rival when it comes to ranking my top reads of the year so far.😉