Cover Image: Tread of Angels

Tread of Angels

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

In Tread of Angels Roanhorse does well at world-building without forcing a large amount simple explanation on the reader. I enjoyed the characters and the world she devised. That said I also felt as though there was a lack of deeper exploration of the characters beyond the protagonist. It felt as though there was more going on with the characters, but we didn't have time to get to them. Clearly, part of this is likely due to the novella format being shorter. If you enjoy world-building, mystery, a westernish setting and don't mind feeling as though you're missing a bit of background on some characters, this is the book for you. If you're primary draw to books are exploring and getting to know various characters, I'd recommend something else. Altogether, though I enjoyed the book and find myself hoping Roanhorse will write more within this specific world she built.
Was this review helpful?
Book review: Writer's talent shines in this fantasy novella
ASHLEY RIGGLESON For The Free Lance–Star Jan 21, 2023

When it comes to fantasy novels. I am hard to please. But Rebecca Roanhorse’s new novella, “Tread of Angels” more than delivered. I found it to be a perfect entry point into Roanhorse’s work, and I am excited to read more.

Set in a world where demons walk among us and people known as “Virtues,” dispense harsh justice, “Tread of Angels” follows a woman named Celeste who is sitting in a bar one night when a friend tells her that her sister, Mariel, is in trouble. Celeste soon discovers that Mariel, a Fallen (low caste) woman, has been accused of murder. Since the victim is a Virtue, retribution is swift and harsh, and Mariel is taken away to face trial. Celeste is convinced that her sister, who she has always known to be a gentle soul, is not guilty. And Celeste will do anything to prove her sister’s innocence. Celeste is soon appointed her sister’s advocate, and while she is assured that she need not gather evidence as the truth will out, Celeste begins to investigate the murder. As she uncovers the truth about what happened that night, she begins to realize that appearances can be deceiving, and not everything is as it seems.

“Tread of Angels” pulled me in quickly and did not let go. Roanhorse, as would be necessary with a text of this length, throws readers right into the story. And while the world building here is top notch, “Tread of Angels” is an initially confusing read, and it took me some time to get my bearings.

Once I was settled in, though, I read this novella over two fun-filled nights. Though there is a magic system in here, it is not too complicated, and the mystery at the text’s heart is guaranteed to win Roanhorse many new readers. Her morally ambiguous characters add an additional level of intrigue.

While Roanhorse clearly excels at creating a textured and multilayered world and fantastic plot, “Tread of Angels” also explores issues like caste systems and sibling relationships.

And though it initially seemed to me that Roanhorse was trying to do too much in such a small space, I left the novella aware of Roanhorse’s great skill. “Tread of Angels” was such a fun ride that it reminded me why I love reading in the first place. And I cannot wait to see what she does next.
Was this review helpful?
In an alternate 19th century American West, the town of Goetia is a prospecting center for a strange new element that’s leading to big technological advancements. But Goetian society is strictly divided by class, and two sisters raised in very different circumstances must overcome their differences when one is accused of murder.

I partially picked up this book because it's only 200 pages and I love a short fantasy read. But after reading it, I actually wish it was longer. It's trying to do so much in so few words — historical Western setting, fantasy, murder mystery — and I think all of those things fall a little short for not having time and space to develop. I hope Roanhorse returns to this world in a future book!
Was this review helpful?
The story has mystery, tension and backstabbing. I really enjoy the way Rebecca Roanhorse writes! This is another amazing world that I want to explore, more of The Fallen and more Virtues please. 

4⭐
Was this review helpful?
This is a twisty mystery set in a mining town of (greatly simplifying) devils and angels. Celeste is given the task of representing her sister, who was arrested for killing an angel. I don't know what I liked best - the characters or the world. My expectations about what would happen next were always wrong, which was so fun. I'd love to see more of this world, and if the author decides to do more in this universe, there's lots to work with. But it stands perfectly well on its own as a gem of a fantasy mystery.

Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC!
Was this review helpful?
First, thank you to the publishers for the invitation and NetGalley for an advanced e-copy to review!

Second, I knew I would enjoy this. Rebecca Roanhorse does several things really well, including world-building and character dynamics, and "Tread of Angels" was no exception. But! What stood out to me was the atmosphere. The atmosphere of this one was awesome, and it immediately had me hooked. I don't know if it was a right place, right time read for me, but I thoroughly enjoyed it from page one. I felt transported for the first time in a hot minute, and I was able to be fully immersed in the story. Of course I would have loved more; it did feel a little like it wasn't entirely explored. That being said, if you're a fan of the genres and of the author, this one might be worth picking up!

5/5
Was this review helpful?
When Celeste's sister, Mariel, is accused of murder she is determined to see her set free. Set in Goetia, a world that has the feel of an old west mining town, but is populated by angels, demons and half breeds (Elect and Fallens, depending on their bloodlines) Celeste has to navigate the Archangel's court system, powerful Elects and her own friends in order to find the truth and determine how to use it to free her sister.
This novella was just another example of Roanhorse's beautiful character and world building. It was a quick and complete story, in a world I would definitely like to revisit.
Was this review helpful?
This was an interesting change from Rebecca Roanhorse's other novels! I enjoyed the fantasy western murder mystery combined with angel and demon mythology. The plot was well paced, and I enjoyed following Celeste on her journey. I wish this had been a bit longer, but overall I enjoyed my time reading it!
Was this review helpful?
What It's About: Oh boy. So, Celeste's sister is accused of murder and Celeste is like, "She absolutely did not do that, my angelic sister." Only the person Celeste's sister is accused of murdering is like, a high up person on the other side of the... conflict? There's a ton of world-building smashed in here that went way over my head, but there's also a romance that... well. It does something. 

What I Loved: The character dynamics are really interesting. I loved seeing how Celeste was so committed to her sister and how that commitment impacted every other relationship in her life. In a contemporary romance, the lesson here would have been people-pleasing is bad and boundaries are good, but in this book, I'm not sure it's a lesson, so much as it's just telling a compelling story. 

What I Didn't Love: Honestly, I do not understand the world-building and I'm 99% sure that's on me. But like, the amount that I grasped of the world-building is that there was a fight between God and Lucifer (this is largely actually me pulling in my Christian upbringing, tbh) and now there are one side of people who are descended from the good angels and then there are half-breeds and finally, the people descended from the bad angels. Is that accurate? I haven't the slightest. Hence my difficulty really following the story. 

Overall: I really think if I was a better fantasy reader, I might have had a better time with this book. But I'm generally here for the characters and the vibes, but this book needed me to actually follow the world too and my brain just couldn't do it. This got a very much it's me not the book three stars that I rounded to four on Goodreads because it didn't feel fair.
Was this review helpful?
This book was fantastic! I really enjoyed it and it kept me guessing throughout, which is difficult for most books to do. I felt like I connected with the characters and really enjoyed the plot!
Was this review helpful?
I received a copy of this book for review from NetGalley. I honestly don't know how I feel about this novella, because holy slippery slope Batman. I have Feelings about the end, but it definitely left me needing more of this story.
Was this review helpful?
Celeste is a flawed heroine whose goal in life is to protect her sister. And then the sister is accused of murder. Set in a steampunkish Wild West mining town, where they mine Divinity from the remains of the fallen angel, Abaddon. Features humans, religion, hypocritical religious folk, discrimination, bureaucracy, gambling, demons, and many bad decisions.

Intriguing novella. Would be interested in reading more stories set in this world, especially what happens next with Celeste. That said, I'm pretty sure this is a one-shot
Was this review helpful?
I'm a huge fan of Roanhorse's Black Sun/Fevered Star books, but I just couldn't quite connect with this book. It's definitely a unique concept, but I think the execution was a bit below what I was hoping for.
Was this review helpful?
Tread of Angels was a quick, fun ride about good and evil, and morality. I loved the world-building as well. I wish it was longer!
Was this review helpful?
An eccentric blend of genres come together to tell a satisfying and emotionally grounded story about love, family, and identity. The novel's setting is rich and intriguing, as well; it's a world I hope the author allows us to revisit.
Was this review helpful?
This was a nice short story from Roanhorse. Did I wish it was longer and had more time to develop? Yes, but it was still interesting and I would read more by her.
Was this review helpful?
Rebecca Roanhorse is typically an auto-buy for me - I've loved her Black Sun series, and I still have my fingers crossed she'll finish Sixth World someday. Her strengths are in world building and character development, and it felt like in a format this short it was hard to give time to both. I think she got the world building down, but I never really connected to the characters, interesting as they were. I usually love the novella format, so I know it can be done in a way that is sharp and fully-formed; if she ever wanted to return to this world or even this format, maybe it could be as a novella series, a la Martha Wells' Murderbot?

Thank you so much NetGalley and Saga Press!
Was this review helpful?
3.5 stars

I grew to enjoy the characters and the story. I felt a little confused at first with the world and the system. Overall, I enjoyed it!
Was this review helpful?
My favorite thing about this book is the setting and world building! I absolutely loved this Wild West town that's built around the ancient, decaying body of a fallen angel, and how that has shaped the environment and the society. Honestly, I would recommend reading this novella just for the joy of exploring the interesting interplay of angels, demons, religion, morality, and vice. As for the story itself, it moves quickly and I was able to read it in an evening. While I didn't feel particularly invested in the characters or the mystery, I did enjoy the world.
Was this review helpful?
Finished this a while ago, but have been waiting on a book tour to post about it. Refreshed myself with the audiobook with Dion Graham, whose voice is illegal and needs to be in more books. 

I like how this world is made, Literally taking place in a town situated next to the place where Lucifer died and bled into the mountain to make a valuable resource. You can do anything with that setting. But we got an investigative story that gives us more context into the workings of that setting and the ways we build up others in our heads. Phenomenal Roanhorse.

Reasons to read:
-The world building, damn
-The characters, we don't get the most time with the side characters but you have their bones based on their actions. Can easily imagine how a normal night would be at that bar
-A literal demon decides to cut off a toxic relationship with the MC, I have never read that before and I am still floored by it.

Cons:
-I would have kicked around in this world for longer, wanted more
-Dion's voice gets kinda distracting and that is a safety hazard
Was this review helpful?