Cover Image: Tread of Angels

Tread of Angels

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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.
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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!
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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!
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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.
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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.

-I would have kicked around in this world for longer, wanted more
-Dion's voice gets kinda distracting and that is a safety hazard
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I am intrigued by this world that Roanhorse as created and would have loved if this was longer than a novella(only because I wanted more from the ending). Tread of Angels takes place in world crafted from the aftermath of the battle between angels and demons. The angels won and are the ruling power over the world. The story follows Celeste who is trying to clear the name of her sister Mariel, who was accused of killing a Virtue.
I enjoyed the worldbuilding and the characters that we got to meet. Because it was just a novella, the story was incredibly fast paced and while I didn't mind that, I feel the ending was a tad bit rushed and the way that things were wrapped up leaves much to be explored, so hopefully we will return to Goetia (fingers crossed :) ).
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This is a fantasy murder mystery story focused on morality and self-destructive devotion. It raises the question of "how far would you go for a loved one?" - when it might mean to stop living your own life even when your perception of the loved one might be skewed because of who they are to you and what you think you might owe them. I found this very relatable, especially since it's centered around sisterly love. The ability to explore unconditional love, loyalty and the hierarchal structures of love in a novella was amazing. Celeste might have made purposeful excuses to get out of a relationship she never truly wanted (up for interpretation), but she put her sister in front of her own happiness when her sister might not have returned that consideration. 

The world is centered around angels/demons and the class politics and prejudices that surround it.

I also enjoyed some greek myth tie-ins/references.

For fans of Good Omens, wild west fantasies, and stories with antiheroes/antiheroines.

Thank you to NetGalley and Saga Press for the chance to read this advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
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First, thank you to NetGalley & Rebellion Publishing for an arc in exchange for an honest review!

I would rate this book 3.5 stars. This was an interesting change of pace for Roanhorse but I really enjoyed this novella. The writing was melancholy and reflective; not what I typically enjoy but this bite-sized epic made it bearable. This angelic western initially appeared to be romantic but the story focuses more on tragic revelations. My only qualm is that I wanted more of Celeste and Abraxos, either together or apart; they were both so beautifully written and I would have preferred reading a story focused solely on them. Overall I enjoyed this read, it's unlike anything I've read this year.
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Tread of Angels is much more novella than novel, and I don’t think that really gave it the time to fully develop any of the characters. In a way, I think fans of the Sixth World series by Rebecca Roanhorse will still connect with this because the main character Celeste reads very similarly as the protagonist of that series. Maybe because both are the kind of characteristic “badass” female lead stuck in a low fantasy, post-apocalyptic world. Which is not at all a kind of bad character type to capitalize on and usually I have a good time following these female characters. But I don’t think Celeste really got the page time to endear me to her or any of the other characters she interacted with. 

In terms of character motivation, I do like that Celeste was coming from a place of familial dedication to her sister. SHe also wasn’t stuck in the typical “trying to find” or “trying to rescue” a sibling plot. Rather, she was trying to clear her sister’s name from perceived unjustified allegations which led to some interesting conversations at the end of the book - even if the big reveals felt a bit anticlimactic. 

Overall, I think Tread of Angels functions fine as a novella and better as a story for fans of Rebecca Roanhorse’s previous works for its familiarity. But for me, I don’t feel it was long enough to develop either the characters or the lore it presented, and it felt a little too much like retreading old ground.

Thank you to the publisher Gallery Books for providing an e-ARC via NetGalley for an honest review.
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I really enjoyed this!! I was worried based on the other reviews I read but I think people were comparing this too much to the author’s other books, which they shouldn’t because this IS different but that’s okay!! This wasn’t as high fantasy as her other books, which I also loved, but I did enjoy the world and my only complaint is that I wish it was longer! The ending was amazing and I loved how unexpected it was. I hope one day she returns to write more in this world, I loved the fantasy mixed with the mystery.
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I loved the premise of this book.  The world building, the characters, the semi-expected twist at the end- those things were great, in theory.  Unfortunately I felt like this book didn't quite hit the mark.  It took forever to pull me in, and then when it finally did the book was over.  I have so many unanswered questions.
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This novella opens with Celeste, a faro dealer in the mining town of Goetia, surveying her table of mostly fellow Fallen, as the descendants of those who lost the rebellion against Heaven are known. Society in the post-Rebellion world is strictly divided between the Fallen and the Elect, the descendants of the righteous, who are in charge of almost everything worth controlling. This includes most industry and the systems of administration that keep the town running. 

Celeste could pass in high society due to having inherited her looks from her Elect father, unlike her sister Mariel, who takes after their Fallen mother. While Mariel is a talented singer, racism ensures that she can only make a living performing in saloons and dive bars instead of the opera houses where less talented singers tread the boards. Loyal to a fault, Celeste stays with Mariel in the slums, dealing cards while looking out for her little sister.

So when Mariel is hauled away by the local Elect authorities on suspicion of murder, a frantic Celeste will stop at nothing to free her. It's an ordeal just to discover where she's been taken. Celeste is thus surprised to find that the Virtue who finally lets her in to see her sister is also willing to appoint her as the advocate for Mariel's defense. When Celeste expresses her reservations, Ibrahim assures her that she doesn't need any legal training for the position, as what matters most in the court where Mariel will be tried are the purity of truth and soul.

Since Celeste is no fool, she figures she'd better go about collecting exculpatory evidence as well. Her search, however, finds her testing the very limits of her own senses of both morality and self, as she finds herself entangled in the machinations of greater powers that seek to use her as a pawn in their sinister games.

To be honest, I'm not really sure what I think of this book. I enjoyed the quasi-Western, quasi-steampunk setting, but I don't think I'm in the right frame of mind to care about angels, fallen or otherwise, and their descendants. I did like the noir overtones, and appreciated how Celeste is allowed to be a flawed and occasionally outright awful person in her pursuit of freedom for her sister. The dissection of racism and class was really spot on, but I also feel that this book might have benefited from being expanded into a full novel. It's fine as a novella, but I think that a lot of assumptions were made regarding the reader's familiarity with Christian mythology. Explaining more about the background and science-fantasy systems would have made for a more enjoyable, longer book. That said, it's still quite good as is.

Tread Of Angels by Rebecca Roanhorse was published November 15 2022 by Saga Press and is available from all good booksellers, including <a href="">Bookshop!</a>
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Imagine the wild west in 1883 in Colorado where gold has just been found in the mountains, and small towns have sprung up as people from everywhere are attracted by the chance of striking gold and becoming rich.  This is that book, except the mining is not for gold or silver, but for a rare element called Divinity which is in high demand.  Humans live alongside with Angels (called Virtues) and Demons (the Fallen who supported Lucifer).  Here, however, the Virtues are no better than the Fallen.     

Two of the main characters are sisters who work in a busy casino/bar in Goetia, a mining town near the mountain where Divinity was found (washed from the remains of an archangel who fell during the war in Heaven).  Mariel is an entertainer, and can't hide that she is a Fallen.  The other sister, Celeste, is a dealer in the casino.  She can pass as a Virtue but won't because of loyalty to her sister.  One night there is a fight in the casino, and when the dust clears, a Virtue is dead and Mariel is accused of murdering him.  They had been having an affair and she learned he was getting married (and not to her).  Celeste takes on the role of Devil's Advocate for her sister as she believes her innocent, and begins interviewing people hoping to find someone else who had reason to kill the dead man.    

This is a novella, only about 200 pages, but the story feels complete.  I am hoping for more stories set in this world, and would like to see more of Celeste and some of the other characters.  Thank you NetGalley and the publisher Gallery Books for sending this book for review consideration.  All opinions are my own.
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I am a big fan of Roanhorse's writing. It always feels gritty, dirt in your teeth kind of good. In Tread of Angels, Roanhorse creates a world of Angels and Demons and places it all in a western setting. The novella follows Celeste as she moves through Elect society investigating the death of Virtue. All of this is to attempt to free her sister, Mariel, who was charged with the murder. Eliciting help from a Virtue and the demon Abraxas who happens to be her ex, she discovers that things aren't always what they seem.

I really liked Tread of Angels. While the book checks in at only 200 pages, it reads like a full length novel.  Of course, I wouldn't have hated an extra hundred pages or so. There is plenty of mystery and intrigue in this fantasy western. The characters are interesting, the world building is pretty unique, and of course the racial metaphors are not lost in the story. There are plenty of twists and turns along the way to keep the story moving as well. My only complaint was the romantic element. The heat and tension between Abraxas and Celeste wasn't there for me, but I think this is mostly due to the length of the book. While we know their history, there just isn't enough pages to feel it. 

Overall, a good read. It's fast paced, interesting, and kept me guessing.
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I just don't think this book was for me. Rebecca Roanhorse has a fantastic writing ability but I just did not find myself caring for the characters or the plot at all. Maybe it was because it WAS a short story and it just felt like it should have been longer, but it just didn't work for me at all. The ending seemed to tie up too quickly and I actually found myself wanting the opposite outcome.

Overall, fairly forgettable for me and one I will not be reaching for again. However, I do want to give Roanhorse another try because I did like her writing style, just not this story.
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Roanhorse is a strong writer and is perhaps better suited for longer works. There was a lot of focus on the very interesting setting here, so much so that the plot and characters took a backseat to it. This was an enjoyable and smooth read, but felt like it was missing something.

When everything was resolved it sure felt like the last twenty or so pages were doing a lot of the plot's legwork for it.
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I love Rebecca Roanhorse, and this is an absolute knockout piece of literature. I sped through this like I probably shouldn't have, and am so glad I did. A very worthwhile read.
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The mood and the setting for this book was the best thing about it! While the plot left a few things to be desired for me, this was the perfect fall read for mood and atmosphere.
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The story was a great, quick read! I loved the world, the characters, and the relationships within the story. I also loved how it showed sometimes you lose everything when you try and hold on to one person for too long.
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Thank you @sagapress for the #gifted copy of TREAD OF ANGELS!

Full disclosure: I requested this novella without even reading the synopsis on Goodreads. I was just like “oh, Rebecca Roanhorse? SOLD!”

Much to my delight TREAD OF ANGELS is an angelic fantasy set in the Wild West. I absolutely loved the world building and was blown away how Roanhorse sucked me into this world in such a short amount of time. The book is only 200 pages long!

In the world of TREAD OF ANGELS, the world is split into the Elect and the Fallen. The Fallen are descendants of the demons that fought with Lucifer and are treated as a lower caste. Celeste and Mariel are Fallen sisters who are put to the test when Mariel is accused of murdering a high-power Virtue. Celeste is appointed Mariel’s “devil’s advocate” and has just a few days to prove her sister’s innocence.

My main complaint is that I wanted more. I wanted the story to keep going and to spend more time in the world. I found the ending a bit unsatisfying but overall I really enjoyed it. I really hope that Roanhorse will revisit this world in a full-length novel in the future!

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