Cover Image: Tread of Angels

Tread of Angels

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Member Reviews

A very different and dark fantasy story of a world where angels and demons have fought. The story is set in 1883, where the Virtue class rules everything while the Fallen do the dirty work, like mining the element Divinity which powers their world from the mountains of Colorado. Celeste and Mariel are two sisters who work in the bar/casino, Eden. During a festival, Mariel is dragged off, accused of murdering a Virtue. Celeste is frantic to prove her sister innocent and is named her Devil's advocate but only has a few days to investigate and find the real killer. 

Roanhorse has created a unique and fascinating world here. The mystery is intriguing, the characters well-drawn. The big question is how far will Celeste go to free her sister? 

I received an arc of this novella yesterday (11/26/22) from the author and publisher and since it had published on 11/15/22, I made a point of reading it asap. It is a great introduction to a new author for me, Rebecca Roanhorse. I will look forward to reading more from this creative writer and hope this is the beginning of a series. My review is voluntary and the opinions expressed are my own.
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I was provided an ARC of this book from the publisher Gallery Books/Saga Press via Netgalley, all opinions are my own.  

I loved this novella.  It has a bit of a steampunk vibe while also  being a SFF mystery.  This could have been a full length novel and I would have loved every minute of it.  For only being about 200 pages it packs a full story.  I thought the world building was great as was the character development.  Normally something suffers due to the shorter nature of novellas but I feel like Roanhorse did a wonderful job with the descriptions and the characters in the short time we spend with them  I had a hard time putting this down once I got started.

This follows Celeste who is trying to prove her sister's innocence after a brutal murder takes place at their place of employment.  Celeste and her sister Mariel live in a world where Heaven and Hell are very real places and Angels and Demons walk the Earth.  As she searches for proof that her sister is innocent, Celeste uncovers secrets that may endanger them both.  She must call in favors that may damn her soul and damage relationships of those she loves.  

This was full of secrets and lies.  At every turn Celeste was trying to outmaneuver someone who was attempting to manipulate her.  I highly recommend this dark fantasy.  It is a page turner that you wont' want to put down.
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Another wonderful story from Roanhorse! I’ll keep reading her work until she stops writing. Her world building is rich, her characters compelling, and the taste of romance in this book was just right for the story. 

This story felt to me like a mix of two of my favorite recent stories: The Mirror Visitor and Hadestown, except with Christian mythology instead of Greek. 

The steampunk world and the intriguing political system, and the mystery at the heart of the story (a classic whodunnit) made this a swift and thoroughly enjoyable read. I recommend!
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3.5 stars

I am grateful to Gallery / Saga Press for sending me an advanced copy of this book for review.

This is another fun one from Rebecca Roanhorse. It was nice and short, intriguing, and fun. The use of Christian lore as inspiration for the fantastical world building in this story was a departure from her other works, where she focused on indigenous lore. I really enjoyed the setting and atmosphere; it had a very dark and ominous feel to it throughout the story. Apart from all the plot's fantastic points, I love the focus on the dynamics between the main character and her sister. The author managed to fit a mystery, complicated family dynamics, complicated romantic relationships, and the corrupt political order of a fantasy world into such few pages!

It was compulsively readable and fun.

I would recommend this to fans of paranormal fantasy, supernatural fantasy, and Rebecca Roanhorse's previous works.
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Packs a punch!

This is one of those novellas where I really really REALLY want more. More of this world. More of these characters and more of this painfully delicious storyline.

Celeste is a tortured soul. Torn between her lover Abraxes who is a demon that actually wants her body and soul (and all that entails) for eternity, and her sister Mariel, who’s been put on a pedestal that she refuses to look at closely. There are some killer scenes in this book - who knew demons could be heartbroken?

This story in all its shortness still manages to give us character development in spades. Celeste tips from being the good caring sister,to morally grey, and then downright into the black. She also manages to drag Abraxes into the murk with her - when even a demon is saying you are going to far, you should know you are entering truly evil territory. The side characters are nuanced, then mix in the whole subtext of the power play between the Elect and The Fallen, and it all just leaves me wanting more. 

The ending was … very reminiscent of how I felt watching Gone with the Wind. Unbelievable - 4.5/5 Stars.
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Here is a quick review of the book:

When I found out that I received the arc of this book I was so ecstatic; I have loved all of the other Rebecca Roanhorse books I've read in the past. Unfortunately this one fell majorly short.  

Set in a wild west setting, we have two sisters, one blamed for a horrible crime and the other trying to prove her innocence. The magic revolves around angels and demons, with our main two characters being outcasts from all groups as they are mixed race.  

While the world was extremely interesting to learn about, the characters and plot fell flat.  Everything felt predicable, and I was bored through most of the story.

Even with all of that, I am not upset that I read this book.  Rebecca Roanhorse weaved through some amazing symbolism that spoke of the treatment and brutality that indigenous people face every day (and have been facing for a long time).  Are there other books that have done the same thing? Yes, but this one did a great job of hitting that topic in an impactful way.  I will most likely not be recommending this book to people as the plot really had me not enjoying my reading, but there are passages that I saved and will be sharing with people forever.

Thanks to Netgalley and Saga Press for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
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What could have been a very interesting novel was stripped bare of its juiciest parts and left with bare bones shrouded in nice writing. The characters were flat and didn’t have enough screen time to make us care about them or their development (or even understand them apart from the role they played). The world was the barest hint of developed.

I will say I really liked the analysis of Celeste’s mixed heritage and how her Elect-passing looks allow her to enter places a Fallen could never, but the reality of her bloodline means she can never truly belong. I would have liked to see more of her passing privilege in action, with more interactions with other Fallen.

The story didn’t grab me (I’ve never been particularly interested in angels and demons, I guess) and I finished the book without feeling any type of way about it.
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Tread of Angels is the story of Celeste, who is a card sharp, and a Fallen. In the city of Goetia, there are descendants of Lucifer and those who rebelled with him, and they are Fallen. They are the lowest class of people, but necessary, as only they can see the element of Divinity, used to power all kinds of neat things. The descendants of those who fought against Lucifer are Elect, and those who run the city of Goetia are Virtues. When Celeste’s sister Mariel is accused of murdering a Virtue, Celeste takes on the role of the Devil’s Advocate to defend her, and many shenanigans come to light.

This was an interesting story, and I quite enjoyed it! It’s quite short, more of a novella, but it was just long enough, I thought, to get the whole story out. I really enjoyed the world of Goetia, which was something like a noir/western feeling place, but with weird technologies that were powered by this new element they call Divinity (mined from the remains of Abbadon). The world reminded me somewhat of Trigun for some reason, so that might help some of you decide if you’d enjoy it.

All told, I liked this one. Read the whole thing in an evening and it was still making me think about it and imagine the world it takes place in over the next couple of days, and into the start of another book. So that is always a good thing!
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I have always loved stories with angels and demons mixing with humans in a world that is very nearly like ours. This one is a murder mystery and it's not set in the present. HonestlyI didn't really get when it was set, but I still enjoyed it and I didn't get the murderer even if I could've gotten it. It was very easy to follow even with the world complexity and lots of details just thrown there. It's a novella so there isn't enough space for tons of details but it's still enjoyable. I'd really like another story set in this world.
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I went into this one feeling unsure of if I would enjoy it or not. Now, having completed it, I’m unsure if I enjoyed or or not. It was very different from almost anything I’ve ever read, yet I felt compelled to continue. It was different in a way that’s a bit unsettling (heaven, hell, virtues, demons, etc), but it was also interesting. 

The storyline wasn’t particularly unique- a murder, a woman condemned, another woman trying to save her sister. The concept of bargaining for another persons life is, of course, complex. I can’t say much more without spoiling the storyline, but overall I feel like it was a good read.
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I love Rebecca Roanhorse’s books. I first found her when I read Race to the Sun, her YA fantasy based on Native American mythology, published through Rick Riordan Presents. I went on to read Black Sun and Fevered Star, the first two books in her Between the Earth Sky Trilogy. When I saw this book, I was naturally drawn to it, having loved all of Ms. Roanhorse’s work. I wish l can say that I enjoyed this book, but it there were many elements, that when put together, simply did not work. It was a quick read, a little over 200 pages.
The setting was the old west, but there was a specific element, Divinity, that was mined which allowed for the creation of things like elevators, lighting, airships, and other mechanical inventions. It gave it somewhat of a steampunk feel. Ms. Roanhorse always creates incredibly vivid worlds where it is easy to picture the story setting, and this was done just as well. It takes place in the mining town of Goetia, where Divinity is mined. Long ago, there was a war between angels and demons, and the angels prevailed. Now the town is divided between the Virtues, the winners who rule, and the Fallen, descendants of the demons. While they live in the same town, the Virtues clearly have all the wealth and power, while the Fallen run the town’s establishments. Virtues mete out justice in cruel ways, justifying it by using it as God’s judgement and wisdom.

The main protagonist is Celeste, a card dealer at Eden, one of the casino’s in Goetia. She is half Virtue and Fallen, but chooses to live with the Fallen, with her sister Mariel. She is very protective of her sister, as their parents are gone, and she puts her above all else. Hypatia is the woman who owns and runs Eden. I always like that Ms. Roanhorse has inclusion. Hypatia is gay and one of the Eden women, Lilith, is her lover. Zeke is the bartender and inventor, and a great person. He’s the character you always want to be friends with. All of these characters were very well developed. Unfortunately, Celeste and Mariel were very unlikable characters that I just could not connect with. I know this was a dark fantasy and that there will be morally grey characters. I felt they went beyond that. I liked Hypatia and Zeke very much. However, Celeste has a falling out with her, and we don’t see her again for almost half the book. Zeke we don’t see much of as well. 

Since the book was so short, I felt everything was rushed because there was so much packed into it-too much for such a short book. I was able to finish it in a short time, and even though there was plenty of action, I just didn’t like how the story ultimately unfolded. It is told in third person perspective of Celeste, and I found her such an unlikable character, I wasn’t drawn into the story like I wanted to be. There were some surprising twists, others that I knew were going to happen, so they were not at all surprising. The end left me very unsatisfied as well. 

Tread of Angels does have all the hallmarks of Ms. Roanhorse’s writing. Vivid world building, well developed characters, and an intricate plot. I do wish I enjoyed it more. If you are a fan of dark fantasy, with characters, who I felt were just immoral, you will enjoy it. It just missed the mark for me. Too much into a 200 page book, and nothing I could latch on too to make it more enjoyable. I will certainly be reading more of Rebecca Roanhorse’s books as I think she is master storyteller.
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A fun little ride that I didn't want to get off when it was over. There are so many cool elements in this story that the author really makes her own. I immediately fell in love with the entire set up - the gritty westernesque settting, the lore of battles between angels and demons, the corrupt, heirarchical societal structure, the mystery element that carries the plot - so much to like here and I was captivated from the start.

But while there was so much to love, I also found myself wanting a bit more. I appreciate a compact little novella as much as the next person, but I feel like the worldbuilding and the fantasy elements would benefit from a bit more exploration than the limited page count allowed. I'm not sure if that's necessarily a flaw or just me being a greedy reader, but it is what it is. I hope Roanhorse chooses to return to this world and these characters because I would gladly read more.

Definitely recommend.

Special thanks to Simon & Schuster for handing out ARCs at the 2022 ALA Conference.
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I will read anything Rebecca Roanhorse writes.  The writing was beautiful and I could not put it down.
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With hundreds of ratings on Goodreads, I don't have anything new to add, so I'll just say this is a pretty good story.

I really appreciate the free ARC for review!!
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I had previously enjoyed Rebecca Roanhorse’s Between Earth and Sky series so was curious when I was offered an ARC copy of Tread of Angels from the publisher and Netgalley. This story takes place in an entirely different setting from those works, in an Old West where the descendants of Angels and Demons reside. For a short work, it brings up a lot of complex issues about race, family, friendship, romantic relationships and what makes someone “good” or “evil.” Celeste, the main protagonist, can pass in appearance for one of the Elect, though she is of mixed descent and also part Fallen. When her sister is accused of murder she must try to find the truth, forcing her to seek the help of her former demon love for whom she still has feelings. The conclusion surprised me but felt satisfying to the story that was being told, which to me is always the sign of a talented storyteller.
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I cannot say I loved this book. I more so loved the idea of it. In theory, this book had great structure and potential. While reading it however, I found it choppy, disjointed, and lacking in character development. 
I have always enjoyed Roanhorse's writing style. It's almost short and to the point but still creates a world in the mind of readers. This novella left me wanting more; more from the characters, more from the world itself, more from the relationships. Just more. The main character deemed her life's purpose to be the caretaker of her sister, but that's her only redeeming quality. She is constantly working to make relationships while flipping switch and breaking others. All in all, it was an interesting read, but not one I would continue forth with.
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The world of Tread of Angels sucked me in from the start. I’ve always loved the blending of Fantasy and Westerns, which is my opinion isn’t used often enough. Then you add in the forces of Heaven and Hell…and dang I was hooked. The story revolves around Celeste, a card dealer in the mining town of Goetia. When her sister, Mariel, is accused of murder and taken into custody by the archangels, Celeste is determined to prove Mariel’s innocence. I’ll say right now, I wished this had been much longer. (It’s only a couple hundred pages.) The world is absolutely intriguing and there is so much more I still want to know. The characters were great, the lore utterly fascinating ( I’m dying to know more about … well everything, lol), and I enjoyed the flow of the story. Again, my only real complaint is I wished there had been more, and I really hope Roanhorse intends this to only be the opening of a series. 4.5 stars. I’d like to thank Gallery Books and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review an eARC of Tread of Angels.
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Good story, enjoyed the characters.  I .wish the story was more developed, but I know this isn't a novel.
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A mythical Wild West with the Virtues a ruling class and the Fallen the descendants of demon kind.

Our mc Celeste is neither but half and her sister is being accused of something she knows she didn't do.

The reimagined mythological Colorado mountains was an interesting setting especially set in the 1880s. Such an interesting time with saloon,  card games, dancing ladies and small towns.

Abraxas was a tempting character.

This is a fast paced shorter novel compared to her others. It was a darker fantasy and so interesting.

Thank you gallerybooks and netgalley for the e-ARC for my honest and voluntary review
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Thank you to Netgalley, Saga Press, and Ms. Roanhorse for the opportunity to read an ARC of this title.  An honest review was requested but not required.

I somehow missed that this was a novella.  I am not sure if this format was a departure for the author; certainly it’s shorter than everything else I’ve read from Ms. Roanhorse.  While I think generally Westerns lend themselves well to the  novella format, here I wished there was more.  More fleshing out of the characters (lots of ends were left hanging, and many of the characters felt somewhat unfinished) and more plot.  Abraxus in particular needed more attention.  Grace, the newspaper writer, as well.  More on the magic system would have been welcome as well – I’m a worldbuilding nut, though, so YMMV on that one.  

I really enjoyed the story and its setting, and would have eagerly read more.  I wonder if Celeste will feature again, or if this was a one-time showing? Her story was left wide-open, although, as a half-caste woman who has literally burnt ALL her bridges, I’m not sure where she could go from there. Sour endings aren’t really my favorite, so I didn’t enjoy the bleakness at the finish, but it was fitting.  Overall I would describe this story as “fascinating”, and I admit I would happily come back for more if the author writes it.  

⭐⭐⭐1/2 stars
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