Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Angel on the Ropes by Jill Shultz
Author: Jill Shultz
Publication Date: June 1, 2013
Length: about 307 pages (ebook)
Amandine Sand is a leopard, a person born with spots, discriminated against because of the misguided belief that leopards carry a plague. She is also a trapeze artist. Amandine lives a double life, in the spotlight of the circus, with her spots carefully covered by makeup, and working for the Seekers, helping other leopards get to safe houses. When she meets a man who takes her breath away, if she isn't careful, both her worlds could be in danger.
This book made me wish I knew more about the trapeze. The descriptions of Amandine's and Jango's performances were beautiful, and I felt like they'd be even more beautiful if I knew enough about the trapeze to be able to accurately picture the act in my head.
The Plaguellants are very frightening villains. Religious zealots that hunt down and kill leopards towards the goal of purifying the world, they really show how the scariest bad guys are the ones who really believe they're the good guys. This makes the eventual humanising of one of the Plaguellants all the more powerful and strange.
I love the casual depiction of LGBT characters in this book. Several of the main characters are shown to be bi- or pan-sexual, and it's just part of the characters; that's never what the story is about. It's quite refreshing. There are even polyamorous characters, with a small plot line about the difficulties in a relationship between a poly and a mono.
Angel on the Ropes is beautifully written, with a thrilling depiction of circus life, a spicy romance, and a frightening class struggle fueled by ignorance and intolerance. Oh, and made up swear words that actually seem natural, not like they're trying to hard to sound like fantasy/sci fi, which made up words in these genres too often do. Amandine's use of the phrase "moulti tiva", in particular, always seemed so fitting. I appreciate an author who can make up good swear words and other expressions.
Full disclosure: Free ebook copy received from the publisher through Netgalley.