Review: The Angel by Tiffany Reisz (2012)

Original Sinners, Book 2

Review of Original Sinners, Book 1

Heat Factor: There is a lot of sex, between a bunch of different people (separately and together).

Character Chemistry: Everyone is beautiful, and everyone wants to get laid. 

Plot: There’s a submissive in training. There’s a priest under investigation. And there’s a writer trying to figure out the truth in her heart. 

Overall: There are a lot of dyads here, and while one couple does get a HEA, others do not. I would place this firmly in the category of erotica, rather than romance.

Tiffany Reisz has a devoted fan base. And I have discovered that I love really steamy erotic romance, especially steamy erotic romance with religious and/or philosophical undertones. Furthermore, I loved The Siren, which is the first installment of the Original Sinners series. All of these factors means that I obviously was going to pick up book 2 in the series. 

Sadly, I didn’t love The Angel. I thought it was good enough – and if you’re looking for straight up erotica but want something well-written, Reisz is a good bet – but it didn’t sing for me. The challenge, for me, was finding an emotional center to latch on to. 

Some backstory. I would say The Original Sinners series could be accurately described as “the ongoing sexy adventures of Nora Sutherlin.” Nora is a central character in all of them, but then the secondary characters (and her partners) shift as the series progresses. In The Siren, Zachary, Nora’s editor, was our view into the underground world of sex dungeons. In The Angel, the outsider perspective is provided by Michael, a 17-year-old submissive who Nora is training in the art of sex and bondage. And frankly, I didn’t find Michael all that compelling. He’s damaged and confused and self-hating and in need of so much love, and I just don’t have the patience for it. Give me Zach – also damaged and confused, but also confident and snarky and with a bit of heft to him. (Setting aside the whole dynamic of a 35-year-old woman training a 17-year-old boy to properly submit.) 

The other main subplot here is about Søren, who is being investigated, and has a Very Tragic Backstory. Sorry (not sorry), but Søren sucks, and I don’t care about his backstory. He’s a too perfect sadist who never makes mistakes and there’s nothing interesting about him (tragic backstory notwithstanding). The only thing that makes him a little bit interesting is Reisz’s statement that he’s based on God.

Beyond the characters and my personal ambivalence about them, I also thought that The Angel was weaker in terms of craft. When reading The Siren, I constantly felt that my expectations were being challenged; Reisz was playing with romance conventions and then pushing readers off-balance by introducing new bits of information. In The Angel, she dispenses with the romance framework, so there’s nothing to push against. The “reveals” here felt like manufactured drama, rather than revelations. 

I’m being so harsh, I think, because I was disappointed. I wanted more than sex, and this doesn’t quite deliver on that front. 

Buy Now: Amazon

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