Rogue Angel: Destiny
Alex Archer
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Buy *Rogue Angel: Destiny* by Yevgeny Zamyatin, tr. Natasha Randall online

Rogue Angel: Destiny
Alex Archer
Gold Eagle
352 pages
July 2006
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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Rogue Angel: Destiny begins on a sprint, opening a fascinating window into history and Joan of Arc. Then the mosaic begins with Archerís short, direct sentences, which complement the story well. All in all, the first book in the Rogue Angel series scores a victory for Archer, but not without a few miscues.

The storyline quickly switches from Joanís time in medieval France to reporter and archaeologist Annja Creed. By trade, Annja is an archaelogist, but as there is little pay in the profession she supports her dream by selling stories to the TV show Chasing Historyís Monsters. Annja runs into trouble after looking into the old French legend of a mysterious creature called Le Bete, and finding a charm with connections to Joan of Arc. She falls into a tumult of secrets and shady characters, finding herself in countless dangerous situations; Archer paces the story well. Annja is led into a great mystery full of threads of history and immortality.

Some of it isnít wholly original, and secret orders like the Brotherhood of the Silent Rain smell like a take on The Da Vinci Code. If you read the back cover, many other elements would stand out as similar to that novel, but its all in good fun if it moves the story along, which for the most part it does.

Archerís dialogue moves the story well; itís short and to the point. Conflicts rise as the story progresses, with just enough mystery and suspense to keep a reader entertained. Characterization is handled well for the most part, but action and mystery is what Archer is hoping will entice the reader to continue. Perhaps by focusing on the interesting central character of Annja more, the reader could learn more about Archerís characterization skills.

The potential for this story is great, but the execution could be better. When Archer lengthens his sentences he does well, making them complete, but many of his shorter ones are not even close to complete sentences. This can be forgiven in terms of pace, but simple grammar could have lengthened some of the sentences for the better. Once you get used to the style, the many correlating storylines pick up, and Rogue Angel: Destiny turns into a fast read.

The speed of Rogue Angel: Destiny is its greatest strength. What is lacking in sentence style can easily be forgiven for a good story, and Archer succeeds in bringing a fully captured world onto the printed page. That said, the characters could have been more completely realized for the reader. Yet the twists in the story keep you in your seat - maybe not falling out of it, but steady.

Many readers might find the idea of a monster overdone, but a search for an ancient monster provides a good backdrop for the story, focusing more on the history of the monster than the idea that it could still be aroundówhich it isnít.

In the end, Rogue Angel: Destiny stumbles at times and could be boring to some readers, but there are enough subplots to differentiate it from The Da Vinci Code (like the search for the monster). A strong editor could have done wonders for this book, but as it is in a series, itís too late to cut it up; instead, try to enjoy it for what it is.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Jacob Malewitz, 2006

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