having the greatest source material to deal with, Jeff Mariotte's The
Xander Years, Vol. 2 was one of the better Buffy novelisations,
but how does his first Angel novel fare?
actually, although there are a few unfortunate similarities to the previous
novel in the series, Mel Odom's Redemption.
vision leads Angel to search for a young girl who needs his help, and he
thinks he's found her when he saves Karinna Willitts, the teenage daughter
of studio boss Jack Willitts, from a getting roughed up by her
bodyguards. In fact, the pair are so impressed with him that he soon
replaces them - at least during the hours of darkness.
runs Monument Pictures, so naturally Cordelia thinks this is her big break,
and it certainly looks like it, until she arrives at the studios and
discovers what she's going to be doing.
The early run-ins
and fights turn out to involve mere minions of the novel's main bad guy,
Mordractus, who is deteriorating rapidly and badly wants to summon the demon
Orias before he drops dead. Naturally, Angel is central to his plans.
The first two
thirds of the book concentrate on the Angel/Karinna storyline, broken up by
Cordelia acting as a tour guide and Detective Lockley investigating a series
of bank robbers that end up with her taken hostage.
I must admit that
there still seemed a fair chunk of the novel to go once Mordractus had been
dispatched, even allowing for the fact that Kate still needed to be rescued,
which surely wouldn't take the best part of fifty pages to accomplish?
There was also what
looked like a bit of a plot hole that hadn't been explained earlier.
These were both
tidied up, although it felt as if there was a element of the Charmed
episode 'Dead Man Dating' going on. However, that's a minor criticism
and it was nice to see how the Kate subplot tied in with the rest of the
characters are all handled quite well. Cordelia is still trying for
that big break so it was great to see her trying to cope with the menial job
of tramdriving. There's also a couple of nice scenes where we see that
Doyle feels more for Cordy than he's letting on.
After a fairly
average average start with Not Forgotten, the Angel novels
seem to be getting into their stride. It's nice to see Doyle featuring
in a few more stories, although hopefully Pocket Books will move onto novels
from the second two-thirds of the seasons at some stage. Nevertheless,
Close to the Ground is a worthy addition to the range.
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