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Still stuck in season two, Pocket Books' latest ANGEL novel sees our hero approached by Wolfram & Hart in order to prevent the latest end-of-the-world threatening disaster.

That threat comes from motivational speaker Lily Pierce, who - following the sci-fi/fantasy convention for adopting completely obvious disguises - is really Lilith (of Garden of Eden fame). Things must be really desperate for Wolfram & Hart to turn to Angel for help unless, of course, it's all just another trap.

The prologue sees a surgeon given the opportunity to kill the man who he's just discovered was the man who ran down his daughter eleven years earlier. However, this just turns out to be part of Lily/Lilith's plan to capture human souls.

Angel and co. then get themselves involved with a car crash, which is used to show humanity at its worst. Angel reflects that he can't change this, so it's no real surprise to find out that the rest of the novel revolves around the fact that he might be able to.

Lilith is using a magical device known as the Serpent's Head, which appeared slightly reminiscent of the Witchblade in WITCHBLADE. At the very least, the idea of something corrupting the wearer is hardly original.

After an early confrontation with Lilith, the regulars are all split up. Sadly this doesn't mean they all get their own strong storylines, as they're either turned into a demon, flown out of the city or locked up.

The exception is Angel, who gets to go after Lilith. However, he also gets the usual sort of temptations, and starts succumbing to them. Once again, I'm inclined to moan about this sort of thing. On television, there's the possibility of a story arc which takes the character in a certain direction, but in a spin-off novel we know that nothing permanent - or even nothing at all - will come out of it. The same can be said of the injury that one of the regulars gets during the course of the novel.

Perhaps I'd be less inclined to moan if the novel had been a good read. Instead, we get a storyline for Angel that's clearly going nowhere (and isn't even interesting as far as I'm concerned), while the others are largely sidelined.

Given their nature, perhaps the ANGEL novels can't do much more than monster of the week stories, so it might be better for Pocket Books to give us stylish ones in that vein rather than "epics" which threaten the end of the world.

VENGEANCE isn't a complete disaster, but it wasn't particularly enjoyable or memorable either. back to the top





RATING: 5/10