This week's review is over my second Anne Rice novel. I read "Interview With the Vampire" a few years ago, and while I enjoyed it, it was a slightly strange sort of reading experience for me. In fact, I haven't continued with the rest of the books in that series. However, I saw a pretty and inexpensive hardcover edition of "Of Love and Evil" in October while I was out of town and couldn't resist giving Anne Rice another try. It was different genre, focusing on angels rather than vampires which I've enjoyed reading in the past.
Sadly, I didn't realize until afterwards that this book was the second in a series (The Songs of the Seraphim) until I had already returned home, but after doing some research, I decided I would be able to read it without missing much as it seemed like there wasn't too much of a story arch between book 1 and 2.
I didn't particularly love the story, but before I get into my thoughts, here is the Goodreads description:
Anne Rice's extraordinary new novel summons up for us the world of fifteenth-century Rome: of Michelangelo and Raphael, of the Holy Inquisition and of Leo X, second son of a Medici, holding forth on the papal throne . . . a city of domes and rooftop gardens and rising towers. And into this time, into this century, Toby O'Dare, former government assassin is summoned, by the angel Malchiah, to solve a terrible crime of poisoning and to search out the truth about a haunting by an earthbound restless spirit -- a diabolical dybbuk. In the fullness of the high Italian Renaissance, Toby is plunged into this rich age as a lutenist sent to charm and calm this troublesome spiri... He soon discovers himself in the midst of dark plots and counter-plots surrounded by a darker and more dangerous threat as the veil of ecclesiastical terror closes in around him.
As Toby once again embarks on a powerful journey of atonement, he is reconnected with his own past, with matters light and dark, fierce and tender, with the promise of salvation and with a deeper and richer vision of love.
My first real issue came up when Toby's ex comes into the picture. After finding out that he had fathered a child it is arranged for him to see the woman he had to run away from and is still in love with after ten years....that's fine, but she claims to have no ill will towards him. She is completely fine with the fact that he had disappeared for a decade, leaving her alone to be a teen mother? I don't think so. Forgiveness is a big thing in this book and series, from what I can tell, but I find it almost impossible to believe that she wouldn't have any hard feelings. Even if it was just being hurt that he left her.
All the realistic events in the book are written in a surreal way that makes them painful to read.
The actual main plot of the book takes half the novel to actually start up and it resolves far too quickly and in an unsatisfying way.
In all, I think if you want Anne Rice, read her vampire novels. This book doesn't have too many raving reviews on Goodreads and I think there are definitely better stories in this sort of genre out there.