Series: Celestial Justice #1
Published by Diversity Novels on 23 April 2013
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So, what happens to a guardian angel when he really screws up? Araton, Junior Guardian Angel, is about to find out.
Araton’s Destiny is the first book in Serena Yates’ Celestial Justice series, exploring the ideas of justice and mercy (not to mention romance) in the angelic realms. The first three novellas in the series, Araton’s Destiny, Zuriel’s Fate, and Israfil’s Future have just been rereleased, two-and-a-half years after their first publication. After reading Araton’s Destiny, I believe they deserve the new attention.
Araton is guardian angel to an accident-prone young man. When Araton is briefly distracted, his charge is hit by a car and is ends up facing the rest of his life in a wheelchair. After a brief trial, Araton is removed from his position as guardian angel and faces expulsion from the celestial realms into the void. On appeal (did you know celestial courts even had appeals? I didn’t), he’s granted leniency and is placed among the Christmas angels. This group of angels has a lot more leeway in their interactions with their charges. For example, while guardian angels can’t touch those they’re caring for, Christmas angels can. This is a new, but exciting, prospect for Araton, who has always craved human contact.
Araton’s first assignment as a Christmas angel is to return the Christmas spirit to Jake Danis. Additionally, Araton needs to restore his life, which has been something of a mess in the last few years. Jake had been a pro football player. He lived for football. Unfortunately, a catastrophic leg injury in a game ended his career. After recovering enough use of his leg, Jake started pushing himself into more and more extreme sports. Shortly before Christmas, while mountain climbing alone in the Colorado Rockies, he falls into an ice cave. Injuring his leg again, it looks like he’ll be gone soon. Araton rescues him and brings him back to health. Meanwhile, the love and passion between the two men, human and angelic, quickly grows. Eventually, Araton must decide whether to remain an angel and move on, or stay with Jake and become human.
I enjoyed this book quite a lot. The plot and characterizations were very well done. Even so, I did have a few problems with it, probably due to the length. I felt that a lot of the action was simply rushed. While I’m a romantic and believe in love at first sight, the sudden love between Jake and Araton seemed a too quick. I felt there needed to be a little more back story, and a little more time, for it to really make sense. The love scenes felt even more rushed. Not that they were over too quickly (they weren’t), but that they occurred too soon in their relationship. If the book had been maybe forty, fifty percent longer, I think it would have been just about right. I also had a problem with some of the language. I realize the more formal style was intended to convey the grandeur of the celestial realm, but it came across to me as stilted, and distracted me from the story. Finally, even though he’s an angel, Araton seemed just too perfect. He didn’t seem to have any flaw that would make his personality more accessible to a human. In spite of these complaints, I did like the book. In fact, I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series. With the next three books scheduled to be released in June, I won’t have too long to wait.