Margaret Weis has always held a special place in my heart; her “Dragonlance” series and “Twins” duology written with Tracy Hickman had a huge impact on both my fantasy reading and tabletop role-playing. I was surprised to learn she had ventured into paranormal romance along with her daughter Lizz. Paranormal romance is often hit or miss with me (one sparkly vampire too many) but “Warrior Angel” is a definite hit. I purchased my copy on Day 2 of GenCon, got back to my hotel, and instead of doing anything remotely gaming related, stayed up until after 2 a.m. devouring almost half the book.
Warrior Angel is the story of Derek, once a Knight Templar, but after an excruciating death as a traitor and heretic ends up in Purgatory, angry at God for abandoning him and his brother Templars. Refusing to enter heaven, he leads the Heavenly Host in Purgatory against the forces of Hell.
Rachel Duncan is a commodities trader, fighting for her rightful place alongside her male counterparts in the “pits” of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. She is a strong, resourceful woman, and doesn’t need a man to fill any special gaps. But a suave client named Andreas Zanus jet-sets into her life, with diamond bracelets, costly dinners, and surprise trips to Paris.
Rachel has come to the attention of Heaven. Someone has killed her Guardian Angel, placing her mortal soul in danger. Derek is unwilling sent to Earth to watch over her and find out what makes her so special to forces both good and evil. He is placed in her swanky condo as a doorman, which utterly baffles him (people can’t open doors for themselves?) and makes his warrior self antsy. Of course, he meets Rachel, eyes lock, and well, you will just have to find out how things play out for yourself.
I loved the Weis’s characterizations; Rachel is one of the strongest and unique characters I’ve come across in romantic fiction. The details of her life in the “pits” further establish her intelligence and determination. Derek is holy, but not too holy, and he respects Rachel enough to allow her space when she needs it. Zanus is as sleek and slippery as an eel, but the hate you end up feeling for him builds slowly over the course of the book.
The sex is minimal, but well placed, and could best be described as sweet rather than steamy. The city of Chicago is lovingly described and makes you wish you were there. The secondary characters are wonderful, too – the Angel William, who has a bit of a potty mouth and a bit of fondness for gambling, er, games of chance, poses as a homeless man who shows up at the most opportune times. Sampson, the cherub, who spends most of the book as a cat, is endearing. That Rachel reveals herself to be a cat person adds a touch of softness to her tough as nails character.
Parts of this book will make you laugh out loud, charm your heart, have you on the edge of your seat, and in a couple of places, will reduce you to tears. And if you don’t say, “Awwwww….” at the very end of this book, you may not be entirely human.
Warrior Angel is a thoroughly enjoyable novel, and I look forward to reading the next book in the series, Fallen Angel.