Metal Angel
Nancy Springer
Review by Paul Melko

Volos, a minor angel in the choirs of Heaven, rebels against God and wills himself into human form. He is tired of obeying, tired of his ephemeral form; he wants the tastes of the flesh, experiences of the mortal realm: he wants to be a rock star. So on a dark L.A. night, Volos appears in human form on a rooftop above Sunset Boulevard; well, almost human form. He forgot to lose the wings. With the voice of a horny angel, the body of a minor Slovak fertility god, and the urge to be bad, Volos rises quickly to the top, singing songs like only a fallen angel can.

His entourage grows: Texas, a retired cop, Volos' security man, searching for his father, running from his wife and children, and trying to teach Volos what it means to be human. Mercedes, a climber and the homosexual lover of Volos, using the angel to get to the top. Burning Earth, Volos' band, along for the ride, but with growing concerns over Volos' past. And Angie, Queen of Angels, daughter of the Reverend Crenshaw, who has always lived a life of piety and repressed vitality, until she starts hearing her own songs, songs she thinks only she has seen, being sung by the unearthly Volos. And so Volos samples of human life. Only not everyone is happy to have a fallen angel on the Earth, especially the Reverend Crenshaw when his daughter runs off to be with him.

Metal Angel entertains and sometimes stimulates. Its plot is slow and simple, and the reader can not but see where it's going. This is somewhat of a let down. At 300 some pages, the books seems wordy, and the plot overly worked. I can see Springer getting to her point in about the length of a novella, or less. The idea of a fallen angel playing rock star sustains the novel through the first quarter, after which this grew dull. The final quarter, with its Reverend Crenshaw versus Volos crusade, was less intriguing.

Springer is a very character-oriented writer, as I've noticed from the previous book of hers that I've read. There the plot as well suffered at the expense of characterization. Nonetheless, there is nothing objectionable about this book, perhaps suggested reading for a flight or vacation, but nothing to seek out.

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