cover image Rebel Angels

Rebel Angels

Michele Lang. Tor, $26.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-7653-2319-4

There’s nothing in the concluding volume of Lang’s alternate history trilogy (following Lady Lazarus and Dark Victory) that improves upon its predecessors. The central plot requires major buy-in: in 1939, witch Magda Lazarus can defeat Hitler and prevent the Holocaust by finding the Heaven Sapphire. After concluding that the sapphire is in Russia, Lazarus and her angel-spouse, Raziel, struggle to get there. Several strong ideas are underdeveloped, particularly the political alliances of werewolves and vampires, and the prose is often too flowery for the setting and theme (“Into the second Heaven I fled, shooting into the gray nothingness like a sparrow fleeing a hawk”). There is the occasional flash of humor—in a love scene prelude, Lazarus, who like her namesake rises from the grave whenever she’s killed, tells Raziel that she’ll rest “when I’m dead and decide to stay that way”—but not enough to redeem the flimsy wish-fulfillment premise. Agent: Lucienne Diver, Spectrum Literary Agency. (Mar.)