Titles: Hell for the Company and Fear of Frogs
Author: Angel Martinez
Publisher: Mischief Corner Books, LLC
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars
From the Publisher:
Demons and Angels have been among us for thousands of years, in many cultures and in many forms. What happens when you set the Mischief Corner authors loose on the vague prompt “Write a story about angels or demons?” The poor unsuspecting world is about to find out.
From Angel Martinez – Hell For The Company: Brimstone #1
Shax, the Demon Prince of Thieves, has reconciled himself to exile. He has a grand time careening around the galaxy as a high-end, intergalactic purloiner of pretties. Everything’s going just fine, thank you very much. All right, fine, the anti-gravity cows are a bit problematic and some of his buyers are bad for his health, but he manages until he comes across an injured angel in a psychedelic alien jungle.
He only rescues the wing boy for his golden feathers, but what Shax doesn’t know about angels could fill an intergalactic encyclopedia.
Riding and herding. Those spurs that jingle-jangle-jingle. What is it about cowboys that so doggedly fires the imagination? Join the Mischief Corner authors as they give you their own unique takes on the cowboy mystique and mythos, from the American West, to Australia, to outer space. The cowboy story will never be the same…
Fear of Frogs: Brimstone #2
While Shax recovers from a near fatality, his shipmates have been busy. He’s rather proud of them taking the initiative and finding them a lucrative cargo run. His pride turns to outright horror, though, when he finds out what sort of cargo. Unfortunately, he’ll soon discover that a healthy fear of frogs doesn’t prevent frog-driven disasters. Time travel has never been so messy.
Okay, kids, wrap your minds around this: Gay demons and angels—in spaceships. Oh: and cowboys.
Yep. Oh, Lord, this is a premise so fraught with absurdity that one wonders how it could possibly succeed. And yet Angel Martinez somehow manages to pull it off (with only the slightest echoes of past Star Trek gambits).
How does she do this? First off, she writes well (which is kind of “duh”, but rarer than it ought to be in this genre); she knows how to pace her story, keeping things moving along without either rushing or dragging; and she makes the whole thing a rollicking comic picaresque adventure (see, this is a classy website, we use large words). I smiled all the way through.
And, amazingly for two short novellas, she gives the reader depth, with some startling cosmological ideas that are as enjoyable as they are unexpected in what is, after all, “only” supposed to be a light-hearted erotic gay fantasy.
Shax is an exiled demon prince from Hell (prince of Thieves); his BFF is Verin, a rather more gruesome demon of impatience. In “Hell for the Company” we also meet Sagnessagiel, Ness for short, a disenfranchised angel our demon friends rescue during a silage raid on an alien planet (BTW a real angel name, I looked it up).
I would say you really need to read both books, back to back, and since together they make up one modest-length novel, it’s no big deal.
Shax is sexy and vain. Verin is monstrous and grouchy. Ness is naïve and, well, angelic. But that’s far too simplistic. Martinez gives us the backstory for each character, succinctly and in the right place, to help us understand how this unlikely crew ended up on the Brimstone in the middle of space. I did not plan on being touched by their stories, and yet I was. Not since Anne Rice’s Memnoch the Devil have I read such an interesting (if very minimal) treatise on the nature of heaven and hell.
Or, as in book 2, with frogs.
The cowboys don’t appear till “Fear of Frogs,” and I won’t even try to explain that. I confess I rolled my eyes at this turn of the plot, but then was swept up in the horny romance of it all.
These are not deep books. They are not even deep romances, although I am always a sucker for a tough guy realizing his own need to be loved, and being surprised by that need when it blindsides him. These are pure fun.
And, presumably, there will be a third in this Brimstone series. And I will read it.
I would like to thank Angel Martinez for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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