In the reconstructed North America, the governing power, The Quorum of Zeus, rules over the human and Angel population of Olympus. The Low Technology Zone (LTZ), on the outskirts of Olympus, exist in a mostly symbiotic relationship with The Quorum. Although tensions grow as Dissident fighters from the LTZ target Olympus with increasing lethal tactics. Evangeline Evans, a TRTV pilot for Olympus is caught in the middle of a secret war, a deadly disease, and disturbing revelations about her missing parents.
With the Angels, an alien species that brought technology and desire to serve to Olympus, seem to be the only ones immune to the disease and war surrounding them. Evangeline and her husband, Jack, unknowingly put their lives in danger as they follow a dangerous string of clues that link her parents’ disappearance to the Dissidents and the lethal disease. Throughout The Angel’s Secret Evangeline and Jack face danger from all sides and make discoveries that could impact all of Olympus and the LTZ.
The world Adam creates, both Olympus and the LTZ, are rich with details and functions that makes this world believable and engaging. With the Angels taking care of most of the menial and physically difficult jobs in Olympus, there is a higher need for recreation and entertainment, which is clearly shown. The LTZ and Olympus, the humans and Angels exist is such a cooperative and functional way so that the reader will truly believe this world could exist. Even though it is set in the distance future, the setting and story is not weighed down by overly contrived or confusing futuristic technology or lingo.
The conflict and overall interest of the novel comes mainly from oddities about the social and political structures of Olympus such as, the Angels themselves, secret government agencies, and an unknown number of people vying for more power. That, combined with the initial mystery surrounding her parents’ disappearance, propels most of the story forward. The circumstance of Evangeline and Jack’s world is arguable more interesting than the characters themselves. This is not necessarily an issue, because Adams created such an interesting world it is able to carry the weight of the story. In addition to that, he continuously adds new conflicts or escalates existing ones very well, which makes the story dynamic and interesting.
The story follows several different characters, although Evangeline and Jack are two main protagonists. While they do have interesting and distinct characteristics, they become a little flat as the story progresses. Evangeline is still hoping to discover that her parents are still alive, and she is unquestionably devoted to her husband. Those two attributes are hammered home a few too many times and her whole personality seems to rest on them. Jack has similar characteristics. He is devoted to Evangeline just as much as she is to him, and he has an advanced aptitude for designing artificial intelligence. Again, these two characteristics sort of carry his whole personality. However, this doesn’t affect the book as much as it could, because the story is layered with other characters’ perspectives and accompanying conflicts in their story lines. I would have liked to see Evangeline and Jack interacting more directly with some of the other characters and conflicts which could have fleshed out their characters a little more. The main protagonists felt like they were only interacting with half of the story. The other, secondary and antagonist characters, such as Campbell, Reynolds’s, and Graham could have been developed more as well. While their personalities were interesting and contrasted with those of Evangeline and Jack, they still come off as a little flat. Normally, that would be alright for an antagonist part of covert government agencies. However, it is hinted at that there is a power struggle and each one is motivated more than what we are shown. Stronger characterization would have made the readers more engaged with characters and not just circumstance of the world around them.
Adams uses shorter chapters throughout his book, which is a growing trend in contemporary literature, although less common in sci-fi or adventure novels. He utilizes the smaller chapters exceptionally well. Not even the shortest chapter is superfluous. Almost every chapter, no matter how small, included important information that carried the story forward. The only exception to this is towards the end of the book where a few chapters are placed to fill in part of the mystery from the beginning of the book. But at that point, more interesting and compelling plots were in motion and those chapters slowed the story down. Too many novels justify adding unnecessary sections with little value because they exist as a small chapter. Another common issue that novels with short chapters often face, that Adams skillfully avoided, is rationalizing dropping details because their chapters are short. Each chapter in The Angels’ Secret captures the intensity of that world.
The Angel’s Secret came to an exciting and satisfying conclusion that tied up many plot lines but still left several open for the sequel. I am excited to see what Nicholas Adams does with the rest of the series.