Rise of the Dark Angel by Carol Brearley

rise_of_the_dark_angel_iconA few years back, a series of books made an international splash.  The central thread of the trilogy was a young woman who was mistreated and abused in a horrific fashion.  And throughout the three book series, the central character ultimately had her revenge.  That series was ultimately known as the Millennium Trilogy and was written by Stieg Larsson.  Many know the series better by the title of the first book, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  It was an international smash hit and, at its core, it dealt with a woman who had been horribly wronged.

Fans of the Millennium Trilogy are likely to appreciate the visceral drama at the heart of Rise of the Dark Angel.  Only where Stieg Larsson literally spent hundreds of pages slowly spinning his tale and taking lengthy side trips, Carol Brearley tells a tale that is much more on point while equally gritty and engaging.  It’s the story of Aingeal, a young woman living in New York City.  The story opens strong and hits the reader hard as we experience how Aingeal is wronged first hand, through her eyes.

In many ways, this is one of the things that makes this story so powerful.  It’s told in the first person.  The reader experiences everything through the character’s eyes.  The fear, the pain, the need to heal, and ultimately the thirst for revenge.  The author, Carol Brearley, puts the reader there, front row for the roller coaster ride that is both Aingeal’s pain and her road to recovery.

While I liken the tale to Larsson’s Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the parallels I see are strictly in theme and tone.  Rise of the Dark Angel is a story absolutely unique.  It stands entirely on its own.  It’s dark, it’s gritty, and it’s about the horrible experience of a character and how that twist of fate ultimately threatens to crush her.  How she chooses to deal with what has happened will either lead to her future or her end.

What Larsson did at the slow pace of a writer planning something of epic scale, Brearley has accomplished at the much more gratifying pace of a thriller author.  The story moves quickly and the plot charges forward, constantly focused on character and her circumstances.  And since this is only book one of the trilogy, it absolutely leaves the reader wanting more…

You can follow Carol Brearley on Facebook as well as on GoodReads.com.  You can find Rise of the Dark Angel on Amazon.com, and book #2 in the series, Dark Wings Spread was just released over the weekend!

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