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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Fallen by Pia Veleno

Fallen by Pia Veleno
Publisher: Silver Publishing
Genre: Paranormal, Contemp., Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (110 pgs)
Other: M/M, anal sex
Rating: 3 cherries
Reviewed by Cactus

Man has free will, and guardian angels have an eternal place in the holy host.

When unexpected feelings interfere with Malchediel's guidance of a mortal being, he must decide if his love for one man is true, or the work of the devil. Charged with the soul of handsome but suicidal Bran Weller, Malchediel faces a new challenge: Bran's steadfast belief that homosexuality is not wrong despite the Church's view of his lifestyle.

In the course of his angelic duties, Mal is tempted to turn a blind eye to long-standing rules of guardianship as he falls in love with his charge. Torn between faith in God and belief that every man deserves love, Malchediel must find a way to balance heart and soul or risk a Fall to Hell.

Is a happy ending possible between a guardian angel and his charge? Mal is a guardian angel but he’s careful not to get too attached to his charges. Humans have free will and thus angels can only help guide and advise during the most trying times. When Mal suddenly develops feelings for Bran, the angel is faced with serious doubts. Mal wonders if his love is real and if so, what does that mean for his life and love for God?

Fallen takes a more intellectual approach to the common angel/human love story. Mal is a guardian angel sent to help Bran through a difficult time. Bran’s considering suicide, though the reasons aren’t given, and Mal tries to show Bran there is something worth living for. Bran offers a different philosophy than Mal has ever known and gives the angel a lot to think about. Much of the story is spent debating about whether homosexuality is a sin and whether God loves gay men. Bran takes the position that he can be spiritual and still be gay while Mal initially is shocked and appalled by this. Mal soon comes to realize he’s never thought about the question; just assumed that organized religion is speaking God’s word.

The religious debate takes up a good portion of the story and tries to offer the viewpoint that someone can be spiritual and still gay; that homosexuality is not a sin. The fact that a guardian angel, presumably with the most belief in God, never even thought about this question is a bit suspect. Mal feels too innocent, too na├»ve in a lot of the scenes. He’s new to the ways of humans and often blunders his way through things as well. He has a very formal way of speaking that makes for an awkward, somewhat difficult reading experience. This is meant to convey Mal’s thought process but tends to make for a disjointed story.

The romance between Bran and Mal is nice but I think the religious and intellectual debate overshadow the story. Combined with the writing style, this may not appeal to everyone. There are several sweet romantic elements and a definite happy ending – with miracles even – and the story does a really good job of offering a different, fresh take on the angel/human theme. I’m very curious to see what the author does next.

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