Book Review: Tread of Angels by Rebecca Roanhorse

In the mining town of Goetia, the world is divided between The Fallen, descendants of demonkind, and The Virtues, the winners in an ancient war. Celeste and Mariel are two Fallen sisters, bound by blood but raised in separate worlds.

Celeste grew up with their father, passing in privileged society, while Mariel stayed with their mother in Goetia’s slums. Celeste is wracked by guilt for leaving her sister behind, and when their father dies, she becomes Mariel’s fiercest protector. But their lives are upended when Mariel is arrested for the murder of a Virtue.

Determined to save her sister and prove her innocence, Celeste turns to her ex-lover, a former general in the armies of Hell, for help. Soon Celeste is making her own deals with devils and angels alike to prove her sister’s innocence. However the journey to discover the truth threatens to become more than Celeste ever bargained for.

This novella has sat on my TBR pile for far longer than it should have done! I finally got round to picking it up and was instantly transported into a story that gripped me from start to finish.

Roanhorse’s skill as a writer is really on show here – despite this being a novella and therefore by its nature shorter than a full novel the world building is incredibly rich and the characters fully formed. The world feels real, the warmth, depth and impact of the social structure seep from the pages drawing the reader in.

The social class system split between Virtues and Fallen with the Fallen seen as a lower class of citizen was really interesting and immediately introduced tensions into the world that our protagonist Celeste (of half Virtue and half Fallen parentage) would need to work around.

Celeste was a super interesting character, she felt very ‘real’ in a way that not all characters do. She was a person trying to do her best, sometimes getting it right, sometimes not. She was likeable, frustrating, eyebrow raising, amazing and fallible all at once – in short she was a person.

I will say that this story took me in a very unexpected direction – we didn’t end up where I thought we would at all and it was an emotional journey.

An excellently crafted book that re-inforced how much I enjoy Roanhorse’s writing.

With thanks to Solaris Books and Netgalley for a copy in exchange for honest review.

Tread of Angels is out now