Author: Melora Johnson
Genre: Urban fantasy/Christian fantasy
Rating: Four stars
** I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review **
** Also, spoilers! **
“Ally Reynolds is a veterinarian specializing in raptor rehabilitation in New Hampshire. Other than one horrific incident in her childhood and a little extra “spark” for healing in her hands, both of which she has kept secret from even her best friend, her life has been singularly boring. It has also been extremely lonely. Ally longs for someone to share her life with, but how can she trust someone with her secret?
Matthew Blake, an ornithologist at Cornell University, calls Ally, asking for her help with an injured raptor. Matthew grew up in New Zealand and has lived around the world. He has read about Ally’s high success rates in raptor rehabilitation and suspects there is more to it than is generally known.
Matthew has some secrets of his own; he is a demon hunter. He suspects Ally’s healing powers could benefit him. He wants her to join him and thinks they’d make a great team.
Can Ally trust him or is he just using her? Matthew definitely has more secrets, and some of them are about her.”
* * *
How do I end up with all the angels and demons books? I don’t look for them, they just fall into my lap. Frequently.
Earthbound more or less actually did. Author Melora Johnson sent me a review copy and it looked right up my alley. This book looked different to all the other urban fantasies and angel-themed modern-day fantasies out there, with protagonist Ally a specialist in treating injured birds. What a fascinating occupation!
Ally has a quiet life and a best friend who is currently her only source of social interaction. Distant from her family and focused on her work, Ally wants to find her significant other, her soulmate. But her tendency to isolate herself is making that very difficult.
When Matthew Blake from Cornell University asks her to inspect an eagle that has been injured, she takes the job and deviates away from her structured norms. Not only does Ally find herself attracted to Matthew (much to his co-worker’s annoyance) but she feels she has been lured to the university under false pretences.
It doesn’t take long for Ally to discover that her role in this world is much more significant than she realised and that she is destined to become a demon hunter, as an angel in a human body. Only the advances of the demon Zyriel make her doubt her own path.
Earthbound is quite unique (so far) in that the angels and demons are not attributed to one religion but all of them. I loved this because it means that everyone’s got it right somewhere. It boils down to a fight between good and evil, regardless of religious views. (Brownie points also given for addressing homosexuality as not sinful).
Ally and Matthew have an instant chemistry and it isn’t forced, very natural. Ally really starts to come out of her shell as the puzzle pieces of her past finally fit into a bigger picture and she starts to come to terms with her own capabilities. Yet, she still maintains her character: withdrawn, self-conscious but with a strong sense of justice.
I’m interested to see where the love-triangle between Matthew, Zyriel and Ally will go because while it’s alluded to in Earthbound, something tells me this might develop into something more. Ally very much has an angel and a devil on her shoulder here and so far, the angel is winning out. But I’m hoping that she will question herself when she is faced with greater temptations in later books.
In Earthbound, demons crop up in the most unexpected places and Ally is forced to think on her feet to keep herself alive. It keeps the plot open to unexpected twists and sudden conflicts and that really kept me turning the pages of this book.
My only qualm with Earthbound is that the ending felt rushed. The climax happened so fast and it was resolved without very much effort on Ally or Matthew’s part. Plus, Ally is on trial for vehicular manslaughter and the judge just straight-up accepts that the prosecutor was a demon. His whole understanding of the world and how it works is flipped on his head and in less than two minutes he’s on board without any questions whatsoever. It made the ending a bit anti-climactic.
All in all though, a good read and solid characters who I would like to read more about.
Thanks for reading!