I’m a fan of Cari Z and loved these two characters during their cameo in the Cambion series (which I highly recommend). The author pointed out to me that Emiel and Renat had their own story and I beat feet to get a hold of it. It was available as a free download on Storm Moon Press’ website and I’ve read it twice so far. It has all the hallmarks of an epic romance but surprisingly compact within a short story. It could easily have been expanded to a full novel but perhaps that would have been too much drama and angst. Instead it fits wonderfully as a shorter length and is a great tale, both on its own and as a companion to the Cambion stories.
Renat and Emiel are both archangels of Heaven during the time of the great war. Lucifer is cast out of Heaven and Renat seizes that chance to declare his love for Emiel. Since angels aren’t supposed to love, doing so casts Renat out of Heaven. Since Emiel rebuffed Renat’s advances, Emiel gets to stay in God’s good graces. However, as the years, millennia, eons (?) have past, the two have never forgotten each other. Yet it’s still a shock when Renat finds Emiel at the gates of Hell being tortured by another fallen angel turned demon.
To start with I loved the drama infused within the story. The tension was present from the beginning and never let go. With the shorter length, that kind of prolonged tension never felt draining or overwhelming but instead exciting and riveting. The world building has to be sacrificed for length and relationship building but the familiar trope helps here. The author also has a knack for conveying detail without seeming to. I was engaged in the action and drama from the beginning and never felt left out or wanting.
The angel/demon doomed love story is a fun one and used here to great effect. Renat is the narrator so he is the one we get to know while Emiel is much more mysterious, although that seems intentional. The characters are not fully explored as such is extremely hard to do within just a few pages, but there is enough that the men feel real and not caricatures. Similarly, the religious themes are certainly there but not overwhelming. They’re an inherent part of the story but not used to push any agenda.
Once again it’s the writing and sense of emotion that draws me to this author. The language and prose is excellent, with a clarity that really speaks to me. It’s sparse without unneeded embellishment, yet conveys a range of emotion. There’s drama, need, love, despair, hope, and redemption. I especially liked the touch at the end with Lucifer and Michael. Emiel and Renat are easily two of my favorite characters from this author and I hope she writes more about them.