In the timeless battle between Heaven and Hell, humanity stands unaware of the forces, Heavenly, Hellish, and (supposedly) neutral, that fight for our souls. In J.L. Rothstein’s Atonement: Heaven Sent, Guardians are some of the beings sent by Heaven to save humanity from demons and their ilk. Not Angels, as often believed, Guardians still watch over humans and are often charged with individuals to look over them and keep them safe. The O’Mara family has been around for centuries, working as a team to ensure Hellions, Hell Fighters, demons, and more don’t gain a foothold on earth, overstepping their bounds in the ancient Accord with Heaven.
The journey of the O’Maras, and in specific, Genevieve “Gen” O’Mara, begins decades before the story opens when her husband, Gabriel, vanishes from the earth without a trace. Having never gotten over his departure, she harbors anger and resentment that drives her to rash action and brings down calamity upon herself and her family. Her impetuous nature will lead to a greater conflict between Heaven and Hell than they have ever experienced, and the family must fight every minute to stay together and alive. Angels, Arch Angels, Demons, and more will join the fray, turning the tides one way or the other.
Rothstein does an incredible job pacing this story to keep you drawn in and excited. She provides the reader with just enough detail to keep you guessing about what has happened and what will happen next. I couldn’t put the book down, desperate to learn more about the characters as people and the different kinds of beings that live unseen amongst the humans. A fantasy/supernatural writer’s success lies in their ability to create a world and make it feel real. Rothstein’s beings are well thought out and easy to envision, with so many different kinds of creatures to learn about. The tensions between the divine beings and the evil ones is paralleled only by the strain put upon the neutral beings as they try to bot choose a side. Fans of Supernatural or Buffy will get a kick out of this book because, in addition to a fantastical supernatural setting, the characters are real and flawed in a way that makes them all too relatable. Relationships, familial, platonic, and romantic, are woven through the story, keeping both the characters and the reader grounded in the humanness of these supernatural beings, and you will finish desperate for more!
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