In “Second Son,” Ellison Blackburn continues the story of Dr. Mallory Jacks, the archaeologist who stumbled upon…what? The skeleton of an angel?–in the first book. The action in “Second Son” overlaps with the action in the preceding book, picking up at the death of Grey, possible angel and Mallory’s lover, whose loss caused her to plunge into a deep depression. Now we discover that Grey does indeed have angelic roots; “Second Son” follows him as he accepts his birthright, becomes a guardian angel, and returns to earth, once again in incarnated form.
The plot of “Second Son” is highly reminiscent of many a paranormal romance: Grey and Mallory are still in love, but forbidden by his divine duties to consummate their relationship. Meanwhile, Mallory has other suitors, and she must choose between a non-physical love for her no-longer-human lover, or the possibility of a normal, including physical, relationship with an ordinary (but devoted) human lover. However, the focus of the book is less on the romance–although that is present–and more on the intellectual, psychological, and theological issues the characters are wrestling with. Like Blackburn’s other books that I’ve read, “Second Son” is scifi/fantasy, but it’s very intellectual scifi/fantasy, with lots of consideration given to the technological, moral, and psychological issues that the characters face. Furthermore, although Grey is the main character in this book, Mallory and her friends and colleagues once again feature as educated, professional women who are complex, thoughtful characters rather than cliches. Readers looking for a light piece of fantasy or paranormal romance will probably be overwhelmed, but, as with the first book in the series, readers looking for something that will give them thoughts and ideas to chew over will probably find a lot to enjoy here.
My thanks to the author for providing a review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
Buy link: Amazon