Plague of Angels Paperback – Nov 1 1994
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From Publishers Weekly
Tepper ( Sideshow ) cleverly adopts elements of both fantasy and science fiction in this portrait of a world on the verge of chaos. Looking to space for a better world, most of Artemesia's inhabitants have deserted their land for the stars, leaving behind crumbling gang-infested cities, fortified suburbs protected by dwindling technology and a half-wild, half-rural land where renascent mythical beasts and fairy tale "archetypes" now live. There Abasio, a farmboy who is being pursued by vengeful gang members, meets Orphan, who is herself being pursued by the minions of Witch. Witch is convinced that in accordance with a delphic prophecy, Orphan can provide the "guidance system" for her space shuttle and thus allow her to settle the moon. Abasio, Orphan and their few allies are called to fulfill their destiny and defend the battered Earth from Witch's mad scheme for world domination. If the fantasy and SF elements don't always merge seamlessly, the setting is well-realized and Witch's psychosis is lurid and frightening. Tepper's prose is colorful and, while occasionally strident, tempered with wry wit and astute observations about human nature.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From School Library Journal
YA-A thought-provoking story with lots of action. "Orphan" has a destiny, as does Abasio Cermit. Somehow, these two destinies are intertwined. Abasio leaves his farm for the gang-filled, drug-infested city of a far-off future. Orphan leaves home also. The story of how these two come together to save a crime-ridden, overpopulated, plague-filled world is the basis of Tepper's novel. It is a mixture of myth, science fiction, and apocalyptic prophecy. A Plague of Angels has the same themes as those found in Tepper's previous novels, but it is a little easier to understand. The ending is not very effective (a series of deus ex machinas come in and, with the help of Orphan and Abasio and numerous other human and mythical characters, save humanity from itself), but the story is well worth reading.
Susan McFaden, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
If you have read and liked other Tepper novels, then you'll enjoy this. On the surface it's very much to the Tepper formula - a strange and disturbing future resulting from modern society's monumental mistakes. But it's just a bit odd. The characterisations are deliberately starker and the plot takes a while to get going. 4 stars because I like it, but wouldn't necessarily recommend it to everyone.
The book started off incredibly slow. The first 80 or so pages are mainly background information, and could have easily been worked in elsewhere in the novel.
Sheri S. Tepper went into incredible detail on things that weren't very important to the story, but left it mainly to the reader's imagination on the bigger elements. Such as Orphan's guardian angel. You can surmise fairly early on what it is, but you don't actually find out what it looks like until at least midway through the book.
The whole book is done in past tense, however, for whatever reason, Sheri S. Tepper decided to switch to present tense for the last chapter. This made absolutely no sense to me. It would have worked had she started off the novel in present tense, then went through the middle of the book like a flashback, finally switching back to present tense at the end. Since this didn't happen, the present tense at the end of the novel had a really jarring effect on me.
I could go on about the other problems I had while reading this book, but suffice it to say, it's pretty bad when you keep reading a novel in the hopes that it gets better to only be disappointed at the end that it didn't. My only real regret is that I purchased this novel new at bookstore. Had I bought it used, it wouldn't seem like such a waste of money.
All in all, the book had the potential to be an awesome mix of sci-fi and fantasy. It's just sad that it didn't happen that way.
In the early '80s, I read two books by James Kahn, "World Enough and Time", and "Time's Dark Laughter". These works similarly follow a post-technological world moving back into the realm of myth and legend, but do so far more effectively. It is possible that the main difference is that my standards have changed over the last 20 years, but I sincerely believe that those earlier works were far better developed than "A Plague of Angels." If you are familiar with Kahn's work, you may be disappointed by this book, but still, it is an enjoyable read.
Try some LeGuin in either her cultural or political mode, Emma Bull's wonderful War for the Oaks, or even the recent Lisle/ Bradley "Rift" books as antidotes to this stuff. Or go to the Salon e-zine to see David Brin's thoughtful rant about similar issues in the Phantom Menace. Good sf/fantasy is not incompatible with democracy!
The beginning was tedious for me. I don't like reading about gang members who live in putrescent urban conditions and speak like retards. I also don't like futuristic novels where everything has gone wrong and gloomy. Moreover, the character development was not too good, at least at the start.
Fortunately, the whole book was not like that. While things started out being fairly confusing, they started hanging together better as I went along. I kind of had to force myself to stick with it, mostly because I liked her other books, but I was glad by the time I finished. The ending, which I won't reveal, was extremely creative and transformative.
Most recent customer reviews
I love Teppers incredible imagination and enjoy her thoughts,up use of language, often old world's seldom used anymore. Her homemade words are delightful. Read morePublished on Nov. 8 2013 by Christine Brandon
I don't give out 5-star ratings very often. I believe that such works as Hamlet, The Lord of the Rings, and Frankenstein are comparable 5's. Read morePublished on Feb. 12 2004
Started off slow and wasn't sure I was going to like it, but then it just got better snd better. I thought Gate to Womens Country was the best. but this is right up there.Published on Nov. 4 2003 by dandysmom
I read this a while ago, and was thoroughly unimpressed. The plot is disjointed, the characterization nonexistent, the prose style clunky, and the book's attitude on gender... Read morePublished on Feb. 22 2003
I very much enjoyed the first half of this book, that is, I loved learning about the world that Tepper created and was thrilled to know about the different characters and their... Read morePublished on Dec 30 2001 by ex nihilo
This book is the most successful combination of sci-fi and fatasy elements that I have ever read. Agian Tepper manages to weave a mystical tale that is thought provoking, as well... Read morePublished on Jan. 18 2001 by Dixon Whitley
With every Sheri S. Tepper book I read, I wonder "why didn't I read this before?!". Her imagination, skilful writing and her social and environmental engagement in her... Read morePublished on Aug. 27 2000 by Arjen