Review: Haze by Paula Weston (AWW Challenge #9)

haze-coverI read Shadow, the first of Paula Weston’s Rephaim series, last year, and was pleased to find a book about angels that was robust, fast-paced and full of action. The second in the series, Haze, is now out and continues to pack a lot of punch into the few days over which the story takes place.

Gaby, who once thought she was pretty ordinary though mired in grief for the twin brother she’d lost in the car accident that left her scarred and with terrible nightmares. Now she knows, however, that most of her memories are false, that her brother Jude may not be dead after all and that he and she are both Rephaim: wingless human-angel hybrids, descended from fallen angels.

That is of course the least of it, because there are demons and hell-hounds hunting her, and some of her former friends aren’t so friendly. Gaby’s already been tortured by her former allies for information she doesn’t remember. It seems that she and Jude were up to something, and perhaps knew where to find the missing Fallen.

Gaby may also be falling in love with Rafa, another Rephaim, who was Jude’s best friend and is trying to both protect and teach her – when they’re not fighting, at any rate. Gaby and Rafa appear to have a complex past, but she can’t remember what it was. She can’t remember most of her clearly extremely complex past with the other Rephaim either; and she’s not at all sure she wants to remember the person she used to be. That person, Gabe, appears to have made some questionable choices.

The story of Gaby’s past and the conflict between the two camps of Rephaim (those at the Sanctuary and the split away group known as the Outsiders) gets more complicated with the introduction of a group of women in Ohio, who seem to be tracking the Rephaim. Add in the group of roughs in Gaby’s home at Pandanus Beach in Queensland, who think the Demons they’ve encountered are part of some government conspiracy, and you have at least four sources of conflict – and that’s before you count the internal conflicts, suspicions and just plain levels of dislike of each group.

It’s a lot to juggle, and Weston does a pretty good job of keeping the multiple threads of the back story and the warring camps clear and concise. (I still feel a bit of a flow chart or map would help sometimes…) It also gets a little frustrating that Gaby constantly laments how much she doesn’t know, because we don’t know it either. Some chapters my teeth hurt from clenching them with frustration and how little progress there is on that score.

For all that, Haze offers action and sexual tension aplenty, and although plot progress doesn’t always come fast enough for my impatient liking, yet there is progress. Some of it brings more questions, but enough brings answers, and of course not long after one major issue is resolved, another bounds in, teeth bared, swords unsheathed, to take its place.

My impatience will have to curb itself for another long while, I guess, before the third book in the series comes out to let me know what on earth (or in heaven, or hell) comes next!