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book review

Book Review: Vengeance

VENGEANCE (Heaven Sent Book 3) by J.L. Rothstein is an energetic, entertaining vampire apocalypse. Check out what Tucker Lieberman has to say in his book review of this indie fantasy novel.

Book Review: Vengeance

Reviewed by Tucker Lieberman

The demon-battling O’Mara siblings are still here and ready to slay vampires.

Vengeance is the final book in JL Rothstein’s Heaven Sent trilogy. If you’ve been following from the beginning, you know that the nine O’Mara siblings are Guardians who, under the guise of working for the Catholic Church in Boston, battle demons—and rarely meet one who can best them. Vengeance has a different twist on this theme, and it’s both an exciting new chapter and a fitting close to this series.

An apparent “vampiric virus” spreads, turning people undead. The media calls it that, but    it’s not really a virus. It’s spread by bites, and vampires are “pulling demons from hell to increase the speed and force of the spread.” The world goes into lockdown. Though it’s not easy to kill a vampire and saving the world is a tall order, the O’Mara siblings were born to fight. If anyone can stab a vampire in the brain, it’s this family. And they might be able to resolve the vampire affliction permanently, as they have privileged knowledge. They know that Hell is ruled by seven gods of darkness, each guarding a separate realm and holding its own hellcrux, which is “a weapon, but also a key, a way to get out.”

It’s also a story about relationships. The O’Maras have strong kinship bonds with each other, and they feel passionately about their great loves. From the first book, Gen has grieved her husband Gabriel, gone for decades. Deb’s in love with Marcus, but he’s been dragged off to a torture chamber. Lacey and Michael act sweet on each other. Kelly’s thinking about Jared and is upset that Antonio deleted her memories. The family members sometimes keep secrets from each other, but usually they’re willing to help each other resolve their problems.

What readers will really like, though, are the vampires. The demons, too. If a vampire bites you, you might begin your transformation by convulsing, and if you surrender to your new vampiric hunger by drinking blood, “you will either fully transform or die in the process,” as one of the O’Maras warns. A vampire has eyes that can bleed “demonic liquid” and that have a second, inner iris around the pupil that are “a screaming blood thirsty red.” One might assume the Church would have extra tools, like holy water and prayer, to help defeat these monsters. One shouldn’t forget to ask: Who’s protecting the Pope?

One of this trilogy’s consistent strengths is its description of physical surroundings, done in a way that’s elegant but direct. We watch a fallen angel’s “wings burst forth from her back, their once beautiful wine color transformed into a midnight black.” Meanwhile, a stylish yet practical O’Mara might be seen in a “raincoat [that] bulged on the side, the glimmer of a weapon peeking out through the opening,” then toweling off after a vanilla-scented shower, checking her wounds, while another makes her way through a building where “the walls of the stairwell were covered in crude depictions of torture.”

Readers who have enjoyed this series for the first and second novels should stick around to wrap up with this third book. Not only does it address lingering questions about the O’Mara’s relationships, but it introduces new hell-beings and sets a grand stage for a final battle between good and evil. Vengeance is an energetic, entertaining vampire apocalypse.

Genre: Fantasy / Supernatural Thriller

Print Length: 412 pages

ISBN: 978-1736839652

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