In the post-apocalyptic paranormal thriller, Wormwood by D. H. Nevins, the Earth has been decimated by a legion of half-angels. But while most of these creatures are bent on sending all humans to their final resting place, one, Tiamat, is tormented by the tasks he is called upon to do. When he rescues a woman named Kali, both their lives change forever. Kept alive by the grace of Tiamat, Kali defies him by trying to save as many of the human survivors as she can. The attraction between them is irresistible, but can Kali trust one of the half-angels who has sworn to destroy her world and everyone in it? And can Tiamat justify helping one of the very people he is meant to kill? The more he tries to keep Kali safe, the more his own life is in danger. As Kali struggles to find a way to survive in the Earth’s vast, devastated landscape, she finds herself plagued by the half-angels hell bent on her destruction. Forced to trust Tiamat, the one being who could prove to be her greatest enemy, she walks a thin line between life and death.
Wormwood is a curious book. I enjoyed it a great deal, but a few unignorable flaws stopped it from being an A grade for me.
First things first, I really loved reading this one. You know those books that really drag you in? Where leaving the book before you’re ready leaves you confused and resenting the world? This is one of them.
Ok, so, we have Kali, who as a teen meets a strange man called Tiamat (I’d have considered that a clue, but I hang around with Goths.) who she gives some heartfelt advice. 10 years later, she’s hiking when the world falls apart… and she finds out later that Tiamat was at least partially to blame.
There’s a lot of mythology in this book from various traditions, and as a filthy heathen raised by atheist hippies, I have no idea how accurate or well portrayed it is. However I found it an interesting addition to a well-thought out world. Which leads me to another point.
Nevins has seriously considered the post-apocalyptic world. The descriptions of this ravaged world were some of the best moments of the book for me. Beautiful and shocking all at once.
As for the plot, it’s enjoyable and carries the reader along just fine. An awful lot of it relies on Tiamat not telling Kali anything, but I suppose when you’re dealing with half-angels who have ‘compulsions’ to act according to God’s Wishes, that’s to be expected. My only real issue was that I, personally, would have found it impossible to forgive Tiamat everything he does, no matter how attracted I was or how good his reasons. That’s probably why no gorgeous half angels are protecting me from apocalyptic events.
But- I said there were flaws, and there are. There is no such thing as a flawless book. While the writing is often excellent, it often feels distant, or relies on overly-complex sentences once too often. Occasionally the dialogue is forced and awkward, more there to info dump than to exist as natural speech. While these flaws were not overwhelming for me, they did occasionally drag me out of the book and remind me I was reading a story, which stops this book from hitting the coveted A grade.
If you like religious apocalypses with a heavy romantic element (and angels) this book is for you.