Wednesday, February 22, 2017

LOSTNESS by Billie Sue Mosiman

Reviewed by Anthony Servante

Angelique, the rogue fallen angel from BANISHED, made a mistake by taking over the dead body of a child. Locked on earth in this manner, she needed help and sent for Nisroc, her most trusted being in the void. He turned against her and in the end fled her presence. In LOSTNESS Angelique is back, hunting Nisroc, but there are complications. Three more angels align with him, along with a dwarf friend, a teen, and a woman who travels beyond her body to spy on Angelique's evil life. There will be a reckoning backed by a world war and it all hangs in the balance. She who must be defeated might have met her match [Amazon].

It is tempting for me to discuss "Lostness" as one of my examples of History and Horror, or even my Religion and Horror series, but let's try to tread the middle-ground. The sequel to "Angelique" and "Banished" is a tale of fallen angels, redemption, and the evils of mankind. Some background. There was a great war in Heaven, led by Lucifer and the angels who sided with him to dethrone God. God won. He condemned the rebel angels to Hell. Angelique has found a loophole for escaping eternal damnation: she possesses the body of a dead girl who is revived by a witch doctor. She walks Earth and seeks vengeance or retribution, depending on your view of her situation. She finds another dead body for Nisroc, another fallen angel, who on Earth can act as her father since she inhabits the body of that ten year old little girl, but possesses the brain of a eternal and immortal being. Nisroc, now known as "Nick", finds love, however, with a human and betrays Angelique. An epic battle ensues. Nick wins and believes he has vanquished his former co-conspirator, little realizing that she is not "dead" or as dead as an angel can be. 

Fastforward to the brink of World War Two. Nick and his friend, Jody, the "little person", are escaping the blitzkrieging Germans and picking up companions along the way, including another angel who is older than he, that is, alive longer on Earth than either he or Angelique have been on this soil. Meanwhile, Angelique has moved Southern California because it is too weird for her and picks up her own companion, Henry, in her move to the home of Voodoo and witchcraft. Naturally, Nick and Angelique are on a collision course. But Mosiman doesn't make the journey that simple. Mankind, at its most evil, in the form of the Nazi Spring to conquer the world, is also on a collision course with our heroes and villains. 

Which brings us to the conflicts and contradictions inherent in this series. Fallen angels are demons. They are not good; they are evil. Nick, in the human form of Caesar, experienced human cruelty and betrayal. So Nick is not all good. He is still basically a demon, but in the guise of the human Nick, he chooses to act good. His free will is still intact. He chose to betray God, but so, too, he chose to betray Angelique (as we saw in Banished). With the friendship he develops with the new angel companion, Monty, what will he choose now? That's the question the reader will ask, and it will be answered. Angelique, on the other hand, is still a demon and has no problem choosing evil and choosing companions who also choose evil (though she does have the power to manipulate their decisions). However, she knows what betrayal feels like, just as God experienced betrayal by her hand, and though God passed judgment on these rebels, Angelique's judgment is to choose vengeance on Nick. She is incapable or forgiveness, but her feelings for Nick are not evil. Her revenge stems from a broken heart, not an act of evil. Little does she realize she is becoming all too human, which the reader can parallel with the Nazi rise in power. These conflicts are not what they seem, and these new experiences for our heroes and villains are what drives the story along and keeps the reader guessing which evil will triumph--the evil of man or the evil of angels? Or the good of heroes and redeemers? 

As such, this is a story of second chances, War, with its capacity for destruction and heroism, and the corruption of angels inhabiting the fragile human forms. It is important to point out that the "little person" would be considered an abomination of nature by the Nazis, so Mosiman draws him as pure and sympathetic and brave, whereas the "perfect Aryan" person is the real abomination in this war to eradicate the imperfect humans from the Earth. Angelique's other companion, Henry, is a shapeshifter, a demonic being who is hideous in appearance but loyal to his young master, just as the Nazi youth are loyal to their insane fuehrer. Both Nick's and Angelique's companions are but reflections of the human evil spreading across Europe with intents to continue their domination over the rest of the continents. And let's not forget that in second chances one can find redemption. This is the true test for our two groups. What choices will be made?   

Billie Sue Mosiman crafts 
another great supernatural drama.

Billie Sue Mosiman has crafted a tense balance of history, religion, and horror. LOSTNESS is a perfect follow-up to "Banished". "Lostness", for this reviewer, is the superior read. Where "Banished" was epic in scope, especially that final battle, "Lostness" brings the drama down to the human level. The evil of the supernatural beings contrasts well with the good of the natural human spirit. This sequel is epic in its portrayal of the human heart and the hard choices it must make when evil threatens the good for which man fights. 

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