Pulling the Wings Off Angels by KJ Parker

My Five Word TL:DR Review: Read the review, it’s short


As a rule I don’t cut and paste the descriptions of books but as this is a short book I thought the GR blurb would probably be more succinct.  So here it is:

‘Long ago, a wealthy man stole an angel and hid her in a chapel, where she remains imprisoned to this day.

That’s the legend, anyway.

A clerical student who’s racked up gambling debts to a local gangster is given an ultimatum—deliver the angel his grandfather kidnapped, or forfeit various body parts in payment.

And so begins a whirlwind theological paradox—with the student at its center—in which the stakes are the necessity of God, the existence of destiny—and the nature of angels.’

So, the narrator here is the theology student who no longer believes in the existence of God.  Imagine then his surprise when he finds an angel locked inside his grandfather’s cellar.  The angel is unable to escape because her wings have been clipped and God is in no position to help her because the room she is being held in is protected and so she cannot be ‘seen’.  The student has gambling debts and is being threatened to either deliver an angel or lose body parts.  Having found that the angel exists both the student and his unfriendly loan shark go on to try and reach a deal with God.  What could possibly go wrong?

Now, this is a short story – and I will be honest in saying that, one, short stories are not usually my ‘thing’ and I don’t usually make such requests for that reason, two, I hadn’t realised this was a short story – so, mmm, awkward – and also very much DOH on my part!  That being said I enjoyed this, obviously it’s a very quick read, it’s thought provoking, it takes a look at religion and raises questions about topics such as inherited sin, repentance, etc, and it is both clever and witty.

The plot – basically, the plot is really just a driver for the overall discussion.  It’s entertaining and twisted and I guess you could just read it as a short story but really it’s a brain teaser.  Similarly, the world building is only very lightly drawn and this is because it’s not the focus for the piece either.

To be fair, there’s only so much I can really say about this without actually saying too much.  It was my first book by this author and although it demonstrates his style and humour I would like to backtrack to some of his other work to see if I favour them.  I certainly didn’t dislike this, it is very much a thinking piece and if you like the idea of a theological paradox all rolled up in a nutshell sized nugget then give this a try.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

My rating 3.5 of 5 stars

2 Responses to “Pulling the Wings Off Angels by KJ Parker”

  1. Tammy

    I was interested in this but never got a copy, so I’m glad you read it since I’ve been curious.

    • @lynnsbooks

      Yeah, it’s another of those books where I didn’t really look into it – which isn’t a problem as such but I certainly wasn’t expecting such a short story. That being said, it’s a very quick read and an interesting discussion so there is that.
      Lynn 😀

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