Codex Angelicus by the Quebecoise author Anne Robillard is the fifth entry in her A.N.G.E. series. This contains 10 books of which five are currently available in ebook format. For those of you unfamiliar with this series, A.N.G.E. stands for Agence Nationale de Gestion de l’Étrange (National Agency for the Management of the Bizarre) and refers to the top secret agency which investigates paranormal phenomena. We are introduced to the Agency in book 1 through new recruit Cindy Bloom. Cindy is only one of the many fascinating characters in the series. Sadly it is only available in French right now. I have read books 1-5 and here are my thoughts on the series up til now.
What I liked
Steady plot developments and twists. Throughout the series Robillard has built up the plot. We start off with Cindy being assigned to the False Prophets department under the tutelage of Oceane Chevalier – False Prophets is referred to as the new agents’ kindergarten as it’s normally a very safe and boring field where nothing much happens. Of course, what they learn there drives the whole plot for the rest of the series. Each subsequent book picks up on what has gone before and adds to it with new little twists.
Wonderful characters. As you will see from Robillard’s previous work The Knights of Emerald, writing strong, relatable characters is one of Robillard’s strengths as a writer. This is equally true in A.N.G.E. The reader becomes invested in Cindy, Oceane, Cedric, Yannick and Vincent.
Pacing. One of my complaints about The Knights of Emerald was the slower pacing – at times Robillard seemed to lose the thread of where she was going. That cannot be said about A.N.G.E. The story keeps moving along at a good clip each volume building on the previous. I really look forward to seeing where she Robillard goes with it.
What I didn’t like
Les relatable situations. One of the things I loved most about Knights was that these fantastical characters were placed in very human situations. While readers may not have fought supernatural beetles they can still relate to a character who, for example, has to deal with the fact that the woman he loves is in love with his best friend. This relatability is not so apparent in A.N.G.E. The situations faced by our characters are less something that a reader can relate to in his/her own life.
All in all I love Robillard’s writing and would recommend it. I gave Codex Angelicus four stars out of five.