Oracle of Philadelphia (Earthbound Angels, #1) by Elizabeth Corrigan
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: March 20, 2013
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Carrie works at a diner in South Philadelphia, dispensing advice to humans and angels wise enough to seek her counsel. But there are some problems that even the best advice can’t solve. Her latest supplicant, Sebastian, is unique among those who have sought her aid. He sold his soul to a demon in exchange for his sister’s life, but his heart remains pure.
Carrie has lived for millennia with the knowledge that her immortality is due to the suffering of others, and she cannot bear to see another good man damned when it is within her power to prevent it.
In order to renegotiate his contract, Carrie must travel into the depths of hell and parley with the demons that control its pathways. As the cost of her journey rises, Carrie must determine how much she is willing to sacrifice to save one good soul.
Even though our main character Carrie is technically human, she's been made immortal and has gone all through history seeing different civilizations rise and fall. Throughout her time she's also met her fair share of angels and those fallen angels that are now put in the "demons" category. Some are more friendly than others, and she forms a lasting friendship with Bedlam the "demon" or "fallen angel" (depending on how you look at it) of chaos and Gabriel, who's still an angel of Heaven.
My favorite part of this book was seeing how the angels and fallen angels interacted with each other. It's easy to just dismiss them as angels and demons and be done with it, but things are more complicated than that. All of them used to be angels at one point together in heaven and they were friends and had relationships with one another. Whenever an angel and demon met in this book there was a bit of tension, and if Bedlam was involved, there were also some laughs as he acted as comic relief to the story (sometimes without even meaning to).
Each of the angels, as well as the fallen angels who we met during this book (which is the first in a series), has their own personality. Corrigan didn't go the easy route of making all the angels the good ones who the reader loves and the demons the apparent villains. Instead, she treated them as individuals with their own unique traits and quirks. Some angels even came off poorly and were often referred to as "self righteous angels" while Bedlam is fun and a good time to read.
Something else that was cool was hearing a sort of "behind the scenes" version of all the biblical stories that we all know (or at least think we do). The characters have been through it all, and reference some of the more popular stories that are well known, but also mention the parts they played in these events. To hear them tell it, things weren't always what they appeared, and things didn't always go as planned (thanks to Bedlam a lot of times).
The reader also gets a personal tour of hell when Carrie visits it a few times. This is another unique take on things. Instead of the fire and brimstone and demons poking at people with pitchforks, we get a different view. Each demon is in charge of his or her realm, which reveals itself to Carrie as different rooms in a gothic mansion (apparently that also changes depending on the person). I like when authors think of new ways to tell stories and describe places that we think we already know about. It shows a fun creativity and Corrigan impressed me with how thought out the world she built was.
This is really a book about characters. We see how they all interact with each other and even get flashbacks into Carrie's past to see how she met all of the angels and demons that she knows. Corrigan gets the reader invested in these characters' lives, and it helps keep the pages turning.
For anyone who loves a good story, some lore, and well thought out characters, this is a book you should check out.
Elizabeth Corrigan has degrees in English and psychology and has spent several years working as a data analyst in various branches of the healthcare industry. When she’s not hard at work on her next novel, Elizabeth enjoys singing, reading teen vampire novels, and making Sims of her characters.She drinks more Diet Coke than is probably optimal for the human body and is pathologically afraid of bees. She lives in Maryland with two cats and a purple Smart Car.