Well, I was still in the mood for the horror genre. So, I thought that I’d take a look Robert Brockway’s 2017 novel “Kill All Angels”, which is the third book in his “Unnoticeables” trilogy (you can see my reviews of the first two here and here).
Although I’d wanted to read this book for a few months, it’s probably the most expensive of the trilogy to find second-hand, so I had to wait until shortly after Christmas last year (and, yes, I write these reviews quite far in advance) before splashing out on a copy of it.
As you might expect with the concluding part of a trilogy, you have to read the first two books before reading this one. Although “Kill All Angels” contains a few small recaps, they’re more for people who have read the previous two books than for new readers. Whilst it is probably theoretically possible to read this book on it’s own, some parts will probably be confusing and many character-based moments won’t have nearly the impact that they should. So, read the other two books first.
Anyway, let’s take a look at “Kill All Angels”. Needless to say, this review may contain some SPOILERS.
The novel begins in 1984, with our favourite homeless punk Carey hiding inside a large meat freezer with a terrified guy. Carey gives the guy a brief overview of the monsters (unnoticeables, empty ones and angels) that are secretly terrorising the world before convincing him to go outside and distract Jie, an “empty one”, who is waiting outside the freezer. Carey tells the guy that Jie is only interested in him and that she won’t harm anyone else. Of course, Jie tears the guy’s heart out and throws it at Carey. But, she misses and he leaps through a window and flees.
We then flash forwards to 2013. After the events of the previous novel, Carey, Jackie and Kaitlyn are travelling through the Arizona desert. When they stop, Kaitlyn wanders off and tries to meditate. To her surprise, it works and thanks to the power from the angels she’s defeated, she quite literally steps into a realm beyond time and space. During this experience, she meets a mystical being that she calls a space whale. The space whale shows her that the angels are a parasite that feeds on the multi-verse and tells her how to destroy them all…
One of the first things that I will say about this novel is that it gets the mixture of horror and thrilling drama right. Although it is slightly more of an epic thriller about an unlikely group of people trying to save the multi-verse, there’s actually a decent amount of horror here this time round (unlike the second book, which skimped on the horror a little). Not only that, it is a brilliant conclusion to an awesome trilogy that also introduces a few cool new things too.
In terms of the novel’s horror elements, they’re a really good mixture of gory horror, body horror, character-based horror, the uncanny, cruel horror, monster horror, cosmic horror and a couple of creepily atmospheric locations. Although this novel isn’t outright scary, there are a decent number of disturbing moments that will probably make you grimace or wince slightly. Not only that, the horror elements also help to add suspense, intensity, scale and drama to the story’s thriller elements too 🙂
And, yes, this novel is a really good thriller too. In addition to the grand “save the multi-verse” plot, there are a good mixture of dramatic chase scenes, fight scenes and scenes where the main characters find themselves outnumbered by monsters. Not only that, after the previous few novels, Kaitlyn now has a number of fascinating supernatural powers that she is starting to learn how to use. Add to this a rather fast-paced writing style and a few alternating plot threads, and this novel is the kind of gripping – but wonderfully quirky – thriller story that you would expect from this series 🙂
And, as you’d expect from a novel in this series, there’s also a decent amount of comedy too. This mostly consists of irreverent humour, crude humour, funny dialogue, dark comedy, grisly slapstick and even a few moment of mildly politically incorrect humour too. Although this novel isn’t always as laugh out loud funny as you might expect (and actually has some fairly serious moments), this comedy really helps to add warmth, uniqueness and personality to the story 🙂
Plus, this novel also has it’s own unique “personality” when compared to the previous novels too. In addition to lots of scenes set in 1980s Chinatown/Koreatown in Los Angeles, the story also introduces a “friendly” empty one called Zang who helps out the main characters. Plus, the scenes involving the space whale and Kaitlyn’s new powers help to keep things unpredictable. However, for the most part, this story focuses on the monsters that we’ve all come to know from the previous two books. But, since the reader already knows about them, the story’s scenes of horror and drama can be a bit more confident, epic and streamlined 🙂
In terms of the novel’s characters, they are brilliant as ever. Not only do all of the main characters feel like realistic – but stylised – people with proper backstories, but we also get to learn more about our favourite main characters too. Zang is an absolutely brilliant character too – since he retains all of the scariness of his fellow empty ones whilst also being strangely likeable at the same time. Seriously, the characters are one of the things that really makes this novel such a joy to read 🙂
As for the writing, it is as good as ever too. Although, like with previous books in the trilogy, this one uses both frequent time jumps and the dreaded multiple first-person narrators, the time and narrator are clearly signposted at the beginning of each chapter which prevents it from becoming confusing. Not only that, the ending to the novel also sort of offers a possible explanation for why the trilogy uses this format. The actual narration itself is the kind of fast-paced, personality-filled informal narration that you’d expect from this series and it is an absolute joy to behold.
In terms of length and pacing, this novel excels too 🙂 At a fairly efficient 313 pages in length, it never really feels like a page is wasted. Likewise, thanks to the multiple plot threads, the writing style, the epic scale of the drama and a good number of mini-cliffhangers, this novel is the kind of gripping fast-paced horror thriller that begs to be binge-read 🙂
All in all, this is a really great conclusion to a brilliant trilogy 🙂 It gets the mixture of horror and thriller stuff right, it adds something extra to the series and it is the kind of spectacular, dramatic payoff that fans of the trilogy have been waiting for 🙂
If I had to give it a rating out of five, it might just get a five.