Daughters of Men
By J. Martain
Published in 2019
Lila has seen angels her entire life. Not nephilim or cupid-type angels, but little sparks of energy that surround herself and others. Since no one else can see them, Lila’s used to being an oddball and prefers to be a loner. Life is simpler with just her and her 13-year-old daughter, Eileen. But her match-making boss has other plans and sets her up on a blind date with Sal Stone, the spitting image of an Olympian but possessing zero social skills. Oddly, he’s also the same man she’s run into twice in the last week. Also at the party is Adam and his pregnant wife, Cara. The energy surrounding Cara’s unborn child is more like black matter than angels, something Lila’s never encountered before. While Lila is trying to figure out what this means, Cara has a meltdown and insists she shouldn’t even be pregnant. To make the night even more awkward, Lila finds herself and her angels drawn to Adam.
In the days and weeks that follow, as Lila grows closer to Sal, Adam, and Cara, her persistent nightmares grow worse and Cara’s pregnancy grows more bizarre. It becomes evident that Sal knows the answers to what’s happening, but it’s a truth either he’s unwilling or unable to tell.
This was a difficult summary to write without dropping in any spoilers, hence why it’s rather short.
The tagline on the book initially caught my interest. It’s one of the better ones I’ve seen and promises lots of intrigue under the cover: Forces stronger than hurricanes are at work in the Cape Fear. I was happy to discover that this book lived up to the tag line’s promise of a high level of bizarre happenings. From the get go, something is obviously “off” about both Lila and Sal, who are the only point of view characters. Lila is quirky, solitary, and a devoted mom. And her voice! Oh my goodness, voice for days. Her voice drew me into the book immediately. Coupled with a really deep first person point of view, I would have kept reading even if Sal’s point of view had stunk. But, it didn’t. They are so different from each other – you feel like an intimate of Lila’s but Sal has no emotions. The first thing that struck me about Sal was “this guy isn’t human.” I had no idea what he was for a large part of the book, but he was definitely not human. That’s okay, he intrigued me and it definitely kept me turning pages.
While his novel had a fabulous voice and a great premise going for it, I got lost in places in places. The author seems to be purposefully cryptic and the reader has to follow Lila’s thought process to figure out what was going on. Sometimes I couldn’t follow that thought process and had to trust that what was happening would be revealed. The revelation always came, but instead of having a satisfying “ah-ha!” moment, it was more of a relieved “okay, there it is” moment.
My one one complaint was that it ended abruptly without a full arc or resolution for Lila or, well, anyone. I’m fine with ending on a set-up for a sequel, but this felt like one very long book that was chopped in half. The sequel has just come out so I can continue the story, but it left me with the same feeling I got at the end of Season 1 of Discovery of Witches – too many dangling loose ends. If either the sequel (which is titled Like Moonlight on Water) or the second season of DoW weren’t available immediately, I probably would have been miffed. So while I loved the story, I was left somewhat dissatisfied. Of course, I’ll read the second in this series as quickly as my TBR pile allows, but I would have preferred more closure in this book.
To cover my disclosures, this was an ARC copy that I reviewed for free.
Overall, this was a great debut novel, and I rated it four stars.
Until next time, thanks for visiting.
My rating system:
5 stars – Wow, I could not stop thinking about this book and/or I wish I’d writtn it.
4 stars – This was an awesome novel, I’d recommend it to friends.
3 stars – This was a good novel, I will look for more by this author.
2 stars – An okay novel, but I probably won’t look for anything else by the author.
To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme.Herman Melville