Envy of Angels
Written by Matt Wallace
Published by Tor
What would you do for your dream job?  Two struggling line chefs are forced to grapple with that question when they are hired by Sin Du Jour, a very exclusive catering company with a most unusual clientele.
Sin Du Jour caters for demons.  And goblins, and a host of other supernatural creatures that the rest of the world thinks are myths.  But when Sin Du Jour is contracted to serve a post-treaty signing banquet for warring demon tribes, the menu might be more than they can stomach.
Filled with quirky characters, shocking twists, and clever high concepts, Matt Wallace’s Envy of Angels is a delightfully weird novella.  He has a wonderful talent of pulling out a new reveal just when you think the story has gone as far as it can.  It’s not an adventure so much as it is a magic show.  You keep turning the page less to see if the heroes will make it than to see what kind of three-headed fire-breathing rabbit Wallace will pull out of his hat next.
He mixes this with an ability to draw out sympathy for his characters in remarkably efficient language.  He can make you hate a character and then deliver a get-punch you never saw coming in the space of a single paragraph.  It makes for a fast read that is difficult to put down.
This brief and blustery novella might not be for everyone, however.  The short length and large cast means that as much as I was rooting for these characters, I didn’t get to know them quite as well as I’d have liked to.  We get one or two details, then the book barrels onward.  Much of the second act is also set away from the kitchen, which puts supposed main characters Lena and Darren out of the reader’s eye to follow another team of Sin Du Jour employees.  It still makes for an interesting read, but it isn’t a traditional narrative by any stretch.  The ending also feels a bit abrupt.
Even though it doesn’t quite fill the belly as much as a novel, Envy of Angels is a satisfying first course in Matt Wallace’s “Sin Du Jour” series.  Check it out in print or ebook!

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