Ariel's Return to Uras: Reviewing "Harbinger" by Olga Gibbs

§ I received an advanced copy of this book to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this novel. §

As Ariel return to Uras with Jess in tow, she wants to believe that life is going to be better and safer. However, things become more difficult: almost all of Uriel's old army does not believe Ariel can protect them, and only a handful of people stay behind to defend their home against their enemies. Furthermore, something strange happens to Jess as she enters the different realm. Now Ariel has to fully embrace her new role as a leader and successor of Uriel in order to keep her sister, friends, and their new home save. 

Harbinger by Olga Gibbs

"Harbinger" neatly finishes where "Hallow" had left, and as such you get thrown right into the story from the beginning. Even though, this might lead to moments in which you need to "re-learn" the names, recall what has happened and figure out the ins and outs of Gibbs' story. However, after a handful of pages, you are able to recall all the mayor points and can follow the story again. 

Gibbs' writing once more follows her high standard, and the style is adjusted to fit the situation: sarcasm in funnier and absurd moments, details for gory moments, as well as skimming over details when Ariel doesn't want to deal with something. The battle scenes are a gusto to read, and you don't want to take your eyes of the pages! Despite depicting a lot of gore, bloodshed and battles, Gibbs' still manage to add a little bit of humour at times. This especially applies to Ariel, who is still finding her feet in the angel's world and throughout the whole book refers to a group of beautiful angel's as "the modelling agency" which never failed to make me smile. As well as other small but funny moments, such as when Ariel has to prepare for a big speech, and Sam brings her brightly coloured trainers: 

“Are you kidding me? Why yellow? I was kinda hoping for something muted, black or grey, white at a push, at least then it would’ve matched my tunic.”
 “You said running trainers”, [Sam] answers, lost. 
 “For a parrot?”

Furthermore, I really enjoyed seeing Ariel "all grown up" and how her character developed. She is a surviour, and while in book 1 "Heavenward" her main goal was survival, and in "Hallow" she began to become confident, now she is a strong character who even draws strength from her past experiences because it helps her to make her way. At the same time, Ariel hasn't lost her humanity, especially when it comes to her sister - Jess is still someone Ariel cries over, and feels the most pain when something happens to her. Especially when compared to her otherwise cold, and ruthless behaviour towards others. 

This is also why I feel that Ariel is a critical stage in her character development: Towards people who are not her allies she is cold-hearted, strong, and boasts about her kill score. It makes you wonder how much of this "fake it until you make" is going to be part of the "faking it". Is Ariel going to keep the forgiving part of her character, the one that remained kind despite all the pain she went through? Is she going to become colder and more ragged? Or maybe she is going to ride this fine line until the end of time? I am looking forward to figuring it out. 

"Harbinger" is the first installment of the last part of the "Celestial Creatures" story - because Olga Gibbs decided to split it to keep the length of the individual books short. However, this decision is noticeable in reading, and the story building. "Harbinger" feels like a build-up for the big final. As such, it doesn't have a big climax and resolution afterwards. Instead, it is act one and two. At least until you are met with a big cliffhanger. 

Without spoiling; while the cliffhanger per se might not be original, it is a classic that works. I was still gripping my electronic novel with my mouth agape thinking "how could she?!" Sometimes clichés and classic plot twists are those because they work. And Gibbs made it work here as well.

Overall, "Harbinger" is a great novel and build up for the final part of the story. It has some funny moments, touching moments, and a lot of action. If you are a fan of the series do not wait a moment to get your copy, if you are new ... where have you been?

 Harbingerby Olga Gibbs
 published    2020
by  Raging Bear Publishing   
 seriesCelestial Creatures
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Olga Gibbs lives in a leafy-green town, nestled amongst the green fields of West Sussex, England. She was writing from the age of fifteen, mainly short stories and novellas and was a guest columnist for a local newspaper. When she is not dreaming up new adventures for her imaginary friends, she does outreach work with teenagers. She is currently writing the final books in the "Celestial creatures" series and another stand-alone psychological crime thriller.

Please visit author website for more information on upcoming books.


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