book review: Angelique’s Descent

Posted: April 22, 2014 in books, television
Tags: , , , , , ,

Angelique’s Descent by Lara Parker

angelique descent

In 1997, when Lara Parker was approached to write a novel based on the show, Dark Shadows, she revealed her interest in writing a backstory of how her character became the twisted Witch- lover, nemesis, eternal foil to the monstrous, yet humanly conflicted, Barnabas.

Hence the title, the novel plays on the myth of the Sumerian Goddess, Inanna, who relinquished her earthly possessions to be initiated into the mysteries of the underworld.

A fun romp through Angelique’s beginnings as a child of the sea in Madinina, to her discovery of Voodoo while imprisoned by her father, to her love-stricken meeting with Barnabas in Martinique to his cruel forsaking of her when fate brings them together once again in that infamous mansion of Collinwood.

While forced by her father to partake in fake Voodoo rituals in order to frighten both his slaves and his free enemies, Angelique discovers she truly holds an affinity to the ancient African religion. Spells she tries out for mere amusement come true. While pretending to be possessed during one of the rites, Erzulie, the loa of love and beauty, overtakes her for real. This incident has a profound affect on the young girl, leading her to admit, “I want the goddess to come to me. If she thinks i am pretending to be her, then maybe she will come into my head, and I will know her.”

Continuing her studies into the religion and magical practices of Voodoo, Erzulie does indeed become her patron loa. The “master of her head”.

However, at the same time, a mysterious “devil” figure has also set his sight on Angelique, and is determined to make her one of his disciples. Unlike Inanna who journeyed out of her own free will seeking knowledge and enlightenment, Angelique is to be drawn- broken- into his lair. To achieve that goal, he must destroy everything she holds dear, so he remains all she has.

The novel is a well-written account- vividly drawn with a lyricism reminiscent of the sea that Angelique loves so much. Her character’s descent from sweet child to a woman maddened by grief is believably told.

The disadvantage is that since one knows exactly where this is going, the story lacks suspense. There is no question that the devil is going to beat Erzulie in their struggle over Angelique’s heart and soul. You know that anyone she befriends (platonically or romantically) is going to meet a tragic end. Therefore, the narrative does drag at times as you wait for the day that she sets that eternal curse upon Barnabas.

A bit uneven, yet fun and rewarding read.
Recommended for fans of the show, andd those who enjoy modern-style Gothics.

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Comments
  1. Ken says:

    Novels and movies that give away what’s going to happen to some degree intrigue me.
    The pressure’s on that way. If the characters and whatnot aren’t engaging, goodbye readers.
    Cool that she came out on top. Not to say tension isn’t a good approach too.

    ps Interesting how her pic is on the cover. First time I’ve seen that.
    Pretty woman, so why not 🙂

  2. Hiya Ken,

    I do agree with your first point. The novel is her character’s journey. How she became the Angelique fans saw on the show. And it definitely succeeded on that regard.

    It’s just for me, the knowing of what was likely to happen, took away from the suspesnse that I enjoy in gothic novels.

    But want ro re-emphasis that I still did enjoy the novel very much.

    The cover is lovely. Beautiful and tastefully done.

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