Reviewed By S.C. Principale
Member of the Paranormal Romance Guild Review Team
Banished, Fallen Angels Book 1 by Iris Champion begins with the unexpected birth of Britton, a mortal girl who will be raised by the Archangel Michael himself (we’ll get to why later.) Britton is beautiful, headstrong, and quite innocent. She’s been raised in Heaven, but she wasn’t born there. She’s been kept sheltered from the other angels because she has human traits and instincts like curiosity and audacity that most angels don’t have. While they simply exist to carry out duties, Britton must question everything. In short, she feels like a bit of an outcast and is always striving to prove herself. When she’s finally given the chance to start training for her angelic duties, it doesn’t go well. The other angels (who do NOT deserve the term angelic) harass and bully her, assuring her that she’ll never be regarded as a true Angel. Neither the angels nor Britton know that she actually has divine blood in her veins. She will be part of something that will change life as they know it forever. However, at first Britton only knows she’s heartbroken by her experiences with the angels she longed to be with. In a fit of anger, she journeys to Earth, hoping to find some comfort there. Instead, she finds a handsome conundrum—and he has wings, too.
Lucifer has hated Michael for eons. When he learns that Britton is pretty much the angel’s adopted daughter, he can’t wait to use her innocence and purity against her as a way to give Michael some hellish payback. However, Lucifer isn’t what most people think. He and the other fallen have set up a village that is a mixture of fallen angels and humans. They are loving and protective of one another, actively saving human lives for centuries. Lucifer is told his chance for revenge has been foretold, but warned not to lose what he truly desires pursuing such revenge.
This book is so much more than a simple “forbidden love” or “enemies to lovers” story. Iris Champion creates fully-developed, sympathetic characters in both Britton and Lucifer. She also deals with some major concepts in the midst of some steamy romance, such as black and white vs. gray areas of morality, the bond between fathers and children, and the value of individuals. It is revealed that Britton is a descendant of God’s wife, and her love of both father-figure Michael and lover Lucifer is what will be needed to reunite all the angels in heaven. There are some bleak moments when Britton chooses to sacrifice herself to open both Michael and Lucifer’s eyes, but they unite to rescue her. Their actions succeed in saving Britton, restoring their broken bond, and securing God’s forgiveness.
While telling a truly engaging tale, I do feel that Champion was heavy-handed with her descriptions of the “bullying” angels and provided little balance, having the vast majority of the angels portrayed as the “mean kids” in some heavenly prep school setting and only letting a few supporting characters shine as well-rounded. The opposite can be said of the supporting fallen angels (aside from Lucifer), who come across as happy, hedonistic, perfect, and somewhat flat. Additionally, the way that Britton is preyed upon as a sexual object, both by “good” angel Eugene and sexily sweet Lucifer (nicknamed Sugar) is troubling. Both use her innocence against her to some degree. It takes away some of the strength and respect for both Britton and Lucifer’s characters. Fortunately, Britton does regain that strength. She reveals Eugene’s true colors and bests him in a sword fight. She also completes her mission to reunite the banished and heavenly angels, fully accepting both halves of herself.
Britton and Lucifer’s story, while it has some overblown and unbalanced moments, is still an amazing tale of love, forgiveness, and unification. It’s the first in the series. I’m excited to see who else finds love and togetherness!