Tread of Angels by Rebecca Roanhorse
Didn’t realize this was a novella, so was a bit surprised to be plunged head first into a confusing world via the underbelly of the city of Goetia– where Elite and Fallen live side by side after God/Angels won against demons/Abaddon.
Now they mine divinity by day, and go to the bordellos, casinos, bars where the Fallen (descendants of folks on the wrong side of the war) toil.
Celeste is a card dealer and half-Fallen who can pass as Elite. When her songbird sister– who can’t pass as Elite– is arrested by the dreaded Virtues for a murder, Celeste must uncover the secrets of the crime.
Her only hope– the help of the one man she swore never to go near again. The demon lord Abraxas.
This world is crazycakes. Like straight up a fevered dream-result of Roanhorse going down a fantastical judeo-christian road into a slightly steampunk and fascist world where the Fallen are physically marked so they can never truly escape their own damnation.
As it is a novella, some of the emotional arcs felt truncated, like Celeste’s relationship with Abraxas, or actually, Celeste’s relationships with literally everyone in her life. She’s abrasive and selfish and one by one alienates everyone until I couldn’t quite remember why I was supposed to be rooting for her in the first place.
While fantastical and entertaining, Goetia can only hold my interest so long without Celeste their for me to hang my heart on, and she wasn’t quite worthy of that.