What can I say about Envy, the third in J.R. Ward’s Fallen Angel series, that I’ve not gushed about previously?
Perhaps simply that it’s the best one yet.
Envy sees the return of Jim Heron battling for the side of good in the war between heaven and hell with the victor claiming dominion over all. After a brief trip out in Crave, it also sees the action return to the familiar stomping ground of Caldwell, NY. This is an area that fans should be very familiar with as it is also the setting of the Warden’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series.
In fact, Envy starts with events that occurred in Lover Unleashed and Thomas ‘Veck’ DelVecchio Jr. who was introduced in that is one of the main characters and the soul that Jim Heron is tasked to save.
Both Veck and Sophia Reilly, the Internal Affairs officer and Veck’s love interest for this story are nicely rounded out characters and I couldn’t help but root for them and want them to have their HEA.
However, it’s Devina, the devil in the blue dress that comes very close to walking off with having the most interesting character. The best bad guys are those that are flawed and somehow elicit sympathy in the audience to an extent that it’s hoped that they can be redeemed. Having a demon who sees a therapist and suffer from OCD and hoarding and best of all, thinking she can be Jim’s actual girl friend, as I’ve said previously, is a stroke of pure genius. Whilst I hope that Sissy will be Jim’s eventual HEA, I can’t help but hope that Devina gets one as well. Yes, despite how evil she is.
Despite all the connectivity between Envy and Lover Unleashed and therefore Fallen Angels and Black Dagger Brotherhood, aside from a very brief cameo of one of the Band of Bastards at the very end and Detective De La Cruz getting some decent page time, there is no cross pollination between the two series which is actually a good thing because two series need to stand on their own. However, since the Black Dagger Brotherhood series has acknowledged angels (see Lassiter), Envy is the first book to openly acknowledge vampires exist.
One final thing that I would say with Envy is that there is a bit of M/M romance between two of the arch angels. Nothing steamy actually takes place (the steamy content is restricted to Veck and Reilly) so take that into account as you will.
Now for the wait until the next one which, given the set up that has been done in Envy, is going to be interesting. Thankfully, this is just leaving a story thread open and not ending on a cliff hanger.