fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book reviews Yvonne Navarro Concrete SaviorConcrete Savior by Yvonne Navarro

Concrete Savior is the second in Yvonne Navarro’s Dark Redemption series starring Brynna Malak, a fallen angel living as a human in Chicago and trying to earn her way back to Heaven. I enjoyed the first book, Highborn, and Concrete Savior is just as good. Like its predecessor, it mixes angel/demon mythology with superhero tropes for a unique urban fantasy blend.

An anonymous Good Samaritan is afoot in Chicago. Somehow, he seems to know exactly where to find people in danger, and rescues them at great risk to his own life. But his acts of bravery, it turns out, have some unintended consequences. There’s a demon on the prowl in the city, playing a terrible game with several human pawns, using their weaknesses — and sometimes their strengths — against them. As the body count rises, only Brynna can uncover the plan and stop it before things get even worse.

Navarro tells the story through the eyes of several point-of-view characters. Brynna is one, obviously, as is her maybe-boyfriend, police detective Eran Redmond. Brynna is adjusting to life as a human while continuing her quest for redemption. Eran is dealing with some lingering disbelief about the supernatural, and then a long-lost relative appears and brings some family baggage to the surface. Both are also trying to determine the nature of their relationship.

The other point-of-view characters are men and women connected with the demon’s evil scheme. These chapters can be extremely painful to read. Navarro takes us into the minds of several characters who commit horrible crimes — and while at least one is an utter creep and easy to hate, others are pitiable in spite of their actions. Other characters are more directly manipulated by the demon and are presented with impossible, hideous choices.

Concrete Savior is filled with suspense and action (and gore), but also addresses some tough questions about morality, guilt, and the mutability or immutability of fate. This is not one of those books where angels and demons are just another sexy creature to dazzle the reader. Navarro takes her angels and demons seriously, including the metaphorical ones that sit on our shoulders.

Dark Redemption — (2010-2011) Publisher: EVERYONE DESERVES A SECOND CHANCE. BRYNNA MALAK MIGHT BE THE EXCEPTION TO THE RULE. Brynna is a fallen angel trying to earn redemption. She’s escaped from Hell in search of a new life on Earth, but Lucifer’s deadliest hunters are hot on her trail. Police Detective Eran Redmond is after her for a different reason: he needs Brynna to help him find a serial killer who is terrifying Chicago… and the trail leads them right to Hellspawned demons of the most dangerous kind. She’s also got a very human problem: dealing with a stubborn, attractive cop who makes her long for everything she knows she can’t have. Stayingalive long enough to earn a shot at Heaven will mean breaking some major rules in the mortal world, as she learns just how complicated and wonderful being human can be. With so much stacked against her, even Brynna has to wonder if she’s crazy. But she’s not giving in without a fight. Not a chance in Hell…

Yvonne Navarro Highborn urban fantasy book reviewsYvonne Navarro Highborn urban fantasy book reviews


  • Kelly Lasiter

    KELLY LASITER, with us since July 2008, is a mild-mannered academic administrative assistant by day, but at night she rules over a private empire of tottering bookshelves. Kelly is most fond of fantasy set in a historical setting (a la Jo Graham) or in a setting that echoes a real historical period (a la George RR Martin and Jacqueline Carey). She also enjoys urban fantasy and its close cousin, paranormal romance, though she believes these subgenres’ recent burst in popularity has resulted in an excess of dreck. She is a sucker for pretty prose (she majored in English, after all) and mythological themes.