Fallen angel Jim Heron has been playing a game instituted by the Creator, a battle for seven souls at a crucial crossroads in their lives. Though sporting a checkered past of his own, Jim has been fighting for the side of good against the evil demon, Devina. Each of them has a chance to influence the souls in their choices and whoever wins the game also wins control of both Heaven and Earth.
Coming off a devastating loss to Devina, Jim is at loose ends. He knows it's because his head wasn't in the game, but instead was fixated on his beloved Sissy Barten who he'd only just gotten released from Devina's Well of Souls. Ever since, Sissy has been in a strange limbo state, unable to enter Heaven but not truly alive on Earth. Despite her own problems, though, she's ready and willing to help Jim in any way she can in the next round, knowing that the stakes are higher than ever before. However, Jim has many questions and the only person he believes may have the answers is Nigel, the archangel who'd offed himself in a misguided attempt to give Jim a wake-up call. Now feeling guilty about that and also having no interest in taking Nigel's place in Heaven, which is what's rumored to happen next, Jim undertakes a dangerous journey into Purgatory to get the angel back. Even if he succeeds, though, there are two more souls to find and save when they reach their crossroads. With a little help from his friends and a whole lot of luck, perhaps he'll prevail, and maybe his love for Sissy will prove to be the key to victory.
Immortal is the sixth and final book in J. R. Ward's Fallen Angels series. So much happens in this finale that it's going to be difficult for me summarize and review it without giving away spoilers, but I'll try my best. Following a devastating loss to Devina in the previous book, Jim is at loose ends with nothing less that the fate of the entire world, including Heaven and Earth, weighing on his shoulders. After finally freeing his beloved Sissy from Devina's Well of Souls, he was too distracted by her to keep his head in the game. Although he still cares for Sissy and wants to be with her, he now knows he can't let her take his eyes away from the prize. Even though she's upset with Jim when she finds out he slept with Devina to keep the demon off balance, Sissy is more than ready to help him win the war. The one person who had answers was the archangel Nigel, but he offed himself in the last book to give Jim a wake-up call. Jim feels guilty for indirectly causing the angel's death, and after discovering that he will be slated to replace Nigel, he knows he has to find a way to get him back. Jim undertakes a dangerous and possibly ill-fated journey into Purgatory to do just that, but even if he succeeds in his mission, there's still the matter of there being two more souls to save and influence into making a choice for good when they reach their crossroads. He has no idea who those two people might be or how to find them, but with the help of Sissy and his fallen angel sidekicks, he just might find the answers he needs and save the day after all.
Throughout the series, Jim has been the main cornerstone character. After his mother was raped and murdered years ago, and he butchered her killers for revenge when he was still just a teen, he was recruited by XOps to be an assassin. As a former military operative, he's done a lot of bad things he's not entirely proud of. Then he died in an electrical accident in the first book and was chosen by both Heaven and Hell to be the savior. As such, he's been playing a game invented by the Creator in which he must identify seven souls who are about to face a crossroads that could take them down a path to either good or evil, and he must influence them toward the good path. He's won some and lost some, and now he faces the final battle. While he was in essence the hero of all the previous books, he now gets a chance at being the romantic lead. Ever since the first book when he discovered the body of Sissy Barton, he's been haunted by her. He was first obsessed with getting her out of Devina's Well of Souls, and once that was accomplished, he was distracted with trying to help her reacclimate to being on Earth, but essentially a soul in limbo. Now all he wants is to call her his own and love her for eternity, but finding an HEA won't be easy when there are still two souls on the line that need saving before the war will be over and he can hopefully take a breather. Jim is a rough-around-the-edges, alpha hero who has a checkered past and isn't above doing whatever needs to be done to win this war. As such, there are times when he does things that aren't entirely admirable. However, when it comes to Sissy he has a serious soft spot. She brings out the best in him, and even though he's not the type to wear his heart on his sleeve, I did admire the way he treats her, as well as his determination to defeat Devina once and for all.
Sissy was just an average college student who went out one night for ice cream and ended up murdered. She was a virgin, sacrificed so that Devina could keep her mirror that acts as a portal between Earth and Hell active. She spent the first four books in Devina's Well of Souls before Jim selflessly-but perhaps foolishly-traded one of his wins to gain her release. However, her stay in Hell contaminated her soul so that she's now unable to gain entry into Heaven. That has left her in a limbo state on Earth where she's immortal, but unable to do much. This caused her to have a really rough go of it in the previous book, which is what led to Jim being so distracted. Now she's in a better place and desires a relationship with Jim, but when she discovers that he slept with Devina, it leaves her uncertain and insecure. This doesn't stop her, though, from caring about Jim and wanting to do everything she can to help him win. I've actually liked Sissy from the beginning. She certainly didn't deserve her fate, so I was rooting for her to get out of the well and find happiness with Jim. She may have started out as the sweet virgin, but all that she's been through has toughened her up. She proves to be a pretty strong young woman in this book while still maintaining a certain level of kindness and light.
While I didn't love the Fallen Angels series quite as much as I've loved most of the Black Dagger Brotherhood books, I have enjoyed it. Immortal actually ended up being one of my favorites of the series. Maybe it's because the Jim/Sissy pairing has been teased throughout the entire series, but I really liked seeing them finally get together. Admittedly I would have preferred a little more romance and their HEA was a bit unconventional, but somehow it all worked well for me anyway. There were a couple of hoped for developments that came to fruition regarding two of the angel characters (can't say anymore without giving spoilers) that sweetened the deal. Devina, as usual, is the demon villain I love to hate. She an odd duck for whom I occasionally feel a modicum of pity, but then I always remember the evil things she's done and realize she doesn't really even deserve that. But I admit that the Warden has done a good job of giving her a curious and amusing characterization. As up-to-date readers of the BDB know, she made the cross-over to become the new big baddie in their world, which has proven to be rather interesting. However, the thing that really impressed me with this volume is the ending. I thought that it was a strong finale not only to the book itself, but to the series as well, that was IMHO the perfect way to wrap it all up. It was neat and clean, giving a positive ending to all the plot points, while also leaving a few threads of possibility open. As far as I know, there won't be any more Fallen Angels books, but we learn a tantalizing little tidbit about Lassiter that could lead to a couple of other characters making the jump to the BDB world as well. I very much look forward to seeing them if that happens.
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