Hi, Aadi here.
This week, Mischa and I are reading The Wrong Enemy by Jane Lebak. This book is a wild ride with trips to Antarctica and under the ocean. Then there are the angels who fly around creation like it’s their personal playground. (Which I guess it kind of is.) But, it’s not all fun, there are demons up to their usual badness in this book.
The Wrong Enemy by Jane Lebak
Category: Young Adult
No one knows why Tabris, a guardian angel, killed the child he vowed to protect. The boy Sebastian got into Heaven, but the angels don’t understand why Tabris isn’t in Hell. Instead God’s given him a second chance.
Another assignment. Another guardianship.
Although he struggles to help this new child, a ten-year-old girl named Elizabeth, Tabris can’t escape what he did with Sebastian. Elizabeth’s co-guardian doesn’t trust him at all, which makes sense because even Tabris doesn’t trust himself. Everywhere he goes, the angels all know what he’s done, and the only angel who seems to want him is a friend from long ago, now a demon.
Shame and guilt follow Tabris like a shadow, but it’s only the memory of the dead boy, and even though Sebastian still needs him, Tabris cannot face him. After what he’s done, there’s no way he can make it right. But his bright spirit is growing darker, and the other angels have realized that if Tabris can’t accept the mercy he’s been given, then he’s going to fall forever.
Hey, it’s Mischa. This book has sword fights…with flaming swords. If I had one of those, I could take on the Red Guard. Instead, I have to keep my head down and hope I don’t get caught with the contraband knife I hide in my boot.
At that moment, the light of God took form at the head of the room as Jesus Christ. The angels bowed, but Tabris prostrated himself.
Jesus advanced to the accuser, who looked him dead in the eye.
Jesus said, “Your point is understandable.”
Raguel turned for the first time to look at the accuser, who wore an icy glare and had every feather on every wing standing out, typical for a demon.
“Understandable?” said the demon. “Everything here is perfectly understandable. Angels have only one written law, am I correct? And that law is shown to every single guardian angel before beginning his assignment, am I still correct? Including Tabris? No one forgot to show it to him because they were too busy polishing their harps and reciting your cute scripted praises?”
Jesus waited him out. Raguel had less patience; his sword had manifested at his side, and his palms itched.
Jesus glanced at Raguel, acknowledgment in his eyes.
The demon cocked his head and folded his arms. “And would I still be correct if I were to recall that the law says, explicitly, Do not kill your charge?”
Jesus said, “You have a thorough grasp of the facts.”
The demon said, “Shocking that you even need such a written law. But your playthings want so badly to brainwash their toy monkeys and get them here, so it makes sense. Polish them to a high shine and then kill them. Ta-dah, instant sainthood.”
Jesus said, “Again, you have a good grasp on the guardians’ desire to get their charges into Heaven.”
“The only thing I can’t grasp is this,” the accuser said, his voice flat. “If I’m in Hell for far less a crime than he committed, I fail to see why he should receive the mercy you denied the rest of us.”
Jesus said, “Tabris still loves me.”
“You have to admit,” the demon said, stepping closer and lowering his voice, “that his demonstration of that love falls short of ideal.”
Jesus turned to Raguel, who forced himself to look away from the demon. “Why are you pleading for Tabris? He hasn’t pleaded for himself.”
Raguel folded his arms over his chest, but Jesus touched his shoulder, and Raguel looked up. “My Lord, he’s in shock. I’m convinced he had no intention of doing what he did, and given the chance, he’d change it. He’s condemning himself. I think you want better than that for one of your own.”
Looking at Tabris, Jesus said, “How much do you believe in him?”
“I wouldn’t challenge your judgment,” Raguel said.
“But you want that judgment to be favorable?”
Oh, God, Raguel thought, thank you for an opening here. He ignore’d the demon’s outraged huff. “Please have mercy on him.”
He looked again at Tabris, still prostrated, still not projecting any of his emotions. Raguel wondered if maybe he’d stopped himself from reacting to his own Creator debating whether to discard him.
“He does still love you.” Raguel’s voice turned urgent. “For that alone, you might be able to show him mercy.”
Jesus stepped toward Tabris, who pulled his wings tighter over his head, a brown and green shield of feathers. Raguel noted both the brightness and softness in his Lord’s eyes as he studied the prostrated angel, the contemplation that stretched into a question-mark, and for a moment Raguel feared it was God lingering over a last look. Tabris himself had gone motionless, and Raguel fought panic as Tabris’s fear filled the room.
As if voicing Tabris’s own thoughts, the demon said, “There isn’t a choice. He deserves to burn.”
Jesus kept his gaze on Tabris. “Raguel, answer me, how much do you believe in him?”
“Then I release him into your custody. Do with him as you wish.”
Have you read this book already? Tell us what you thought of it.