I finally finished An Unclean Legacy by Jenna Katerin Moran, and I need to gush about it.
I picked up my copy from Smashwords a while back. A long while back. I'm afraid I've become a terrible reader in the last few years--putting down books for weeks at a time, getting caught up in whatever MMO. Worse is the "convenience" of e-books. I don't have a dedicated e-book reader, so I try to read them on my computer...and end up browsing or gaming instead.
An Unclean Legacy was just tricky for me to gain momentum on. It's very short chapters gave me too many chances to set it aside for a little while. But ah! when I got towards the middle of the thing (recently), putting it aside was only possible because I started reading it at work.
The book jumps around in time, focusing, for the most part, on the actions of the family Groeneveldt, a group of sorcerers, heroes, saints and one ninja. It explores their characters, then jumps way back in time to the origins of the setting--to the fall of various angels for various reasons. We see larger-than-life characters with their particulars, strengths and foibles, and larger-than-life concepts that, as the book moves on, we see are pushing those characters around. We see Wickedness, Hopelessness, Life, and Pure Good Intention wrestle each other and the members of family Groeneveldt (soon after we've picked out favorites). Moran makes these forces all the more vivid and compelling in our heads with crayons--Red, Black, Purple, Orange, Blue and Gold.
And way she skips around in time to give you a glimpse of what's going on/has happened already is simply great storytelling--she starts with the little examples of character, skipping around the big events. We aren't ready for them yet. Almost there. Nah. BAM!
It's no secret I like Nobilis, and I've always thought the Sidereals of White Wolf's Exalted RPG were very fun. But I need to say that this book shows Jenna shines with the Knife-point Intentionality of the Blue as a creative fantasy author.