Tread of Angels

Rebecca Roanhorse

Quick Synopsis

In a Western mining town, half-blood sisters fight against the ruling class when one of them is accused of a grisly murder.

Publisher’s Synopsis

Celeste, a card sharp with a need for justice, takes on the role of advocatus diaboli, to defend her sister Mariel, accused of murdering a Virtue, a member of the ruling class of this mining town, in a new world of dark fantasy from the New York Times bestselling author of Black Sun, Rebecca Roanhorse.

The year is 1883 and the mining town of Goetia is booming as prospectors from near and far come to mine the powerful new element Divinity from the high mountains of Colorado with the help of the pariahs of society known as the Fallen. The Fallen are the descendants of demonkind living amongst the Virtues, the winners in an ancient war, with the descendants of both sides choosing to live alongside Abaddon’s mountain in this tale of the mythological West from the bestselling mastermind Rebecca Roanhorse.

Book Review

Tread of Angels is a historical fantasy novella laced with mystery and a bit of religious praxis. The setting is high in the Colorado mountains in 1883, where the remnants of a fallen demon are mined to create technology.

I was fascinated with the lore and social constructs within Tread of Angels. It was unlike anything I have ever read in the best possible way. While being completely original, the story also provides reflection on current social systems.

For me, the brevity of Tread of Angels prevented the novella from being a 5 star read. Topping in at just over 200 pages, this book is super short for a fantasy novel. As a consequence, the world building and characters lacked the nuance that would have further elevated this tale. I initially tried to read this book but felt lost after just a few pages. I went back to read the cover’s flap and it gave me the backstory that I needed. However, it would have been advantageous to have a prologue or an initial chapter or two that built the world and the context of the story.

Still, Roanhorse managed to pack in a lot in a few pages. After reading a novella or short story, I typically feel like it needed to be longer for the plot’s sake. I found that Tread of Angels provided me a complete story. Moreover, Roanhorse managed to write a tale in which I became emotionally invested. For me, this felt like a feat.

Overall, I really enjoyed Tread of Angels, but I do wish that it had been longer and more fully fleshed-out. I recommend it so long as you do not mind novellas.


Overall Rating

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.


Rating: 4 out of 5.


Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Character development

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Tread of Angels



Publication Date
November 15, 2022


Storygraph Rating
3.51 stars

Goodreads Rating
3.60 stars

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