Are Fallen Angels Shape Shifters?

September 16, 2008 at 6:10 am (Deborah Cooke) (, , , )

I’m asking this, not just because FALLEN which comes out at the end of this month features a hero who is a fallen angel, but because I can’t decide. I hadn’t thought of this series as having anything to do with shape shifters, then my husband said “well, why not?”

You know how it is with those questions tossed across the dinner table. Sometimes they make you stop and think. If nothing else, they make you doubt your assumptions.

Why not?



First, let me tell you a bit about this new world of mine. It setting is the late 21st century, the world has survived a number of nuclear attacks, and spontaneous mutations are common among humans. Mutated humans, though, are called shades – because they have failed the criteria outlined in the Sub Human Atomic Deviancy Evaluation – and essentially enslaved to do manual labour. The shades are out of sight and essentially out of mind for many. There is a group of scientists called the Society of Nuclear Darwinists who do ongoing investigations of the effects of radiation upon humans – their shade hunters also “harvest” shades that they discover, and send them either to the Society’s research labs or surrender them to the federal government.

It’s not a nice world, but you probably picked that up already.

But it’s also a world on the cusp of the Apocalypse, and the angels are intervening to save humanity from ourselves. Angels, in this scenario, volunteer to take flesh. As angels, they are beings of light and energy, who can choose to reveal themselves to humans or not. They are above and beyond sensation and sensory detail. But those volunteers have their wings removed, sacrificing their angelic status to become human. They become mortal, and are indistinguishable from “norms” — except for the two diagonal scars on their backs (which would condemn them as shades, if revealed.) Each takes a mission, and once that mission is complete, regains his wings and his angelic status.

(It’s not a spoiler to tell you that so far, I’m two-for-two on fallen angel heroes who choose to stay on earth, for the love of the good woman they’ve found. These are romances, after all!)

But you see, there is a transformation, from a being of light to a mortal man. And I guess that could be considered shape shifting. I didn’t think of that before because for me, shape shifting is a more back-and-forth thing, changing at the full moon or at will, or on some more regular basis than, um, ONCE.

What do you think? Is this shape shifting? Or not?

Deborah Cooke
who also writes as Claire Delacroix, in case you’re confused!

Alive & Knitting blog



  1. Pam T. said,

    There’s a definite transformation, so I could see where Montgomery and the other fallen angels could be considered shape shifters. But they can’t shift at will, so does that affect the designation? Ah, the new worlds we discover…

  2. Savanna Kougar said,

    Heck, I don’t know the answer. My heroine is also considered a ‘fallen angel’, in the good sense of the word, as opposed to Lucifer — becasue she’s an angel incarnate, born into flesh by agreement to help Earth. Only she isn’t aware of her true nature until it becomes part of the plan to save Earth for humanity.
    Fascinating world you’ve created.

  3. Cathy said,

    To me a shifter is someone-thing that can change back and forth. From what you wrote here I’d say the angel was transformed not shifted. Story sounds interesting though!

  4. Ilona said,

    Love the sound of the story. I personally would say that they transform rather than shapeshift. Shapeshifting is the ability to shift shapes more than once.

  5. Deborah Cooke said,

    Isn’t it fun when we have tough questions to ponder?

    Looks like we’re all on the same proverbial page, though, and that my first instinct was right with yours. One transformation isn’t the same as shifting all the time. Fair enough!


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