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Literature / Heaven and Hell

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Ashes to ashes, funk to funky
We know Major Tom's a junkie
Strung out in Heaven's high
Hitting an all-time low...

Heaven & Hell is, collectively, the fourth and fifth parts of The Heaven Cycle, the direct sequel to The Touch of Heaven, and the Grand Finale of the series. The first part, The Ambition of Hell, and the second part, The Radiance of Heaven, can be read here and here respectively.

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After the events of the previous story, Tango has been marooned on a post-apocalyptic version of Earth, completely barren of any life excepting themself, Jango, and a crazed version of Jilton hiding inside a house in a desolate version of New York. Meanwhile, back on Earth, Mint — three years having passed since the destruction of Haven — is struggling with their memories as Alice, now living in New York alongside the son of the late Donald Jones. With the war of Heaven and Hell looming ever closer, it seems Earth can't avoid the flames much longer...

All spoilers for the previous stories are unmarked.


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Both parts contain examples of the following tropes:

  • Anyone Can Die: The casualty rate of the series — which, up until this point, had been quite light — takes a sharp increase here as a result of the higher stakes. Alice, one of the most major villains in the series, and Jilton, one of the original runaways from Paradise, are dead by the time The Ambition of Hell closes to start. It gets even worse at the Battle of Yonkers when multiple named characters begin dropping brutally.
  • Apocalypse How: Heaven is intending on cleansing the world in a nasty way, with their servants ruling over the rest and it isn't like Hell is any nicer. In later chapters, the apocalypse begins with a massive war.
  • Arc Words: As per the rest of the series, "you're worth it to me" and "for the greater good," but new ones are introduced in the form of an excerpt from David Bowie's Ashes to Ashes: "My mother said, to get things done / You better not mess with Major Tom."
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  • Big Bad: Ultimately, every single bad thing that has happened in the series is the result of the manipulations of the original Chayne Summers, who Ascended at some point and decided to map out a Long Game that involved kickstarting the Heaven Cycle and arranging events through thousands of loops on Earth to finally get a scenario where she could exploit Mint's power to create a paradise for her and Aria. The climax of the first part has Chayne finally achieving this.
  • Book-Ends: Ambition starts with a David Bowie lyrical excerpt (Ashes to Ashes), and Radiance ends with another Bowie excerpt (fittingly enough, from Blackstar).
  • Character Focus: Both parts focus on one character more prominently than the others. Mint is the main protagonist of The Ambition of Hell with the main plotline focusing on their growing cynicism and struggle to retain their own identity, while Tango is focused on in The Radiance of Heaven with increased focus on their determination against increasingly tough odds.
  • Evil vs. Evil: Heaven vs. Hell with innocents caught in the middle, and both sides equally repulsive as the other.
  • Grand Finale: Heaven & Hell essentially act as the culmination of everything that's happened up to this point in the series, to the Myth Arc about the war between Heaven and Hell, revelations over many key parts of the series' lore, and an inevitable build up to the Final Battle between the heroes and the forces behind everything.
  • Karmic Death: Usually the one death villains tend to suffer.
  • Vicious Cycle: The titular Heaven Cycle is revealed to be one; the war between Heaven and Hell has already happened thousands of times before, and each time, Earth is completely destroyed in the process. The upcoming one is supposed to be the last one meant to release the Necrosis and destroy all reality. Tango, of course, isn't so keen on letting this happen.

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     Tropes found in The Ambition of Hell 
  • Attempted Rape: Niles attempted to rape Alice shortly before the P.A.R.A.D.I.S.E. experiments begun, stopping for whatever reason. It doesn't save him; Alice decides to kill him in a fit of paranoia shortly after.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: The Ambition of Hell ends with Chayne successfully managing to create a world where the Phantom never broke out and taking Aria there while leaving the rest of reality to be consumed by the Necrosis.
  • Back from the Dead: After having been seemingly erased from existence by Tango, Alice returns as an undead thought-form. Naberius is behind it, on Chayne's order, to weaken Mint mentally.
  • Big Damn Kiss: Humorously played with in the final chapter. After restoring Mint to their usual self, Tango decides to pull in Mint for one of these — only to mentally note that's not as satisfying as it should be due to their Shade not having lips (or a face).
  • Bittersweet Ending: Chayne seamlessly executes her plan and wins without a scratch in the end, taking Aria to the dimension she's created while leaving Earth to be destroyed by Heaven and Hell. However, Tango is finally back on Earth and reunites with Mint for the first time in three years, ending the story by clinging onto true hope for the first time in years and wandering into the blasted Manhattan to find their friends.
  • Breaking Speech: Thoroughly analyzed by Mint, especially as they start to slip into the habit of doing it themselves — first turning Alice's own signature move against them and later doing it to Jackson.
  • Broken Bird: Everything that's happened to them, culminating with Tango's sacrifice, has taken a deep toll on Mint, turning them from joyful and idealistic into bitter and world-weary.
  • The Bus Came Back: Jackson and his own friends Arno and Ken are finally back in the story after having been completely absent for From Heaven's Door and The Touch of Heaven.
  • Came Back Wrong: Alice, upon their resurrection, is a horrible, twisted corpse who seems to be on the absolute verge of their sanity.
    "Whatever brought Alice back didn't do it right."
  • The Chessmaster: Chayne plays every single person in the story — from Tango and Mint, to her own husband and daughter, to even Alice — to her advantage.
  • Darker and Edgier: Easily the darkest and most cynical installment in the series, even more so tonally than Radiance with the lasting effects of Alice's manipulations, fewer comedic moments, and a plot mostly revolving around a Trauma Conga Line for Mint so bad it ends with them almost destroying the world. Alice's backstory, as well, is by far the most explicit of the entire series, involving Alice driving a man to suicide and becoming a willing aide to a human trafficker with all the ugliness that line of business entails.
  • Deal with the Devil: Naberius' apparent specialty. Naberius made a deal with Alice upon their death in The Touch of Heaven, bringing them back to life as a thought-form on the condition that they could find and locate Aria for him. Once Alice dies, Naberius turns to Mint instead, forcing them to accept the deal Alice had made in return for preventing Alice's Thanatos Gambit from taking effect.
  • Death Seeker: Jango has become this after his Heel–Face Turn as a means of atoning for his previous actions, and although he's not actively seeking out death, he's waiting for it to come. Tango tries to reason with him.
  • The Dragon: Naberius is Chayne's personal tulpa and her main enforcer. Unlike Chayne, Naberius happily states he's only in the plan to survive the Necrosis, even if it means the rest of reality dies.
  • Driven to Suicide: Alice is revealed to have done this to a homeless person for little more than giggles way back in the past, before they signed onto the P.A.R.A.D.I.S.E. program.
  • Eldritch Abomination:
    • Many of Hell's creatures — including things like the Never-becoming — are horrific, shapeless demons that take forms utterly imperceptible to human eyes, driving all that see them to insanity, and indiscriminately kill everything around them. One is described as little more than a glob of dead insects and black flesh, and another is a giant, rampaging behemoth covered in writhing, sentient worms.
    • The angels themselves are even worse, being only visible as intensely bright, white lights — which are actually their shadows. The things casting them are only visible as something akin to black holes who rip and twist reality around them and tear any human that so much as comes near them apart. The archangels, at least, tend to assume A Form You Are Comfortable With.
  • Enemy Within: Alice now serves as this to Mint after their first death, resurrected (implicitly by the Necrosis) and tormenting Mint within the deepest parts of their mind to try and steal their body back once more.
  • Evil Me Scares Me: Tango's deeply unsettled by the revelation that they killed everyone on an alternate Earth.
  • Flash Forward: The second chapter opens with one, displaying a possible image of the future where Earth is caught up in the battle between Heaven and Hell — shortly before everything is destroyed by the Necrosis.
  • Future Me Scares Me: In a similar vein to the above, Tango's also unnerved upon seeing a potential version of themself in the future as a ruthless immune uncaring about the human casualties around them.
  • Grand Theft Me: Alice's entire goal in this story is to regain possession of their body after being brought back to life by torturing Mint out of it. Upon their death, Alice's final gambit is to unleash the Never-becoming on Mint's own mind and destroy their conscience in the process to make them an even better version of themselves.
  • I Hate Past Me: Mint has serious insecurities about their previous identity as Alice, and even years after becoming their own individual, they can still remember everything they did as Alice and they're still deeply guilty about it.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Although he was never much of a heel in the first place, Jango's firmly on Tango's side after being freed from the Never-becoming's influence, keeping Tango alive for a month-and-a-half before Tango eventually wakes up.
  • Killed Off for Real: Zig-zagged with Alice. After four entire books of pulling the strings and having finally been reduced to a thought-form desperately attempting to regain control of their own body, Alice finally dies for good when they allow the strands of the Never-becoming keeping them alive to leave their body and infect Mint instead — which effectively creates a new Alice. Ultimately, Alice's last act is rendered null and void, meaning Mint takes back their body permanently and Alice is rendered Deader Than Dead in the process.
  • Light Is Not Good: The archangels define this trope in its purest form, taking the image of radiant, heavenly angelic men, but these are explicitly only guises for their eldritch true forms. The archangels themselves are the exact opposite of holy; they're spiteful, unpleasant, and incredibly arrogant beings who are completely remorseless of having torn apart the world thousands of times before in their effort to destroy Hell.
  • The Lost Lenore: Played with. Tango, having confessed their love to Mint shortly before their Heroic Sacrifice in The Touch of Heaven, serves as this to Mint despite not actually being dead. Mint, however, doesn't know this, and is still in a deep depression over it.
  • The Man Behind the Man: The original Chayne Summers is behind the resurrection of Alice through Naberius in order to terrorize Mint further and eventually coax them into a Deal with the Devil.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: As a direct consequence of the massacre of Haven in the previous story, the status quo has been completely demolished, with Tango's separation from the main plot and Mint's character — going from an idealistic, cheerful young Nice Guy into an increasingly bitter Broken Bird — highlighting this.
  • Our Angels Are Different: The archangels are portrayed as stereotypical angelic beings at first glance, but these are simply tailored suits meant to disguise the incomprehensible horrors they really are. These angels are also about as far from "angelic" one can possibly get.
  • Plucky Girl: Tango proves themself to be one. Even after everything that's happened to them, including being raped by Ash, nearly being used to destroy the world, having their home destroyed, and ultimately being marooned on a desolate Earth in Hell with no apparent means of escape, Tango refuses to give up once it's pointed out to them they aren't The Chosen One, deciding to Screw Destiny and keep fighting.
  • Precision F-Strike: Mint, who even as an adult is fairly conservative with cursing, lets out an exasperated "fuck you" to Chayne at the end of their pronounced Trauma Conga Line — one of their only two usages of the word in the series, to boot.
  • Sacrificial Lion: The death of Jilton, one of the original applicants in chapter 10, is the first casualty to establish nobody is safe anymore.
  • The Starscream: Alice to Niles, once the latter attempts to rape them in a fit of drunken lust and Alice decides they're fed up with being controlled by anyone.
  • The Unchosen One: It turns out the Preceptor was lying to Tango the whole time when he said Tango was the one destined to save reality. Tango decides to keep going with their mission and refuses to give up, vowing to find a way to save reality.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Chayne has a habit of making these out of people; Tango, Mint, and Alice are her most prominent ones.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Chapter X. Alice is finally destroyed for good, but Mint is forced to make a Deal with the Devil to keep their own identity, and shortly after this, a masked intruder breaks into Mint's apartment — leading to Jilton's death.
    • Chapter XIII heralds the single biggest plot twist in the series: the war between Heaven and Hell, the Heaven Cycle, the one behind it all, is Chayne Summers. Not just the Chayne Tango knew — the one from the very first Earth in the Cycle to have ever existed.
  • You Monster!: The alternate Jilton calls Tango this in response to Tango's actions on the other Earth — specifically destroying the entire world but leaving her alive in the process.

    Tropes found in The Radiance of Heaven (unmarked spoilers for The Ambition of Hell
  • All for Nothing: Chayne's desire to secure a future for Aria is rendered meaningless when Chayne's own actions lead to Aria's suicide.
  • And I Must Scream: Naberius's horrific 'masterpiece theater' shows people bound in horrific tortures forever.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: Like Before Heaven, this story has POV sections entirely separate from Tango and Mint — and past the halfway point, starts to make a more regular habit of it.
  • Adult Fear: Finding your own kid dead in their room — from suicide, no less.
  • Back for the Dead: Some characters return after a bit, only to face death at the hands of various factions.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind: Tango takes out Naberius by delving into his mind to finish him there. They also face Chayne this way in the final battle.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Erebos comes to the rescue after having been absent in the Battle of Yonkers to thwart Pluto's attempt to Ascend Mint again.
    • Sarie returns the favor in Tartarus, with her timely arrival allowing Erebos and Tango to turn the tables on Azazel and destroy him.
  • Body Surf: The Children of Heaven love using hosts throughout. Specifically, this is how Erebos and Pluto stay alive for centuries. While Erebos seems content to stay in his current host, Pluto and his Children utilize this casually by mind-jacking people at their own convenience.
  • Breather Episode: After all the apocalyptic nightmares beforehand, Tango and Mint's date is a nice moment for them to unwind a wee bit.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • Cryne and Dirgence return as supporting characters once the Sect is finally properly introduced.
    • More unexpectedly, Reggie — the one-off security guard from the first story — returns as well to become an ally of the heroes.
  • Call-Back: Several:
    • When Reggie finally comes back, he notes that after the breakdown at Paradise, Chayne vanished and Ash was carted off to a mental institute, and they later found Charlotte Morse in Costa Rica "muttering something about flamingos."
    • After Mint loses their glasses yet again, they quietly note the occasion Jilton had twisted it to their advantage years prior.
    • Once again, Chayne dismisses some of her horrific actions note  as "this is merely education."
    • Lavender, in Untermyer, calls back to the words she said to Mint in Paradise — specifically her assurance of Mint's identity and their own individualism. Now, she's using it to perk up a depressed Jackson (as well as herself, given her constant existential insecurities worsened further by Darby's death.
  • Chastity Couple: Tango and Mint are this for the time being, despite how in love they are, thanks to the time bending shenanigans making Mint a legal adult while Tango still has a 15 year old's body. Though they're only waiting a few years for this to be remedied.
  • Clawing at Own Throat: Pluto uses his Mylotheian powers to force a nurse to do this to herself. Slowly, graphically, and until she dies.
  • Darkest Hour: It doesn't get darker than when the war begins... 20 million casualties from the get go.
  • Do Not Go Gentle: Our heroes resolve to fight to the bitter end.
  • The Dog Bites Back: After centuries of being used, manipulated and played as a pawn by Azazel, Erebos arranges his master's death flawlessly thanks to Sarie and Mint's assistance.
  • Doorstopper: The story weighs in at over 367k words, longer than all previous installments combined.
  • Dragon Ascendant: Both the leaders of Heaven and Hell for the war. Michael was killed long ago, helping Uriel's rise to power. And Azazel's death puts Abaddon in charge of Hell.
  • Driven to Suicide: Aria, broken from Chayne's Mind Rape, hangs herself and is found afterwards by Jenny and Chayne.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: All the bloodshed and pain results in recreated worlds, with the heroes getting to be happy without heaven and hell interfering. Tango is with Mint, Sarie and Jackson have one another, and the other survivors get their happiness.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Naagol manages to be this even by the standards of the setting, being an extra-dimensional horror that sits on the very edge of known reality whose true form and power is comparable to those of the Gods, taking the form of a grotesque, unimaginably hideous behemoth utterly unconcerned with the paltry affairs of the lower worlds.
  • Eldritch Location: The Verge is this even compared to Heaven and Hell; being the far point of reality, the Verge is a vast, infinite void teeming with horrors too incomprehensible for even Heaven and Hell, visually nothing more than a vast plane of chaos and weirdness where the neither the laws of the physical world or the mental world have any prominence. When Tango tries to force their mind to translate the chaos into something they can actually comprehend, everything becomes a world of visceral Body Horror and Scenery Gorn enough to nearly drive Tango to insanity.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Abaddon, alone of all demons we see, seems to have some level of moral standard, considering Naberius sick and being revolted by 'underhanded' tricks used. He's also curiously genuinely loyal to Azazel.
    • Even other angels are a bit weirded out by how far the psychopathic Uriel is willing to go.
  • Evil Counterpart:
    • The Children of Heaven as a whole serve as this to the Sect of the Broken Mind; while the immunes in the Sect are a bunch with varied moralities, the Children are fanatical, Heaven-worshiping madmen led by a sadistic psychopath whom Erebos acknowledges would never stop their mission even with the knowledge they're playing right into Chayne's hands in doing so.
    • Pluto is also the evil counterpart for Erebos. Both are the respective formerly human champions of heaven and hell, but while Erebos is a fundamentally noble man manipulated into evil by Azazel, Pluto is gleefully, wantonly sadistic.
  • Evil Gloating: Pluto and Naberius are practically addicted to this, explaining in great length how superior they are and how much you'll suffer for opposing them.
  • Evil vs. Evil: All the cosmic sides of things are really different varying levels of nastiness waging war against one another with lots of innocents caught in the middle of it all.
  • Fantastic Racism: The Heaven side sees humans as apes as best and vermin to be exterminated at worst. It's usually 'at worst.'
  • Final Battle: A colossal one with the war, with the heroes, both the Badass Normal crew and the immunes, both sides led by Tango and Mint, taking on the Children of Heaven, the heads of Heaven and Hell, Naberius himself, and, finally, a pitched final battle between an Ascended Mint and Tango versus an Ascended Chayne.
  • Final Boss, New Dimension: The final battle against Chayne, after she and Mint Ascend, takes place in a higher plane much more infinite than Earth's universe, a place able to safely contain the Godly power Chayne and Mint duke it out with. It's the same kind of reality that extends past the Verge, Tango realizes, perceived differently now that they're hooked up to Mint's Godly form — but whether or not the "divine plane" is a new reality created from Nirvana entirely, or if the Necrosis hadn't affected the old one at all, is left ambiguous.
  • God and Satan Are Both Jerks: Both Heaven and Hell are just as vile as the other in different ways.
  • God Was My Co Pilot: It turns out Major Tom, AKA God, is basically the the adorable Mint Prime.
  • Grand Theft Me: How Pluto survives, snatching up new bodies. Leviathan loves this, too.
  • Hate Sink: In a series full of despicable, revolting villains, Pluto stands apart as one of the most sadistic, petty, outright cruel fuckers with not a hint of good qualities, who merrily commits atrocity after atrocity with the amused demeanor of playing a delightful game.
  • He's Back: After three years of trauma and misery twisting Mint into a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds, Tango's return to Earth finally manages to pull Mint from their darkest place — and when Pluto attempts to drive Mint back down toward that path by tempting them into embracing those traits again, Mint responds the exact opposite way and finally asserts that they're back to their idealistic, heroic self by giving Pluto a firm Shut Up, Hannibal!.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: As Leviathan is dying and seems on the verge of wishing Tango and the others well, Pluto promptly backstabs and kills him like the evil little snit he is.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Sarie comes within a hairsbreadth of doing this, almost giving up her own life to destroy a giant group of demons and angels to guarantee Jackson and the others make it out. Thankfully, Tara's timely arrival prevents this — and Sarie realizes that if she'd been a second later, her sacrifice would have been a totally pointless one.
  • Hope Crusher: Pluto excels in this, delighting in taking the hope of others and destroying it.
  • Ironic Echo: Naberius is reduced to an agonized wreck, begging 'free me!'...the same thing his many victims were screaming.
  • It's Personal: Tango considers Pluto their most personal nemesis for murdering Charles Waits out of sheer spite.
  • It Has Been an Honor: Belphegor bids Tango farewell and tells them what an honor it has been to be their teacher.
  • Kick the Dog: Pluto might as well have puppies tied to his shoes at this point.
  • Knight Templar: The Heaven side are this by default. They'll dominate everything they want, and pesky things like innocent lives and free will are just irrelevant.
  • Knight Templar Parent: Chayne Summers, towards her daughter Aria. She'll commit a great number of cruelties, all for Aria's 'own good.'
  • La Résistance: Of a different sort than usual: the small contingent of fierce friends and allies Tango rallies up serve as the sole force resisting against the forces of Heaven and Hell and the battle they'll eventually engage in, with people joining the cause gradually.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: With the exception of those from the Sect of the Broken Mind and Mint (although the latter confesses they're still confused about a lot) every one of Tango's allies has mostly been locked out of the knowledge of the upcoming war between Heaven and Hell. This is finally rectified in the second chapter where Sarie gives a lore dump to shed some clarity to them.
  • Malicious Misnaming: Pluto refers to Mint by their pre-amnesic name Alice, who in turn calls him his birth name Lazaros.
  • Mama Bear: Amanda's not willing to let her son Ruby go out in the front line of danger. When she's injured, Ruby takes up arms anyways — and shoots Leviathan.
  • Mind Rape: Chayne subjects Aria — her own daughter — to this, forcing her to experience all the pain and horror Chayne has had to go through over a course of trillions of years in the span of a few minutes, utterly breaking Aria in the process.
  • Moral Myopia: Pluto has a very, very skewed sense of priorities to say the very, very least.
  • Nightmare Face: Naberius's features are revolting to say the very least. The description is one of the more disturbing in any horror novel.
  • Noodle Incident: Pluto's Dragon, Leviathan, apparently has a storied history which includes a "stint with reality television." Leviathan seems slightly embarrassed over it.
  • Not So Different: Heaven and Hell are both totalitarian groups run by total pricks who want to exterminate humanity.
  • Official Couple: Let's hear it for Tango and Mint, going strong. and Jackson and Sarie, joining them on the list.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
    • Lavender, normally wise, motherly, patient, and always supportive, privately breaks down in a fit of self-existential angst in Darby's arms. She full-out bursts into tears when he dies.
    • Sweet, loving and gentle Mint mercilessly takes Pluto out with no remorse or mercy. Pluto really deserve it.
  • Precision F-Strike: Tango referring to Naberius as one 'sadistic motherfucker' is the understatement of the Cycle.
  • Rivers of Blood: Caused by the invasion of Heaven and Hell, slaughtering millions.
  • Story-Breaker Power: Godly power tends to be this, enhancing those who have it to obscene levels. Just a dab of it makes Naberius the strongest Tulpa in existence.
  • Take That!: Ruby throws one out against Mark Millar in reference to Kickass.
  • Team Dad: Amanda Jones, while actually a mother in her own right, fits this better than Team Mom: she's a gruff jokester in calmer times and a leader figure to the entire team (also being the older among them), but she's also a Four-Star Badass in her own right who's a capable, no-nonsense authority figure capable of defending and rallying the other members of the team, never letting her pride for them (especially Ruby when he takes a level in badass) go undisguised
  • Team Mom: Lavender continues to hold this role among La Résistance. Lavender remains The Heart of the team, gently assuring people like Darby and Jackson of their own importance in times of crisis even while she doubts her own. Funnily enough, Amanda, the literal mother of the team, fits better under Team Dad.
  • The Power of Hate: Played for laughs. Hatred is what allows Digit to create an emotional reaction strong enough to throw his Shade out into Hell... and, bizarrely enough, the target of his hatred is Captain Crunch.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • Aria gives one to her mother for refusing to come to terms with the fact her actual daughter, from thousands of loops ago, is gone — and that, in kickstarting the Heaven Cycle, she's caused trillions of other people to suffer and die needlessly as a result of her own pain and ends with her pleading Chayne to send her back, as she now wants nothing more to do with Chayne.
    • Paralleled two chapters later when Tango gives one to Tara, their own mother, for being a spineless, heartless coward who refuses to accept the consequences of her own actions — including Tango's own existence, which Tara has fervently tried to deny and undermine the whole three weeks Tango has been on Earth.
  • Redemption Rejection: Aria offers Chayne a chance to come back to Earth and atone for her mistakes by helping to save the very last Earth in the Cycle, and, failing that, tries to urge Chayne to send her back to Earth so she can at least have a chance to fight it. Chayne truly does seem to gripe with the offer... before conclusively turning it down and cementing herself as a monster beyond forgiveness by mind-raping her own daughter into submission.
  • Reverse Cerebus Syndrome: The story finally gets a bit more lighthearted with the reunion of Tango and Mint, bringing some fresh hope into both of their lives after a brutal Trauma Conga Line for both of them. Many of the darker elements are still present and there's still plenty of drama, but idealism is reintroduced back into the setting, Mint becomes more like their old self, and the comedic elements become prominent again after having been mostly shafted in Ambition.
  • Rousing Speech: Tired of being told the stakes are against them and even though they know most of their friends still don't know what's going on in the series' Myth Arc, Tango gives one of these to the extended supporting cast and rallies them to join them in their fight against Chayne.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: George and Burles, two characters introduced relatively early in the story as allies of Mint and Tango respectively, end up carking it only a few chapters after they're introduced to signify the threat level truly has risen.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Charles Waits, the father of Jenny and Tango, dies in chapter XXI to finally assure Pluto is playing for keeps.
  • Shout-Out: Ruby references Peter "Sting" Stanchek when he's excitedly throwing out superhero names for the gang. He even brings it back up in a darkly triumphant sense after the Battle of Yonkers: "tonight, I'm becoming Peter fucking Stanchek."
  • Slasher Smile: Pluto wears a disturbing, fanged grin at Yonkers as he orders a widespread massacre.
  • Soul Eating: Demons can devour the souls of victims. Just ask the Smug Snake Everiett when her soul is munched by Andrammelech.
  • Static Character: Explored. Belphegor, through the use of a chess table with all the important players of the the Heaven Cycle, notes how almost everyone around Tango is always changing in various ways — except for Tango themself, who's mostly just remained blithe and determined without much variance all throughout the Cycle. When Tango tearfully tries to protest, Belphegor simply states Tango has to accept themself first in order to truly change as a person, instead of always throwing themself on the line for others with no regard to their own health.
  • Surprisingly Sudden Death: Think being a character who was there at the start means you're safe? Too bad! Just ask poor Darby at Yonkers. Or Reggie and Arno, who died instantly.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • Tango, Mint and team have grown from victimized teenagers in the Heaven project to saving the world and being the best hope for doing so.
    • Ruby, Mint's geeky, snarky best friend with no real experience of his own, decides to become a "superhero" while joining the fight. He proves he's up to the task even when he's been forced into shelter for most of the Battle of Yonkers by getting a shot into Leviathan himself.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Chayne's defining feature was her love for her daughter. Now? Chayne is willing to traumatize Aria rather horrifically as a lesson in pain.
  • The World Is Always Doomed: Blending in with But for Me, It Was Tuesday for Mint; when Pluto does his best to antagonize Mint during their first encounter, Mint flatly tells him he's not intimidating whatsoever to them because they've gone up against so many odds, up to and including saving the entire planet. Sarie even talks to Mint about this soon after and Mint remarks the entire ordeal is something they've started to get used to — which is why the prospect of a normal life entices them so much.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: Naberius' battle with the heroes in the tenth chapter is the first true sign that he and Chayne are entirely different threats than those who have been fought up to this point, out of the league of even the Sect; within minutes, Naberius effortlessly thrashes the protagonists, massacring all of the immunes — including Burles, an immune with decades of experience with his power — with Tango only escaping by the skin of their teeth and beaten within an inch of their life by Naberius.
  • We Can Rule Together: Pluto's temptation to Mint in their first encounter goes along this line, with Pluto trying to tempt Mint into embracing their negative aspects and becoming a God in his crusade against Hell. Having gone through an entire story learning to grow past these traits, Mint promptly tells him to shut up.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Chapter XXI. Pluto invades Tango's mind, forcing them to watch as he murders Charles, before ripping Jenny from their mind and tossing her into oblivion.
    • Chapter XXV ups the ante. The Battle for Yonkers is a tremendous loss for the heroes; Digit, Reggie, Arno, and Darby die, the Sect is almost totally massacred, Sarie is left in a coma, the shelter is destroyed, and the good guys are forced to turn tail and run as Pluto initiates a full massacre of all Yonkers.
    • Chapter XXXIII. Three words: The war begins.
  • Wham Line:
    • In the nineteenth chapter, during Tango's invasion of Solomon under Erebos' guidance to find a Menhir in Uriel's possession, Uriel ends up detecting the presence of foreigners. Tango desperately attempts to get the unresponsive Erebos to give the signal to get the Menhir, and then:
    • During the Battle of Yonkers, just when the battle against the mind-jacking Children of Heaven, seems to be won:
      Yvette: ...So my boys are coming here for nothing, then?
    • The very last sentence of chapter XXXI:
    • Chapter XXXIII:
      Uriel & Abaddon: LET! THE WAR! BEGIN!
    • The revelation of "God's" true identity:
      God: My name is Alison Witzenberg. But, please, call me... Mint.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The epilogue touches on all the surviving characters and covers just what happened to them.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Azazel is fond of these, particularly with how he plays everyone at Solomon to get Naberius in to Heaven's walls and deal them a brutal blow before the war starts in earnest.
  • You Killed My Father: Pluto towards Tango and Jenny, murdering Charles for the sole sake of hurting them in retribution for Solomon's destruction.


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