House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard

The devil always has the most fun.
What happens when he steps out of the picture? why would he leave?
The fallen angels have not gone to Hell, they came to Earth – hm, that would explain a lot – and World War One was a result of infighting. World War Two hasn’t happened yet/ won’t happen at all.

The Morning-star has gone missing, and the power vacuum has led to interesting alliances among the Fallen. The strong run their own Houses, the weak look for patrons. The Fallen are sources of magic, so their hair and fingernails – and their flesh and bones – are valuable artifacts. Protection is important. Then their are the Houseless, who roam the streets and try to protect their own little gangs.

Enter a new Fallen, too new to protect itself. Some houseless gang members want to reap the magic – they can only take pieces, a whole body is too heavy. (ewww) The Morning-star’s protege and replacement as Head of House rescues the new Fallen. One of the gang members, who seems to have a whole lot of back-story, joins that same house, and then things get weird.

What, you thought they were weird already? More detail, more political twists, more angry politicians posturing at each other. And a dragon in the dragon’s lair is WHERE??? And then we find out where the Morning-star went, and the gang-member’s really peculiar connections, and the ripples from those things start to connect.

Gender and race are arbitrary, assigned at the moment of incarnation, which can make for interesting cultural, gender, and racial interaction, but there’s no overt displays of ‘isms’ in the story.

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