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Dark Hope (The Devil's Assistant) (Volume 1) Paperback – July 24, 2014
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"I feel absolutely head over heels in love with this book! It truly was dark & delicious. Mayhem, death, Demons, Pagans, Druids and a kickass heroine!"
- Taking It One Book at a Time (Blog)
From the Back Cover
Claire, the Devil's assistant, knows very little about the world she was dropped into five years ago, when she inherited her mother's unpaid debt to the Demon King. She certainly didn't expect to be a contender for the Fallen Queen's throne, a target for the Druid King's mafia, or a suspect in the murder of Junior, the Devil's oldest hell spawn.
In a last ditch effort to save her life and get out of her deal with the Devil, she sets out to solve Junior's murder only to be taken prisoner by the four most dangerous immortal hell spawn alive.
Not to be out done, the Pagan Queen Mab, claims Claire for entering her realm uninvited. She has an old debt to settle with her brother the Devil. Taking Claire from him after losing her years ago is just icing on the cake.
Will Claire win her freedom, and save herself from the Devil? Or be trapped by Mab forever?
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This urban fantasy is gritty. Frankly Claire’s life kinda sucks; she handles it pretty well but man you really feel like she drew the short straw in life. You really do hope that the fates give her a break because wow she deserves one. Her goal in Dark Hope is just to survive the next few days, try and figure out what is going on, why she’s being set up, and who is doing the setting up. After this week is all said and done her life is never going to be like it was, for better or worse.
Dark Hope was entertaining; the topics are fairly dark and it does have a bit of violence, much of it is against Claire. There is no romance and no sex scenes; only some attempted ones. Probably to mature of subject matter for most YA and more of a new adult to adult novel.
H.D. Smith’s The Devil’s Assistant dark urban fantasy series is one that I’ve wanted to delve into for a long time. Earlier this year, I finally took the plunge deciding to go with the audio edition and am kicking myself for not starting the series earlier! The tale was so good that I ended up listening to the first three books back-to-back. The only reason I didn’t jump right into the fourth book right away, was that it wasn’t yet released in audio. (It has since been released in audio.) Dark Hope is the first amazing installment and the subject of this review. Claire is the devil’s assistant -but not by her choice.
This story revolves around Claire’s quest to save her own life after witnessing a murder that she will be blamed for. In doing so, she encounters troubles galore in both the human and the non-human world as she tries to solve the mystery as to who has targeted her for termination. She quickly learns that she will need to save beings she dislikes, to have a chance to save herself.
Dark Hope is told in the first person from Claire's point of view. The story pulled me in from the beginning. Claire is a savvy, smart, quick-thinking heroine blessed with innovative problem-solving skills. She doesn’t hesitate to speak her mind and to do what she feels is necessary and right - even when it puts her in harm’s way. She has in her possession some neat tools which allow her to do her job well.
Supporting characters include the three rulers in the non-human world. The Devil is one. He is a complex multi-faceted character. He is overbearing, demanding and cruel. Yet, he has a protective side too. The other two rulers are Mab and Harry. In addition, there are children of the rulers and lackeys. Some supporting characters seemed clearly to be villainous; but appearances can be deceiving.
Following please find a few of my favorite quotes from Dark Hope:
The Underworld was the place between the three realms and Earth. I remember thinking it sounded so exotic.
It turned out to look a lot like New York City.
I eyed the sheriff. “So I better be breathing when He finds me.”
“Who the hell are you talking about?” the sheriff blurted.
The postman sneered at the sheriff. “She means the Demon King. The Devil. This is a phone from Hell—the real one.”
With his nose in my hair, he inhaled deeply before putting a light kiss on my cheek. “Have you come to play?” he asked then kissed me again.
“No.” I cringed when he drew my earlobe into his mouth. “I came to help you. That’s all. I swear.”
“I’d rather play.”
“You have your orders,” Mab shouted at the guards. “To the Deeps with her.”
The men led me from the great hall, taking me along a series of corridors to the back of the castle, then winding through another long corridor and into a spiraling stairwell that appeared to have no end. We went further and further down until finally it ended so deep in the ground it felt like a grave.
My pulse quickened as we reached the bottom.
A single dark door lay ahead.
Lauren Fortgang is the narrator for the entire series. I’d never listened to any of her performances previously. She did an excellent job, capturing the essence of Claire and each of the other characters in a consistent, unique and well-suited way. Her voice was clear and easy to understand throughout and the production was professional. The story is quite detailed and there are scenes which transpire rapidly. Therefore, I did listen to some parts multiple times so as to understand what was happening. This in no way reflects badly on Lauren’s performance. Yes, the story is complicated. But, listening to it is totally worth it. Just give yourself time to go back if needed. You’ll be glad you did. Unquestionably, Lauren’s performance enhanced my enjoyment of the book as she positively brought the story to life.
The story is well-written. The pacing is, at times, roller-coaster fast and the action never stops. I had worried that the book would end with a nightmare of a cliffhanger. That worry was for naught as it absolutely does not. The ending is really good with unexpected surprises and a clear wrap-up. That said, there is a situation-that-won’t-keep-you-up-at-night which will be taken up in the next installment. You should know that there is no real romance to speak of; but, the story was so captivating, I didn't miss it.
H.D. Smith has written a fascinating and unique who-done-it tale. I pretty much loved everything about it. If you enjoy dark urban fantasies with a strong central female protagonist and plenty of plot twists, don’t miss Dark Hope.
My full review is posted at Reading Between the Wines Book Club. Please check it out there!
The book itself is a variant on urban fantasy, but with some new twists, and HD Smith's writing is smooth, with some humour. If you're looking for something new, and like authors like Kim Harrison etc, I recommend picking this one up.
Most recent customer reviews
The world building is minimal.Read more