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Devil's Pathway (DAWN: Warriors of Valor) (Volume 1) Paperback – March 9, 2015
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About the Author
Vicki V. Lucas gave up her career teaching at a university to wander unknown worlds and record the tales she hears on the wind. She has published two fantasy young adult novels, Toxic and Rancid, a young adult supernatural novel called Devil’s Pathway, and a short story series titled Angel Warrior Files. Explore further at www.vickivlucas.com
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Plot – Grade A
This book dug its claws into me and held on from the first page to the last. The plot puts an original spin on the typical angels vs. demons storyline. A spiritual war rages around Nic who is trying desperately to remain neutral instead of choosing one side or the other. Nic is an empathetic character who I related to quite easily. The angels and demons and, yes, even vampires have interesting roles but they don’t steal the spotlight away from Nic. The book ending is resolved without being truly resolved. There are still many questions that I expect Book Two will answer but this book can stand well on its own. The ending comes at a natural breather story-wise and was written in such a way that it left me eager for more without making me feel as though there was absolutely no resolution.
Content – Grade A
This a clean read but it also handles a number of sensitive topics, in particular a school shooting is referenced and later shown via flashback as well as the murder of a parent in front of the child. I applaud Lucas for handling these sensitive situations in a way that showed the horror and grief of such events without descending into morbid bloodbaths, especially in a first person POV. In keeping with having vampires, there are descriptions of a few initial attacks and the aftermath of those attacks; however, there aren’t any gratuitous descriptions of gore.
There are a few instances of mild language, one “damn” and two or three “craps”. Hell is also referenced many times in its proper spiritual context. There isn’t any true sensuality in this book although there are some references to an abandoned mining town having a whorehouse.
The topics of bullying in school and abusive relationships are also addressed and handled with appropriate care. This a spiritually active book as is expected in this subgenre. What I appreciated was not only that the presentation of demons and vampires wasn’t glamorized but the importance of prayer and having a strong spiritual walk was also underlined without descending into the realm of preachiness. The struggle for Nic was real and didn’t come across as flat or like he was merely a puppet. Even I wasn’t entirely sure whether Nic would make the choice I wanted him to make. There is also a tie between Christians’ prayers and the angels’ strength in spiritual battle, which I found very interesting since I don’t recall seeing such a tie before.
Technical – Grade A
This is a very well edited book. There were three or four minor typos in the middle but nothing jarring. The book switches between first-person present for Nic’s narration and third-person past for the sections featuring other narrators (primarily the second-in-command demon, the angel Eli, and Rob). There is one section near the finale where the angel leader’s pov is in third person present, which was only slightly confusing since only Nic had been in present tense. Now, I don’t usually care for present tense but Lucas’ writing was strong enough and compelling enough for me to still be hooked. The characters are fleshed out to the point I actually found myself rooting for them to do what I knew they needed to do if they would just cooperate and I cheered whenever there was a hard-won victory.
Final Grade – A or 5 stars
I devoured this book in about five hours because I could not put it down. Lucas created a spiritual battle that resonated with me and made me think. Devil’s Pathway handles sensitive topics without crossing into crassness or gratuity; however, I would recommend this book to older teens and for parents to be prepared to discuss the topics raised, especially in regards to school violence and abusive relationships. Lucas handles these matters in such a way that I believe it can help open the door for discussions between parents and teens. I eagerly await Book Two. I recommend this book for fans of spiritual thrillers, Frank Peretti’s Present Darkness series, and it’s also a good choice for Christians who, like me, aren’t really fans of Ted Dekker. Recommended for ages 15 and up.
*Please note I was gifted a copy of this book by the author for the purpose of review but I was not obligated to read/finish the book or to leave a review. I was not paid or asked to leave a positive review. My opinions are my own.
Nic has witnessed several murders that involved extensive bleeding. The darkness of the traumatic incidents constantly threatens to rise up and control him, especially when he can sense evil in his environment. The sensations take over his mind to where he can barely function, and he doesn’t trust his own actions, fearing he may be another monster capable of a vicious murder.
After moving away from the murders in Chicago to a tiny town in Idaho, Nic realizes that evil forces seem to have even more control there, especially when disturbing deaths occur in the local campgrounds. Nic sees demons lurking near the area and while fearful, he is inexplicably drawn to find out what happened in the gold-digging ghost town of Florence and why it feels so evil to him. As he investigates, he experiences both horror and fascination with what he finds. While he wants to protect his aunt and uncle who have taken him in, Nic worries that he could harm them if he loses control of himself.
When a demon attempts to lure Nic into working with them, Nic also meets vampires who want him to join them, all suggesting that he is destined for evil. But friends tell Nic that angels also dwell in the world around him—angels who fight the demons. Still, Nic doesn’t trust God because he lost his mother.
Including a mind-boggling view into a young man’s tormented mind, this extremely well-written story is every bit as enthralling as one by the well-known author Frank Peretti, and like his books, also reveals the truth of the spiritual battle around us and the need to pray.