- File Size: 741 KB
- Print Length: 254 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1626411921
- Publisher: Dark Regions Press (November 27, 2016)
- Publication Date: November 27, 2016
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01NBDM747
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,231,568 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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We follow Paimon primarily, a collector in the business of bringing souls back to the Devil. However, the charge we see him go to first is no ordinary person. This woman–Rhea–bears a startling resemblance to Paimon’s late wife…and while he knows that his task is to return her for Lucifer…he doesn’t want to give her up. He’s lost Marissa once. He won’t lose her again. What follows is the inevitable fallout of one lone person going off book, and seeing just how far Paimon is willing to go in order to keep his Rhea with him. Because when something deeper and darker than the Devil himself starts creeping up around the edges, Paimon is going to have to make a decision, and fast–one which may not seem like the best choice.
Paimon is an interesting character. There’s no secret where his motivation comes from; it’s clear from the beginning that in one way or another, Marissa’s spirit is behind everything that he does. Whether it’s the love of her, the wrath at her betrayal, the anguish of her absence, she lives at the back of every move he makes. So seeing the struggle he has when dealing with Rhea–knowing that she isn’t Marissa but allowing it to be far too easy to ignore that–is intense and painful. There is a great deal of regret in Paimon, and it only builds as the story goes on–and becomes a very important element of the character.
I’m eternally fascinated by different authors’ interpretations of the Devil and Hell, demons and the like, and Wytovich puts her own spin on it all. They are clearly Other from us, but there’s a “human” quality to all of them (remembering a conversation with Charon the ferryman in specific) that makes it easier to relate to them, even when their reality is so far from our own. The Devil himself seems to shift as the book continues on, depending on what he’s doing and how he wants to be viewed. (Reasonably.) Darkly handsome, intensely charming, everything one might expect of the Serpent from the Garden. But for all his pretty words and beautiful facade, there is no romanticization of the Devil from within his hells. He is heartless, he is cruel, and he cares only for his own end goal. We see what little romanticization of him there is when he is around impressionable humans; again, when he plays the serpent, he is a cunning master.
Wytovich’s characters are all well fleshed-out and believable, with strong back stories and interesting quirks that set them apart from others…but occasionally I wonder if a little too much of it stayed within the author’s head. I feel like there is infinitely more to Paimon than what we see; what is his real drive in relation to Marissa? I’m not entirely certain how he started life; was he a demon at the start, or was he once a human? Why the process of self-burning that we are introduced to early on? There are holes in my understanding, and while it’s not nearly bad enough to drag me out of the story, it’s enough to make it stick in my mind.
That being said, the end is very neatly lined up for the possibility of a sequel, and perhaps that’s where she plans to reveal more of this. I always question, however, leaving chunks of a character’s driving personality and force for a second story. Perhaps it’s the right move; occasionally, it has been. I don’t know where the story is headed as the author does. I’ll leave that up to her.
All in all, a wonderful book and one I very much enjoyed reading. I’ll be interested to see more of Wytovich’s work, both poetic and prose, and will cross my fingers for more of Paimon’s story.
Rating: **** (Recommended)
Paimon, a soul collector for The Devil, is sent to pick up Rhea Harmon from the real world as she has the power to see a someone's deadliest sin by just looking at them. It is a rare and mighty power to have and Satan wants her soul. Paimon catches feelings for Rhea and mates with her because she reminds Paimon of his wife. This obviously wasn't the plan and after years of loyalty, Paimon finds himself a target of Lucifer as opposed to a servant. Paimon is now playing cat and mouse with SATAN while trying to protect Rhea and the baby she is now carrying. For me, the best scenes in the book are the ones that contain The Devil. Wytovich's Satan is evil, strong, deceptive, cunning and everything else you'd imagine Satan being. As Paimon navigates between dimensions of Hell and the real world we learn more about the rules and history of this post-mortem world. One of the most original and interesting components to Wytovich's Hell is the lack of, or very minimal discussion of Heaven if it really even exists in this book. I enjoyed this version of Hell being more like its own other-worldly dimension as opposed to the secular opposite of Heaven. After Paimon's deceit, "The Seven" or the keepers of the deadly sins come into the story. They have lurked in the shadows and now that Paimon has deceived Lucifer they offer him protection in an effort to destroy Lucifer. Paimon is resistant until he has no choice. Is it possible to overthrow Satan in Hell?
This is straight dark fantasy, and I can't recommend it enough for people who enjoy reading a new world created from scratch. The only aspect of the book that I wanted a little more from was more context in relation to the lore in this version of Hell. I also found myself wanting a little more background on Rhea and the power she possesses. I don't want to spoil the book for anyone but I do feel like it is left open for the possibility of a sequel or prequel which may provide more of that background and context, and if that is the case I am all for it. If not, it is still a great dark fantasy novel and I recommend it if you like books set in Hell like I do. I committed myself to the next 10 books I read and review being by female horror authors in recognition of Women in Horror Month. The Eighth is the first of this commitment (I had to read it a little slower than normal due to personal time constraints). Reading these 10 books will take me longer than February to finish but that's cool, it is more about increasing my knowledge and exposure to female horror writers than anything else. I will definitely be checking out some of Wytovich's poetry and I look forward to reading more of her prose in the future as well.
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