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Series Review: The Devil’s Assistant by HD Smith

Series Review: The Devil’s Assistant by HD Smith

H.D. Smith’s Devil’s Assistant series is a winner.

The four books track the protagonist’s journey from helpless assistant to the Devil (The actual devil. This is not a metaphor. However, it’s also not your mother’s devil) to kick-ass heroine who takes very little sh**.

The writing is tight, tense and well-turned with engaging characters and a number of great surprises. The story continues through four books, all of which are out. There is some retelling in the later books of “what has gone before,” but it’s pretty well integrated and compact.

I don’t often find a book, let alone four, that consistently surprise me and/or keep me guessing. Smith manages this with ease. It is telling that I read all four within a week, immediately obtaining the next when I finished the current read. Between the magic, the realms, prophecies and time travel elements, I didn’t bother trying to predict anything, but just allowed the words to take me along for a highly entertaining ride.

The series begins with Dark Hope, followed by Darke Awakened, Dark Forsaken and ends with Dark Contender. I give them four stars each.

HD Smith is a software developer by day and an author of kick-ass Urban Fantasy at night. She grew up in South Carolina, but has called the Sunshine State home since 1997. She has a Masters degree in Computer Science, but her love of writing has really unleashed the creative siren in her soul. For more information, visit HD’s website.


Maledicte: A study in Contrasts

Warning: Mild spoilers ahead…

Lane Robins’ Maledicte is an extraordinarily strange and unflinching foray into the human psyche.

Miranda is a street urchin with an extremely sharp edge. When her lover/soul mate is taken from her, she vows not only to get him back but to seek revenge on the taker, namely, his father. But how? Enter the taint of dark magic and the price of dealing with a goddess with an agenda of her own.

None of the characters in this novel are pure and many of them aren’t even likeable, yet I couldn’t stop reading. Miranda’s transformation into Maledicte is so complete that she stops thinking of herself as female, willing to deny a basic component of her personhood in order to achieve her objectives.

He turned, studied himself in the mirror, distracted from worrying in the shock of self-exploration. It had been so long since he had taken the risk of loitering unclothed, or even thought of himself as Miranda; though he had all her desires, her dreams, he spoke truly to Janus when he declared her dead. Maledicte could not put himself back in her position, could not remake time, unable to remember how it felt to not carry this secret.

The depth of Maledicte’s obsession is fully matched by the warped nature of her beloved and yet I couldn’t stop hoping that she would awaken to the costs of vengeance and finally say no to evil.

Robins’ novel is a study in contrasts; darkly lyrical, love versus hatred, female becoming male. Even the gods are dual in nature. Black-winged Ani is the goddess of love and vengeance. Baxit is the god of indolence and reason. Maledicte is the shadowy reflection of a love story coupled with a tainted coming of age, and the offspring of this merging is a very strange child indeed.

Highly recommend for readers of dark fantasy. You can find more on Lane Robbins here.


Review Revisited

I wrote this review some time ago, and rereading it now makes me want to go back and read the book again. I hope it gives you a similar desire.

Early this week I finished Dean Koontz’s Fear Nothing, which is one of the most unusual ‘day in the life’ novels I have ever seen. Chris Snow’s life is unusual to begin with and then, when you add the nefarious (maybe) schemes of a shadow government organization (maybe) and animal intellectuals (cats and dogs, mostly. The monkeys can’t be described so kindly), it gets pretty complex pretty fast. Lucky for Chris, he has a support group with secrets themselves. (Good ones, I’m sure. They aren’t fully revealed here, but I’m hoping for the best.)

Koontz does his usual inimitable job of weaving layers between, under and over layers until even the savviest reader is waiting for what comes next with only a ghost of a notion of what that will be. In addition, he leavens the suspense with a healthy helping of humor, which works well since it is “the main coping mechanism” of the protagonist. All in all, I came to the end of the book wanting more. And for that, I’ll have to hunt up the next installment, Seize the Night.

For more on Mr. Koontz and his work, look here: https://www.deankoontz.com/

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