I went into this thinking it was going to be a YA because it opens with a 12/13 year old girl who’s in 8th grade in a pretty typical school setting. But, then it cuts to a rather nasty fight scene in a bathroom and a bunch of f-bombs are dropped so I re-thought my initial reaction of, “this is YA” lol. It didn’t strike me as the tone most YAs go for.
This is an urban fantasy set in our world or close enough to it. The father in the story was saved by some creature known as the Deacon when he was on the brink of death. The Deacon didn’t do it for free. He wants their first born, Abby, as payment for saving his life. This is a super cliché story line but I was still willing to give it a chance. The prose was serviceable and it had been a while since I read about Christian inspired demons and such.
Abby wasn’t told growing up that she’s different, and that an evil entity is going to come back for her one day. So, as she grows up she has no idea what to make of the things she keeps seeing, ghost dogs, the Deacon in mirrors, and other supernatural phenomena. She thinks she’s a freak since it doesn’t look like anyone else sees this shit, just her. Her parents want to tell her about what’s going on but there’s a pact with the Deacon where there’s unknown/untold consequences for letting her in on the secret. I definitely liked the father, the mother pissed me off hiding shit that could kill her later because she was embarrassed.
The prose here mostly worked for me. There were a couple really awkward phrases though. One of them being, “Hybrids of humanity and cetacean, baying hounds with too many eyes, goat legged monstrosities with tentacles falling out of their mouths” — whales don’t have any of those things, so it’s an odd likening to say a hybrid of humans and whales will produce too many eyes and tentacles? It could get quite gory, someone had their eyes gouged out on page/in their pov. This was fine for me but might be a bit much for certain readers.
The main character is gay and has an established gf of three years when she turns 25 which is when the story really gets going. I really appreciate a Catholic/Christian heavy book featuring a gay main character, I really do not see that too often.
As far as the world building it’s very Christian based with crucifixes holding power and the bible versus being able to dispel evil. This is sort of like Constantine? **sort of** in that there’s a war between heaven and hell and humans are caught in the middle. I would say if you’re into things like demon possession, exorcisms, Constantine and want to see a gay female protag, this could definitely be for you!
- Plot: 11/15
- Characters: 12/15
- World Building: 11/15
- Writing: 10/15
- Pacing: 11/15
- Originality: 10/15
- Enjoyment: 6/10
Final Score: 71/100