Review: Hell Bent by Devon Monk

hell bentReviewed by Jen

This book took me to places I never expected to go.  First, let me say that there is no way this series will have the same impact for people who did not read the Allie Beckstrom books before it. Yeah, you might understand what is going on, but I just don’t see how you could have the same kind of empathy and understanding for Shame and Terric. You may not really “get” the Soul Complement thing the way you would if you had been there with Allie and Zay. The changes in magic, the loss of a character, the time spent with Cody: none of it would have resonated the way it did for me, had I not read the previous books.  And that would be a shame, because there are powerful emotions working here.

This story picks up three years after the events of the last Allie book. Magic has gone from a screaming force, to barely a whimper. Unless you happen to be a Soul Compliment. For those powerful pairs, magic can do everything it did before, because they can break the magic back into elements of Light and Dark.  The Authority is trying to keep their existence a secret.  But that’s not really working out.  We learn early on that someone is hunting Soul Compliments, which puts Shame and Terric right in the line of fire.

Shame hasn’t been doing so well since the big battle where he died and came back to life.  He constantly wants to suck the life out of everyone and everything. So he spends most of his time drunk and generally avoiding responsibility, including his job as co-head of the Authority.  But suddenly, he has a mission he can’t ignore.  A beautiful redhead named Dessa taps him to help her search for her brother’s killer and it’s tied to the Authority and the Soul Compliment threat.  He’s motivated to help protect the people he loves, not to mention his growing feelings for Dessa.

I don’t want to give away too many twists and turns.  But the plot goes in a direction I never saw coming. It draws on characters and events of the previous series.  It gives you reason to celebrate and it kicks you in the gut. More than once. Poor Shame is such a messed up guy. I loved reading his voice in the first person.  I loved getting his perspective on his powers, Eleanor, and (of course) Terric.  I have to say, I was a little shocked at how unapologetically he kills, but oddly, it never turned me off.  The people he killed needed killing. And he does it in spectacular fashion.

I really do kind of love Shame, his sarcasm, and his self loathing.  It’s not too often I read books from a male first person POV, but it totally worked for me here. I believed in his narrative and was totally invested in the trials he faced.

The ending is tough.  You don’t leave this story in a good place.  Things are bad for our hero and the plot is unresolved.  It’s not a cliffhanger as much as a first-part of a two-part story.  Fortunately book two is already waiting for me.

My only beef, really, is how quickly the relationship progresses between Shame and Dessa. It was definitely love too soon. But it feeds the powerful twists.  And it was nice to see Shame have something like a relationship that he didn’t reject. If you are a fan of Allie Beckstrom, you won’t want to miss this.  Not only is the Shame and Terric story great, but all of our old friends are back in supporting roles.  It’s good stuff… and anything but predictable.

Rating: B+

Click to purchase: Amazon

Hell Bent
by Devon Monk
Release Date: November 5, 2013
Publisher: Roc


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