Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Working for the Devil by Lilith Saintcrow

(Dante Valentine #1)
by Lilith Saintcrow

Dante Valentine's working relationship with the Devil wasn't her choice - but you don't turn down a contract with Lucifer and live.

Hired to kill fugitive Vardimal Santino, Dante can count as allies only a demon familiar she doesn't trust and a small band of psychics. The thing is, Dante doesn't need friends, she needs a miracle. Because the first time Dante Valentine met Santino, she almost died.

My Review
Danny Valentine is dead. At least, she will be soon, since she's now working for the Devil. (And you thought your boss was bad!) Her mission: to track down a demon named Santino, aka the serial killer who murdered her best friend while she was powerless to help. She will be working with Japhrimel, a demon who Lucifer bound to her as a familiar, a couple of old friends, and her ex, who disappeared without a trace a few years ago. With treachery and deception lurking around every corner, Danny has to find away to avenge her friend's death that won't get her killed in the process. Not that Lucifer expects her to survive.

Everything I had heard about Working for the Devil before reading it indicated that it is an dark urban fantasy novel. It certainly has it's dark points; however, it has a much stronger science fiction feel. Perhaps it's being marketed as urban fantasy because Danny Valentine is a strong female protagonist, but my understanding of the UF genre is that the story takes place in a modern city. None of Saintcrow's world felt particularly modern.

Danny Valentine comes off as Buffy - everyone's favorite TV vampire slayer - when she gets in the zone. She's hotheaded and never loses a shot for a clever quip, even when it's not necessarily appropriate. She doesn't seem terribly multi-dimensional either. In fact, Japhrimel was the only character in the book who seemed to have significant development, and that was mostly because he was an unknown factor in the beginning.

Working for the Devil certainly has its strong points. It just would have been nice to have certain details in Danny's quest explained earlier in the story, or to have Danny actually listen to Jaf instead of constantly putting him off. The end of the book was devastating - I didn't see it coming, and I wish it had ended differently. One can only hope that there is some twist in book two that changes the situation for the better!

Lilith Saintcrow is a very prolific writer. In addition to numerous other adult series (details here), she also writes a young adult paranormal series called Strange Angels under the name Lili St. Crow.

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