01/10/2008. Contributed by Eamonn Murphy
pub: Orbit. 391 page paperback. Price: £ 6.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84149-673-3).
check out website: www.orbitbooks.net and www.lilithsaintcrow.com
The Devil likes to keep Hell and its denizens under control so he is peeved when four demons rebel and go to Earth to hide. Therefore he recruits his old favourite Japhrimel back into the fold to hunt them down. He will be ably assisted - in theory - by one Dante Valentine, Psion, part-demon herself and skilled bounty hunter. Dante doesn't trust the Devil much (he does have a bit of a rep) but goes along because she doesn't have much choice.
After striking the deal, Dante and her demon lover Japhrimel separate. He goes off about some mysterious business of his own, advising her to trust him, and she goes home. Her house is blown up and she is chased across Europe and attacked by an imp, not a cute one. In Prague, she is finally reunited with Japhrimel who has gathered a band of helpers to aid in their demon hunt. She has to decide if she really does trust Japhrimel, the love of her life. Is he on her side or is he just using her to get back in favour with Lucifer.
The flaw in this book is that Dante Valentine has the character of one of those horrible, spoilt brats that Americans find loveable in movies. Half the novel is taken up with her petulant whining inner monologue, her tantrums and refusal to take instructions from her demon lover Japhrimel because... well because! The fact that Japhrimel is thousands of years old, is infinitely wiser and more powerful than her and was Lucifer's top aid since the beginning of time is irrelevant. No one can tell Dante Valentine what to do. Violet Elizabeth Bott has grown up and become an assassin.
I'm not sure if Lilith Saintcrow meant her heroine to come across like this. Happily, about two thirds of the way into the book Japhrimel finally slaps her down and she must do as she's told, albeit sulkily. Things get a bit better after that. They both know that Lucifer is not playing straight with them but they have yet to find out what kind of crooked he's up to.
With its moody European settings, its Nitchvren and Werecain (vampires and werewolves), demons with big black wings and glowing green eyes, not to mention sexy heroine, multiple explosions and fights, this reads like one of those straight-to-dvd action movies that are shown on the Sci-Fi Channel after 10 pm. Of course, Lucifer is always good box office so this might get made into a film. That'll save you reading the book.
The over-writing that marred 'Dead Man Rising' persists and may even be worse. The heroine's whining gets you down. It doesn't move very fast and yet, when I got to the cliff-hanger ending on page 382, I wanted to read the next one. I guess the damn thing has a certain 'je ne sais quoi' but frankly I don't know what it is.
Add SFcrowsnest.com daily news updates to your own web site or blog - just cut and paste the code below...
Stephen Hunt's novels - USA