*I received a copy of this book from the publisher. This has not influenced my review.*
This was such an oddly fun book! It was gory and disturbing but also funny in an absurd, irreverent, “I probably shouldn’t be laughing at this” kinda way.
The thing about this book is, it didn’t take itself too seriously. It wasn’t completely ridiculous either though—it just skirted that line between realism and absurdity and did it in a way that worked. So while I cannot say everything in this book was completely realistic, I can say that I didn’t mind because it made me laugh, it made me cringe, and sometimes it made me do both at once.
“Right,” he said. “They gave me a name. I guess they didn’t think I was smart enough to come up with one on my own.” He plunged his hands into his pockets, pulling out an assortment of folded papers, crinkled and stained, as well as an assortment of other objects including a pen, a rubber band, and a lint covered hard candy in the shape of a flower.
“You are the demon I summoned?” Elliot glanced over his shoulder out the window once more, as if there had been some sort of mistake. “I thought you would be less…”
But, while the book did have its comical (and sometimes downright weird and awkward) moments, it also had it’s darker and more somber ones. The book is classified as horror on Amazon, but it wasn’t scary, just gruesome. And there were demons, but they were living out in the world. So I would also classify it as urban/paranormal for those reasons.
Speaking of the demons, one thing I liked about them was that they weren’t too human. They may have been playing human for a while, but they weren’t brooding over their sins and secretly hiding hearts of gold. Nope, they were still demons on the inside who wanted nothing more than the simple pleasure of eating some juicy, bitter souls. But that was also what made it so interesting seeing Henry kinda maybe having feelings and not being sure how to decipher them. *SPOILER ALERT* Then he went and killed his wife, tried to kill two of his children, and forgot that his other two children even existed, so, you know, demon feelings only go so far, apparently. *END SPOILER ALERT*
Henry and James themselves were entertaining characters. (It’s kind of hard to tell from the blurb, but they were the protags.) I feel like I didn’t get to know them that well, but I got to know enough that I want to keep reading about them. At first I didn’t like Henry, but his mischievousness grew on me.
The only real issue I had with the book was that the POV was omniscient but felt more like head hopping and confused me in some scenes. This wasn’t the type of book that had tons of emotion or that required me to get deep in the character’s POVs in order to enjoy it though, so it wasn’t that big of a problem.
One other thing, I’m not clear on how the soul taking/sorting thing works. See, the soul exists as little jelly-like balls inside the chest cavity, and I understand why the author made this choice (I imagine he wanted something visible and tangible in order to add to the gore and gluttony when the demons eat it), but there was all this talk about quotas for Heaven and Hell (they’re like corporations), so I don’t understand how or when that soul gets up to Heaven or down to Hell if it’s not eaten by a demon and how humans haven’t discovered souls yet. I’d just like to know more about that and Heaven and Hell in general since I love seeing how they’re portrayed by different authors.
So overall, even though this book was somewhat slow-paced, I got hooked once I started reading, I enjoyed the gory yet quirky nature of it, and I’d love to see what Henry and James get up to next!
For two villainous nobles, it is a desperate means to an end. For two clever demons…it is one hell of a tax break.
Henry and James have accidentally staked claim on the same soul. Elliot Dosett, the bitter and sickly son of a successful steel magnate, summoned a demon in hopes of solving his trouble with his father and inheriting the estate. Violet Clifton, his aunt, also summoned a demon in order to rid herself of a useless husband and take over the business he leaves behind. In order to delay her own death, she also signs away Elliot’s soul. And so the paperwork begins to fly.
Lady is a fallen angel. He is also one of Hell’s top auditors. He is sent to monitor the activity of Henry and James. Once he finds out which demon is trying to cheat Hell, his job is to send them back in chains.
Henry will do anything to avoid being reported, dragging James and Lady down the path of a capricious scheme. Yet Satan is hot on their heels and will stop at nothing to hunt them all down; even if that means interrupting God’s latest round of golf.
Book Author: Jasper Black
Publisher: Chamber Press
Series: Swallow You Whole
Genre: Fantasy, Horror, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy
My Book Rating: 4
Series/Standalone: Part of a Series
Setting Location: Unknown