*I received an ecopy of this book via NetGalley. This has in no way influenced my review.*
I found a lot of things in this book to be intriguing and unique, but there were also a few things I didn’t like quite as much, so it’s time for some lists!
Things I Liked:
– I loved the concept of a paranormal creature from another realm living in the human realm, trying to understand humans and be one of them, but still having this darkness in him that he can’t help simply because he isn’t human. That was my favorite part because in most books you have the brooding tortured hero (which admittedly I do like sometimes) who waxes poetic about what a monster he is even though in reality all he’s done is kill some bad guys, or kill some people in order to eat and survive, or maybe he did bad things but it was only to save his family from being tortured, etc. But Damon here was the opposite. He didn’t brood, but he really did have darkness within himself, and the author did a great job of making him very definitely not human. Sometimes he had the urge to destroy and kill and burn for no particular reason. At one point *MINOR SPOILER ALERT* he nearly burned down Thom’s kitchen and also hurt Sarah’s feelings when she discovered he’d been lying, *END SPOILER ALERT* which made him feel guilty… but he decided he didn’t like that human emotion of guilt and instead tapped into his power and spent hours happily playing with coins, completely forgetting the whole incident while his friends were upset. At another point he flat out forgot who Thom was and all he saw was a “smelly human” in his apartment. But the book itself wasn’t dark, and most of the time Damon’s attempts to understand the human world were just plain amusing.
“When I first met you, you were so whatever that you talked to inanimate frigging objects, as if you could negotiate with walls to get out of your way.”
“Well, in the Sideways—”
– Even though Damon was the most interesting character, I liked Thom too. His backstory was well thought-out, he had depth, and he was a good person.
– I really liked the friendship between Damon and Thom. Thom knew what Damon was the whole time but still trusted him, wanted to help him, and put up with his crap (I imagine Damon wouldn’t be an easy person to live with). And Damon cared so much about Thom that it kept him grounded and helped him fight off the darkness.
– The different types of magic and supernaturalness and powers were really cool. They were kind of confusing, especially in the beginning, but they made more sense by the end. The Night Hotel was also really creative and unique, as was the whole explanation about Damon. And I liked the way the wizardry and technomancy were described.
– The ending was great and also unique. It is a series though, so this is only a temporary ending, but one that I loved nonetheless.
Things I Disliked:
– I didn’t like Sarah. She came across as kind of crazy with how back-and-forth/hot-and-cold she was. There was even one scene when one moment she was scratching Damon’s chest with a knife and saying she should kill him, and the next moment she was sleeping with him. And she was too vulgar and in-your-face (well, in Damon’s face) with her come-ons, just kissing him all the sudden, climbing in his lap, etc. I liked her more toward the end though, so maybe there’s still hope there.
– I didn’t feel any chemistry in Damon and Sarah’s relationship. I imagine the romance will continue in the rest of the series, and I can live with that, but honestly this book didn’t even need it; Damon’s friendship with Thom would’ve been enough. His love for Sarah, I didn’t believe, but his care for Thom, I did.
– There were some typos and weird dialogue formatting (it didn’t happen all the time, but sometimes two characters would talk in the same paragraph instead of a starting on a new line, and I sometimes got confused as to who was talking). I had a copy for review though, so this might be fixed in the final copy.
So overall. I didn’t like Sarah or feel the chemistry in the romance, but I did really like the friendship between Damon and Thom, and I loved the magical aspects and the way Damon was so not-human yet still tried so hard to be regardless. There’s a lot of potential here for the rest of the series, and this was a unique and fun read!
*If you’re interested in learning more about the series, you can find an interview with the author here!*
Urban fantasy fans who like strong friendships, unique descriptions of magic and other realms, and non-human characters who actually act and think in non-human ways sometimes.
Deep in the Sideways beyond human imagination lies the Night Hotel where madness reigns. Madness Damon longs to forget.
A stranger on earth and a refugee from a twisted Sideways world, Damon slowly builds a life in Brooklyn with his only friends, Thom and Sarah. Learning how to live as a human does not come easy to the being from the Sideways. Memories of the Night Hotel where he grew up, and his guardians—Aunt and Uncle, still haunt him. Despite his bitter childhood, Damon is determined to forget and become worthy of Sarah’s love and Thom’s friendship.
When his new life is threatened by an Inquisition of human wizards convinced Damon is the same Mad God once responsible for the Dark Ages, he is forced to use the sorcery of the Sideways to protect it and his friends. But each time he uses the addictive magic of his home, he loses a little more of his hard won humanity.
Can he save them all before he turns into the Mad God the Inquisition believes him to be?