Sunday, September 26, 2010
Review - The Devil's Kiss by Sarwat Chadda
Bookdepository / Amazon UK / Amazon US
Librarything / Goodreads
Genre: Paranormal Young Adult
Rating: 3.5 stars
First Line: Killing him should be easy; he's only six.
Summary: As the youngest and only female member of the Knights Templar, Bilquis SanGreal grew up knowing she wasn't normal. Instead of hanging out at the mall or going on dates, she spends her time training as a soldier in her order's ancient battle against the Unholy.
Billi's cloistered life is blasted apart when her childhood friend, Kay, returns from Jerusalem, gorgeous and with a dangerous chip on his shoulder. He's ready to reclaim his place in Billi's life, but she's met someone new: amber-eyed Michael, who seems to understand her like no one else, effortlessly claiming a stake in her heart.
But the Templars are called to duty before Billi can enjoy the pleasant new twist to her life. One of the order's ancient enemies has resurfaced, searching for a treasure that the Templars have protected for hundreds of years -- a cursed mirror powerful enough to kill all of London's firstborn. To save her city from catastrophe, Billi will have to put her heart aside and make sacrifices greater than any of the Templars could have imagined.
Review: Sarwat's book hasn't gotten too much press outside the UK. I have no friggin' idea why though, because it is awesome. This was, seriously, some fantastic YA urban fantasy that I think would easily appeal to adults. Sure, Billi is only 15 - but she has had to grow up really fast and it has made her more mature than some of the adult characters I read! (*cough* Faythe *cough*)
Billi is fighting the good-fight against the demonic forces - and it comes with casualties. There are angels, vampires, wolf-men and evil-spirits - it's like a seriously compact episode of Supernatural. It is fantastic to read - and has a few OMG! twists that you will never see coming.
There's a whole lot of biblical action - in fact, there is a whole lot of biblical references too. But what Sarwat does, which I found unusual in this new age of angelic!YA - was to include a lot of Muslim and Jewish myths and beliefs. Billi is also half-Indian, half-white - giving her a unique perspective on her role in the Templars.
Billi's "ethnic" background was just one of the many things that made this book so very "London-y". Sarwat Chadda recreates the city to a T - its multi-ethnic population just one of many things he got right! If you haven't been to London, you will visit it when you read The Devil's Kiss - and those of you who have, you'll love his references to tube lines, misty weather and dodgy characters!
So, while I thought the verse and setting were great, I did have some trouble connecting with major secondary characters. Billi was great - by the end of the book I really felt like I understood her. But her friends and family that she felt so strongly about? Well, they just didn't do it for me. It lessened the impact of some of the big scenes, and unfortunately made me bring this book down a star.
I have great hopes for the next book, The Dark Goddess, and can't wait to start it!
Bottom line? Kick-ass YA Urban Fantasy that will appeal to both adults and teens. The Devil's Kiss will keep you on your toes, wondering what the next page will bring!