Breaking The Devil's Heart: A Logic of Demons Novel by H A Goodman
|Breaking The Devil's Heart: A Logic of Demons Novel by H A Goodman|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: A follow-up ride around Goodman's afterlife universe. We enjoyed it as much as we did Logic of Demons and were pleased to see dialogue and structure improved. Hell as a corporation has some miles to go yet. Looking forward to book three!|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 352||Date: April 2012|
|Publisher: Outskirts Press|
|External links: Author's website|
In this afterlife, Heaven is pretty much hands off. Angels whisper sweet nothings into human ears but don't go much further than that. If the living don't act on Heaven's advice, the angels simply practise what you might call courageous restraint. Hell, on the other hand, is much better organised. Set up like a sizeable corporation, its demons are purveyors of the Formula and relentless targets push the demons into becoming exceedingly effective - and dodgy - salesmen. Drink too much of the Formula and you're in big trouble - sinning all over the place.
Evil is vanquishing good. And Stewart isn't having it. He turns down angelhood and joins the Observers, a secret service (I was going to say spook-y, but that would just confuse the issue) type of organisation. Stewart has no intention of being tied by Heaven's non-intervention policy in his mission to defeat Satan. But he and his girlfriend are about to find that they've taken on even more than they had imagined. There's an afterlife conspiracy afoot and Stewart is going to have to solve that one, too...
We enjoyed this follow-up ride around Goodman's afterlife universe as much as we did the first one and actually, we were pleased to see some improvements. Hal likes a big plot - massive, actually - and Breaking the Devil's Heart felt tighter and more focused through sticking to one narrator (Stewart's) rather than the mutliple viewpoints he used in the previous novel. It was much easier to keep up with the plot's twists and turns. Dialogue has also had a fine-tune and feels much more direct and energetic now it's been stripped of overblown tags.
You could just take the book at face value and enjoy the fully-fleshed cast of characters, the dark comedy and the gloss of the plot. I liked the plain talking Layla, who tells it just as she sees it. And of course Franklin, the snobby British demon. I don't care who won the Revolutionary War - American War of Independence this side of the pond, by the way - a posh demon with a plum in his mouth just has to be British. Loved Franklin. Very funny. Once engaged with the cast, it's easy to enjoy Stewart's attempts to show that the end will justify the means. And the depiction of hell as a corporation with dodgy sales techniques and stultifying bureaucracy remains as fresh and as funny as ever.
But you can also enjoy the book on a deeper level. Goodman isn't shy of sharing his political and cultural opinions and these are legion. But they're all there for a reason - to show and show again that the line between good and evil is blurred. Can the end really justify all and any means? Really? Can you make use of evil or will such an alliance always prove unholy in the end? Can we really blame others for our situations? Or is it time to start taking personal responsibility?
Breaking the Devil's Heart has a fresh and interesting premise, a wide-ranging plot, some fantastic characters and provides plenty of pauses for thought. Roll on book three!
You might also enjoy One More Bite (Jaz Parks) by Jennifer Rardin which features an undead vampire CIA assassin, no less, and Everlost by Neal Shusterman, which provides an equally energetic journey around the afterlife. It's written for teenagers but no adult should be ashamed to read it.
H A Goodman was kind enough to be interviewed by Bookbag.
You can read more book reviews or buy Breaking The Devil's Heart: A Logic of Demons Novel by H A Goodman at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Breaking The Devil's Heart: A Logic of Demons Novel by H A Goodman at Amazon.com.
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