I have not had good luck with the angel/demon sub-genre of paranormal fiction this year, adult or young adult. I’ve read titles with half-baked world, easily guessed plot twists, and stories that ended as abruptly as the first half of a two-part film, only without the actual justification for doing so. In short: I was in a rather cynical mood when I requested this book. Thankfully, I was very pleasantly surprised by this and wound up enjoying myself immensely.
Myla (or Myla-la as her mom likes to call her) is a Quasi: a half-human, half demon. Quasis like her are a servant class in Purgatory; beholden to the Ghouls who are allies to the demons. All Quasis are assigned jobs, many of them quite menial. As her half-demon is a Fuhror demon- a wrath based entity, Myla is obligated to fight in the Arena where she fights souls who have elected to trial by combat to determine whether they go to heaven or hell. She has never lost and she loves to fight. The one thing she yearns for is to learn who her father is (a point her mom is obsessively not willing to discuss) and try to figure out what is going on as demons start behaving oddly in the Arena, she gets dreamscapes from the Angel Verus and she starts falling for a Thrax Prince (half-human, half-angel) named Lincoln.
Bauer does a good job here setting up the world in which they live; down to little details like how all Quasis are assigned a uniform of t-shirts and sweat-pants to try and discourage normal teenage behavior. Because we have a good idea of how the world works, the dreams that reveal the past are especially devistating. I love how there is no love triangle here. In fact, there is almost the opposite. Myla isn’t boy crazy. At all. She knows she’s started to crush on Lincoln, but also knows that because he’s a Prince, there’s not really a good chance they can be together and tries to talk herself out of it. I love the interactions here between Myla and her best friend Cissy, the envy demon and how the “dates” between Lincoln and Myla are anything but typical but completely fit in with the character that Myla has been presented as. She feels like an actual high school student without being a stereotype of one. And that is always a plus.
I do have some small quibbles -like the behavior of some of the Thrax feels a bit too bitchy and even though they (in their eyes) have reason to dislike her and there is a (thankfully) brief fixation with butt jokes in the begging that seems a bit juvenile and out of place given the tone of the rest of the book. Neither of these are major complaints though, and neither would stop me from recommending this.
All in all, this book has all the qualities I look for in a good book: a fully-developed world, likable characters and an interesting plot. If you’re looking for something fun, give this a shot.
Verdict: Buy it.
Note: This book is due to be published December 17th. Keep an eye out for it!