Exiled exorcist Lucian Negru deserted his lover in Hell in exchange for saving his sister Catarina’s soul, but Catarina doesn’t want salvation. She wants Lucian to help her fulfill her dark covenant with the Fallen Angels by using his power to open the Hell Gates. Catarina intends to lead the Fallen’s hordes out of Hell and into the parallel dimension of Woerld, Heaven’s frontline of defense between Earth and Hell. When Lucian refuses to help his sister, she imprisons and cripples him, but Lucian learns that Rachael, the lover he betrayed and abandoned in Hell, is dying from a demonic possession. Determined to rescue Rachael from the demon he unleashed on her soul, Lucian flees his sister, but Catarina’s wrath isn’t so easy to escape!
Show, don’t tell. It’s one of the first rules of writing that your English teacher tries to drill into you when practicing creative writing of any sort.
And yet, all Frohock does is tell, tell, tell.
We know Lucian loved Catarina, because the story tells us it was so. We know that Lucian loved Rachel and that he did what he did, because the story tells us it was so. As it was, all we get are glimpses of a backstory that could have been amazing, but instead just teases us with what might have been. It’s a problem too, because your investment in the story hinges on you buying that Lucian has remorse, and that Lucian loves Rachel. But here’s the thing: we never see Lucian actually loving Catarina. By the time we meet them, his feelings are mainly a mixture of hatred and fear. There’s some regret to be sure, but love? You don’t see it. Throw in the fact that Catarina is almost over the top villain – she lacks all subtly as a woman who wants power and will do anything and everything to get it. You literally can’t see why he would do what he did. Rachel says that she’s gone crazy. I do not doubt it, but why couldn’t we have seen it?
If there were ever a story begging for length, it is this. At 280 pages, I wish, wish wish that the book had doubled the length so we could have seen more of this tantalizing past, because I fully believe that the world created and characters that populate it are rich enough that they could have supported it. It’s so frustrating because I feel like there was so much more to see, but sadly she had chosen to tell instead.
At time of writing, the e-book was on sale, if you can get it on sale, I say pick it up. There’s just not quite enough here for me to give it my full recommendation.
Verdict: Borrow It