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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Review: Devil's Kiss by Sarwat Chadda

Devil's Kiss 
Pages: 321
Publisher: Puffin Books
Genre: YA Paranormal
#1 in Series
Source: Purchased
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.
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.

The amount of times I've searched for a novel about a girl who can kick ass without falling into the stereotypes of what it means to be a "strong woman" must number in the hundreds. Too often these kick ass female characters are only that--kick ass, and they lack the substance that makes them well-rounded people and interesting to read about. (Okay, so reading about a woman kicking dudes in the face is awesome, but, y'know, if she had a real personality that'd be awesome-er.) And while I love romance as much as the next gal, I hate when it becomes the all consuming thought of these women

I was nicely surprised when I found that Devil's Kiss gave me a female lead who didn't drop her life for romance and actually felt like a human being. Like a real 15 year old girl. Bless you Sarwat Chadda.

Devil's Kiss was quite fast paced. There really never was a dull moment, even from the first page. These are the first words: "Killing him should be easy; he's only six." Oooooohkay how's that for an opener? (For the record, no they do not murder a child. Well, they sort of don't. Ah, you'll see what I mean if you read it.)

As I was saying earlier about Billi not losing her cool over romance, that doesn't mean there wasn't any romance in the book. But quite honestly it was not a very deep romance--at least I didn't feel it--and it didn't cloud Billi's vision the way love oft does to young YA heroines. Which I was so grateful for, because Billi as a protagonist was refreshing. She was strong, yes, in the literal sense of the word, but she was also a bit jaded from her splintered relationship with her father. And she didn't quite have everything together in her life, which is to be expected of her. Gosh, she's only 15. She's practically a fetus. Watching her learn and push through her failures was nice.

This novel does contain lots of religious content, although it's not specifically religious. I very much enjoyed how Sarwat Chadda used a wide range of religious canon and brought it together to create the... I don't think 'mythology' is the right word here, but I can't think of anything else to call it. In any case, I thought it served the story well.

I am definitely interested to read more about Billi and the Knights Templar. My only regret is that I didn't read Devil's Kiss sooner! It's been sitting on my shelves for several years now. Glad I did, finally! 4 out of 5 stars.

Amazon: Paperback | Kindle
Barnes and Noble: Nook

About the Author
Sarwat Chadda has lived and travelled throughout the world, from China to Guatemala. He’s been lost in Mongolia, abandoned at a volcano in Nicaragua and hidden up a tree from a rhino in Nepal. Not to mention being detained by Homeland Security in the US and chased around Tibet by the Chinese police. Maybe he just has that sort of face.

Anyway, now he’s trying to settle in one place and stay out of trouble. Hence his new career as a writer. It’s safe, indoors and avoids any form of physical danger.

Throughout his travels, Sarwat has soaked up the myths, legends and cultures of far away places. Now, with the Ash Mistry series, he aims to bring these unfamiliar tales of ten-headed demons and blue-skinned heroes back home and put them beside the exploits of Achilles and Thor. His heroes are Prince Rama and the demon-slaying Kali. Isn’t it about time you met them too?
Website | Twitter 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Discussion: Why don't you like spoilers?

Spoilers are a big no-no for pretty much anything--movies, tv shows, and certainly books. Writing reviews that contain spoilers with no spoiler warning is considered pretty much a blogging sin and just a not cool thing to do.

I'll be honest though: I don't really understand why.

Okay, I do understand why--because I'm sure it would suck to have all the suspense kicked out from under you by a comment online you wish you wouldn't have read--but spoilers just don't bother me. At all.

In fact, I often look for spoilers because I hate the uncertainty of not knowing. That's just how I am--if I know the information is readily available, I want it. I will go and take the time to find out the details later, but I want to know the big facts immediately. My reasoning is this: just because I know that something does in fact happen, that doesn't mean know how or even why it happens. The "who what when where how and why" are what make things interesting for me, not the facts. So you can tell me "[insert character name here] dies" and that tells me absolutely nothing other than said character is in fact dead. How did they die? Who killed them? Why were they killed? What were the events in their life leading up to their death? All these are questions that can only be fully and completely answered by reading the book. And then the book actually takes on a completely different element of suspense because now that I know this character doesn't make it out alive it becomes a guessing game of when they'll die. "This chapter? Oh crap this doesn't look good oh god it's going to happen OH IT'S GOING TO--whoops, nope, they're still alive. We'll get 'em next time boys."

This sometimes makes it hard when I write reviews. Since I'm so desensitized to spoilers sometimes I don't realize that a fact I share, while I think it seems innocent, can be a total spoiler for someone else. I usually correct this by doing what I call the "summary test" while I'm proofreading. If it's a fact that is in the summary or easily assumed from the summary, it can stay. But if it's something that's not in any way implied in the summary, it's gotta go. I'm sure things slip through the cracks sometimes, but please know I do try very hard to keep my reviews spoiler free and I always clearly mark them when I know the spoilers are unavoidable.

I can understand why spoilers are so hated though. Especially if it's for a series you love, you'd want to be able to experience it completely new as you were reading.

So my question to you is....
Why don't you like spoilers?


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