Debut authors Schenck-de Michele and Marquez’s urban fantasy novel about Lucifer’s daughter and a peculiar shop.
Lucinda’s Pawnshop & Antiquary is no ordinary secondhand store, much in the way Lucinda Trompe is no ordinary proprietor: “Half mortal, half immortal, she had been sired by Lucifer on a human mother—THE human mother. The woman the Torah called ‘Eve.’ ” Gifted with the ability to change form and manipulate regular mortals, Lucinda spends much of her time selling specific items to the latter. These items work as “soul magnets,” which in their own special ways work to do the bidding of Lucifer. After all, “Lucinda’s father was hell-bent (she loved that expression) on bringing mankind not to its knees, but to its grave.” With an elaborate plan that involves a group of young witches, Morgan le Fay’s Book of Shadows, a cursed pocket watch, and unrest in the Middle East, humanity seems to be in trouble. It’s trouble that Lucinda initially aids, though her infatuation with a beautiful man named Dominic Amado, and has the potential to disrupt even Lucifer’s well-laid plans. Lucinda is of course half human, a reality that occasionally allows her to subvert her father’s intentions. Hatching an intricate plot, the story progresses from different angles at a cracking pace. While the concept of Lucifer’s daughter falling in love with a modern man as she works at a magical secondhand store could have easily become awash with urban fantasy clichés, the story maintains an original feel. Touching on historical figures such as Averroes and Francis Galton, the real is woven seamlessly with the fantastical, such as when a young witch conjures a water horse—“She flung it at the first wave of men, twisting it until it looked less like a horse and more like a horrific, gleaming tornado with a wide, open vortex.” Though a passage involving a dutiful young soldier and his feuding parents seems forced, the overall story proves itself to be both genuinely surprising and, if one can imagine the devil’s daughter falling in love, touching.
A worthwhile jaunt for readers interested in a mix of magic, mankind, and the sinister ploys of the devil.