In this urban fantasy tale, a half-demon’s human life is upended when an assassination attempt sends her back to her former lover, a Prince of Hell, for help.
“I should have known he’d be trouble as soon as he walked into my workshop, but I couldn’t have known he’d be the death of me.” Gripping from its first line, this debut novel never slows down, delivering plenty of action as Muse (or Charlie Henderson, her human name) tries to figure out who’s trying to kill her and why. Child of a human mother and demon father, she was considered an abomination and “sold at birth as a plaything for lesser demons.” Her cruel owner named her Muse as a joke before Akil, a handsome and formidable demon, rescued her. Muse and Akil were lovers, but five years ago, Muse broke away to live independently, working as a blacksmith. But soon after a threatening visit from Stefan—a tall drink of icy water in a red leather coat—Muse’s workshop blows up, and the only person she can ask for assistance is Akil. Is Stefan an assassin or someone she can trust? Will Akil provide real help, or does he only want to control Muse—or worse? Though Muse longs for a normal life, she’ll need to draw on her demonic half’s scorching power to survive her search for answers. DaCosta (Girl From Above, 2015, etc.) skillfully doles out bits of Muse’s back story as she gets in and out of trouble and back again, with much deft characterization and thoughtful, lucid consideration of how demons operate fitted in among all the exciting action. The setup is intriguingly psychological, reminiscent of Jessica Jones, the comic-book/Netflix series that uses the mind-control concept to explore abusive relationships. Something like a mistreated and angry inner child, Muse’s demon half is the locus of hugely potent, hot, enraged, erotic energy—but it’s also her weapon. Realizing that she needs her demon is essential to Muse’s survival.
Exciting, sexy, psychologically acute, this first entry in a planned series should garner fans eager for the next volume.