*Novella generously provided by the publisher via NetGalley.
For more information please visit Karalynn Lee's website.
She was an angel at the gates of Hell.
When Kenan, an incubus, finds a caged angel for sale in the Hellsgate marketplace, he sees her as a challenge. Certain that his skills in seduction will work as well on a heavenly creature as they do on mortal women, he buys Jahel, intent on having her soul as a novelty in his collection.
Knowing he must gain Jahel's trust if she is to come to his bed willingly, Kenan treats her more as his guest than as his slave. When she reveals what brought her to the mouth of Hell in the first place—retrieving the soul of a young girl she was guarding—he even offers to help her complete her mission.
Though he has promised Jahel freedom, Kenan soon realizes she has captured his heart instead. And as their passion for one another grows, they find themselves caught in a struggle between Heaven and Hell, one that will lead them to the very edge of the apocalypse...
Demon's Fall is a novella and ended up being quite a quick read. Yet, despite it's minimal size this story was packed with multiple plot lines, interesting characters and creatures as well as lots of action.
The main characters, Keenan and Jahel, were interesting from the start. Keenan is an incubus and Jahel an angel caught and sold as a slave in Hellsgate, a place were mortals and demons mix. Keenan is something of a scoundrel and there's a charm to him that I really loved. While his original intentions are untoward- getting Jahel to give him her soul- he quickly becomes infatuated with the enigmatic 'gutter-wing'. Jahel however, was something of a question mark for me. We never really get a good look at her personality, in fact she's more aloof then anything making her feel under developed and leaving me not really caring about her one way or another. There was just no spark in her character unlike with Keenan. However, I did enjoy the romance between them. Often times it was sultry and yet more often then not it was simply sweet proving to be more a way of developing Keenan's character farther from demon into something more-hints the title 'demon's fall'. Often enough this is shown through references as to how he no longer seems to be as demonic as he was prior to his meeting Jahel and his lesser reactions to things such as holy water.
By far, however, was my enjoyment of the varying story lines from a dark re-telling of the famous Snow White to the awakening of one of the Four Horsemen to herald in the end of the world. While all of these aspects added to the action of the story, I think the fact that this was a novella detracted from the force of them. It would have been wonderful to see all the plot lines fully developed and explored a bit more rather then having them glossed over briefly. In truth, with all the plots going separate ways it was a bit much for such a short tale. It would have proved more useful to choose one thread and explore it. For example using the length of the novella to explore the Snow White aspect and allowing the development of the world and of the characters to truly blossom.
The world itself is interesting as are the creatures that reside within it. By far my favorites being Edom and Lilith. While they only appear briefly they really captured me and I would love to see more of them. The time this world takes place in seems to be a mash of time lines giving it an almost historical feeling that I really enjoyed reading as well. It fit in nicely with the plot lines as well as a setting for a demonic marketplace. The locales are likewise appealing. We spend most of the novel exploring Hellsgate and all it's varying enterprises but there is also a Heavensgate, these settings being mirror images of each other and equally fascinating for the reader to explore though we don't spend much time in the latter. All of these aspects, however, only added to my sadness to see this cast as a novella.
Overall this was an interesting read but it was by no means un-flawed and certainly isn't for younger readers as it is at times graphic. This is definitely a world I would love to see further developed and explored by the author on a bit larger, or should I say longer, scale. Truly the potential here is wonderful but I was left feeling that it was unrealized.
My Rating: 3 out 5 Scars
Advisory: Graphic sexual content