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Nice opening novel, but the follow-ups don't match it
on 1 November 2011
Having bought this bumper Kindle release of all 5 Dante Valentine novels for less than the price of books 1 + 2 when purchased individually, I settled in for a good read.
I enjoyed the first book, Working for the Devil. I thought the set-up was interesting - and unusual. Bounty hunting Necromance, Dante ('Danny') Valentine finds herself facing a demon who points a gun in her face and demands that she accompany him to Hell, where Lucifer would like to engage her services to help him find a rogue demon who has escaped into the human world. Saintcrow creates a varied and decently characterised cast of support players to accompany her first-person narrator, and the ending comes as a real surprise. This book, I'd give 4/5 stars.
Unfortunately, the rest of the series doesn't match up to the first book. I did read them all - but it took me rather longer than I would normally expect because I was finding the reading such a chore! Had I not bought the whole series as a value bundle, I suspect I would not have bothered to continue beyond the second book.
After Book 1, and her transformation, Dante seems to have lost all ability to connect with others around her. She's constantly focussed on her own physical and emotional pains, neglecting and battering others. There is an awful lot of repetition - for instance, Dante's twinges from now non-existent scars, and the many observations of Japh's 'soundless' walk. And as for Dante's trust issues... they're just weird. These crop up inconsistently - though most typically around Japhrimel, even though she repeatedly stresses that he has never failed to come through for her - and leave the overall story an erratic, angst-ridden mess. Characters are discarded with total abandon, and the conclusion to the series is ultimately unsatisfying. Disappointing after the promise shown by the first book.