Dora Carridine is trying to summon a demon, but she’s not very good at Latin and nothing ever works out the way she plans.
Her life is fraught with weekly exorcisms and having to watch her father’s fire and brimstone TV show every Sunday. So, when Dora finally succeeds in summoning an incompetent demon lord, she’s absolutely delighted when all hell breaks loose.
She thought summoning a sexy demon lord would be the answer to all of her problems, but her problems are only just beginning when her zealot parents try to burn her at the stake, and Dora is left with only one option—to escape and follow her demon straight into Hell.
I was absolutely enamored by the cover of this novel, and the synopsis made it sound like my kind of read, but unfortunately, this novel really isn’t my cup of tea, which I realized fairly quickly. The story just drops the reader right in, opening on a scene where Dora sits in her church reading a grimoire while her father gets ready to give a televised sermon to his flock. What’s missing is the reason Dora feels the need to be evil and wants to summon a demon. There is no background information given, and as the reader, I struggled to follow Dora’s train of thought because I didn’t know her or why she insisted on being evil. Of course, as the synopsis tells us, she does succeed in summoning a demon, though he’s actually quite nice and human looking, and then her parents and entire town decide to burn Dora at the stake due to demonic happenings during the televised church service. Now, here’s where my issues lies. The entire town, in what must be present day (TVs) is willing to burn Dora at the stake. And, who heads it up? Her father—the preacher—and the police chief. That right there struck me as odd. Perhaps she was in a very rural town where vigilantism took the forefront, but then… her father has a televised church service every week, so it can’t be all that small, and if the demonic happenings were televised, then people saw it happen outside of the town, right… ? I don’t know, but all these questions within the first 20% of the novel gave me great pause as I read. It just doesn’t add up in my mind.
Now, another aspect of this novel that really made it difficult for me was that I just didn’t like Dora. She was nasty the entire novel, selfish, mainly, and she and most of the other characters cussed non-stop, which didn’t make her seem anymore “badass,” or endearing, or humorous, as I suspect was the reason the cussing was placed within the novel to begin with. From the first time she called Kieron her “bitch” and then repeated it (as did he) for multiple pages, well… it’s just not funny to me. I’d say there is cussing on a majority of the pages in this novel, and so I certainly can’t recommend it to a MG or YA reader because it’s just not appropriate. However, it reads on a MG level, which thoroughly confused me because I’m not sure who this book is actually intended for. Many of the scenes within the novel were focused on a very juvenile humor—such as the multiple poop references (on at least three occasions people are crapped on by entities such as a huge flock of birds or a dragon, etc)—which makes me think it’s for a younger audience who still finds that type of thing funny (I know I did at age 10), but with all the cussing and sexual tension, I also say it’s definitely not for that age group. So, I’m confounded.
Hell itself was also extremely trivialized, with barbeques, dragon hunts, and carnivals which made for an interesting rendition of hell, but flowed in such a way that I again thought it was written for a younger audience. If the language was cleaned up (I don’t think demons need to cuss every other sentence to be viewed as evil) and Dora’s life was explained from the very beginning, connecting the witch burning and explaining her society, I think this would be a read I would enjoy much more. As it is, though, I cannot recommend it to anyone. One and half-stars.
Ragz Books has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley, prior to its release on June 30, 2013.