Thanks to NetGalley and Gallery Books for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: September 20th, 2016
Synopsis: When Fiona Dunn is approached in a bar by a man who claims he’s the devil, she figures it’s just some kind of of postmodern-slash-ironic pickup line. But a few drinks in, he offers a wish in exchange for her immortal soul, and in addition, Fiona must perform a special favor for him whenever the time comes. Fiona finds the entire matter so absurd that she agrees. Bad idea. Not only does Fiona soon discover that she really was talking to the devil incarnate, but she’s now been initiated into a bizarre support group of similar “dead souls” –those who have done the same thing as Fiona on a whim, and who must spend their waking hours in absolute terror of that favor eventually called in…and what exactly is required from each of them in order to give the devil his due.
I have to confess Dead Souls was an impulse request from NetGalley, but I really wound up enjoying it. Admittedly, there have been loads of stories about ordinar people, dissatisfied with their lives, making Faustian bargains with the Devil, but Fenn gives this a creative spin and had me hooked from the very first page. The beginning of the story with Fiona going into a bar and meeting the Devil, sounds like a really bad joke, but it’s not. Even though she doesn’t believe in him, before she knows it she’s made the deal and not only will he get her soul when she dies, she also owes him a favor which he can call in at anytime. It did take me a little while to connect with Fiona. From her first interaction with old Scratch, her decision making is, er, questionable. She’s impulsive, and a little self-centered, but once she realizes what’s happening she’s determined to break this pact and save her fiancé who is dying from cancer. When she becomes a member of the Dead Souls group things get really interesting, especially when Scratch starts calling in his favors. Things get bloody pretty fast. I don’t think I’ll ever look at a Christmas tree the same way again! The scenes are graphic but extremely well-written, and Fenn’s writing moves everything along at such a fast pace that I finished this in one day. This is dark horror at it’s best, and even though there are a few moments of black humor, this is definitely not a comedy. There’s also more philosophy than I expected which made this even more enjoyable. Dark Souls wasn’t what I expected but it was a pleasant surprise. If you like dark and gritty horror I highly recommend this!
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