Purchased by Joey, honest review provided.
Sympathy for the Devil
December 2, 2010
Pink Petal Books
You know what they say about deals with the Devil…
This time the deal the Devil makes is with God, who offers him a chance at redemption if he can experience human love. Easy enough, according to the Devil, who thinks that making the woman God has chosen fall in love with him will be a simple task. Unfortunately, Lucifer didn’t count on interfering demons, blundering boyfriends, and a young woman who has more questions than he’s willing to answer.
If you've already checked the blog tonight, you'll see below this entry, Joanne Renaud's guest review of this novel. We here at The One Hundred Romances Project hold honest reviews as our priority, so when agreeing to share Joanne's impressions of Sympathy for the Devil, I wanted to take a gander at the story myself and ensure the quality of the read.
Fair and balanced. Only without the obnoxious O'Reilly Factor.
Honestly? I just intended to skim the story, make sure it was something I'd be comfortable posting if I received the story in our inbox on its own. Then, oops, I got sucked in. Big time.
I'm not really a reader of occult/paranormal/fantasy stories. I'm a reality kind of girl. But I do admit there are factors that really make me stray from that standard. I am a Buffy addict. There I said it. Joss Whedon is my own personal Jesus.
And Buffy is what I thought of as I devoured Sympathy for the Devil. That, and Kevin Smith's movie, Dogma. Now, don't get me wrong, this isn't an in the style of kind of comparison. There was just a smidge of *something* that made me think of them. I think it was the fact that there was a sense of self-awareness to the story that makes your brain say, "Okay, this is the kind of story where you suspend reality and go with the flow. Grab a glass of wine and kick up your heels."
The story is this: The Devil, aka Luke Nicolini, the L.A. persona of Lucifer, is bored. Being the Prince of Darkness isn't all it's cracked up to be, and he wants out. Early retirement. He and God, who aren't quite the mortal enemies you'd think they are, discuss the situation, and the Lord decides to cut Lucifer some slack. With strings, of course.
The Devil, in order to punch the old time-card for the last time, must fall in love with one Christa Simms. The catch is, the love must be mutual and it must be real. Then, and only then, Lucifer will become human, will get to live a normal life, die, and have a shot at heaven.
What is the big deal about Christa that makes her the key to Lucifer's redemption? Well, nothing. And that's a huge part of the awesomeness of this story. Christa is average. She's not the most stunning girl in the world. She's just a regular girl with regular problems. Who just so happens to find herself Lucifer's romantic target.
Christa takes the news that Luke(Lucifer) wants to take her out to dinner rather well. And thus begins the whirlwind romance of Average Girl and the Devil himself.
What made me like this story? That self-awareness I mentioned earlier. Instead of a melodramatic and far-fetched story, Pope offers a rather normal tale of the bumpy road that is love. Well, if you discount the fact that Luke can snap his fingers and give Christa anything she wants. I smiled as I read, because there's a subtle tongue-in-cheek nature to the story. Just a smidge of it.
Christine Pope's style of writing is stellar. She handles perspective changes with flair. I'm one who easily stumbles over POV shifts, and I barely realized they were happening. The narrative was tight, the mythology she referenced and tweaked was done so with skill. (Another pet peeve of mine: Don't mess with the mythology unless you can do it well. Pope can.)
And what am I left with? A major crush on the Prince of Darkness. Not to be confused with Beelzebub, the meddling demon who tries to cause trouble for Luke and Christa.
I may get struck down by lightning by saying so, but if Luke Nicolini showed up on my doorstep, I'd be down one soul in the blink of an eye. This story was a very squee-inducing surprise for me.