Vinaya's Reviews > Devil's Kiss

Devil's Kiss by Sarwat Chadda
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Jan 30, 2011

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Read on January 30, 2011

The Vinaya Monologues

Vinaya: So, I'm not sure what to think of The Devil's Kiss
Vinaya's Cartoon Devil Pictures, Images and Photos : Not much to think about, love, it wasn't some profound oeuvre.

Vinaya's Angel Pictures, Images and Photos : But it was interesting in parts.

V's little devil: *snorts* "In parts" ain't good enough for me!

V's angel: "In parts" is better than the unmitigated boredom of books like Hush, Hush and Fallen. Huh, those fallen angels aren't very interesting, are they? *preens*

V's devil: More interesting than those losers who couldn't stop preaching in that Halo book!

V's angel (hurriedly changing the subject): Anyway, that's not really what we were discussing. We were talking about how Chadda's novel had a certain amount of promise...

V's devil: Yeah, it could have rocked, if only he hadn't had those lame categories of supernaturals. The Beast Within. The Hungry Dead. The Dark Angels. Why could't he just say, werewolves and zombies and vampires and fallen angels, like normal people? He sounds like a pretentious Brit-wannabe!

V's angel: He is Brit.

V's devil (in a fake Brit accent): Yeah, that's right, innit? His mum and dad settled in Britain and his home is London, innit? Maybe that's why he subjects us to those long and boring descriptions of the dark and gloomy streets around Temple Bar, innit?

V's angel (dryly): You know the Brits don't say 'innit' after every sentence, right?

V's devil (indignantly): They do in Bend it Like Beckham! And that movie was made by another one of those Indian-origin Chadda people, so I figured they spoke the same slang, innit?

Vinaya (finally getting a word in edgewise): Well, I agree that the book didn't start out on a promising note, what with the Capitalisations OF Various Things In Order To Make Them Sound Important, and the token description of school bullies and meanness that had nothing to do with the story and meandered quite a bit away from the start. I admit, I was wondering if I would actually finish this book, after the first thirty pages or so.

V's angel (encouragingly): But then it got better, didn't it?

V's devil: Yeah, if you can call an unobstructed fall into darkness and depression 'better'. This book was misnamed. Instead of calling it The Devil's Kiss, they should have called it The Book of Doom and Gloom. God, that Billi girl can mope!

V's angel: She's only fifteen, for god's sake. There would be something wrong with her if she wasn't moping! Apart from the fact that it is the sacred right of every teenager to think they have the worst life EVER, she actually does have a pretty awful life, what with the constant training, the lack of opportunities for a normal social life, her outcast status at school, her best friend who abandoned her to go study in Jerusalem for a whole year, her cold, unloving dad, the guy she trusted who turned out to be her worst enemy... you can hardly expect her to be sunshine and lightness!

V's devil: That's exactly what I mean! This book is so gloomy and depressing, it's like there isn't one positive ray of light anywhere. She hates everything about her life and her situation. It's not natural. Nobody could be that depressed all the time and live. And that father dude was so stupid, too. Please, what kind of real father decides, on the basis of a half-baked prophecy by a half-insane Oracle, that he must sunder all relations with his daughter, who has already lost her mother? Therefore leaving her lost and bewildered and, well, depressed as well as pretty much orphaned? And then, when it is discovered that the prophecy isn't about him after all, they just go back to being hunky dory within a few hours, and all those years of repressed emotion on both sides just dissipate magically?

V's angel (despairingly): Isn't there anything you liked about the book?

V's devil (grudgingly): Well, they mythology was spot-on. No stupid mistakes with the religious texts, etc. I kind of got caught up in the narrative once the first thirty pages or so were over, and it became quite exciting in parts. And I suppose I do like Billi. She's not the best heroine I've ever come across, but she's nowhere close to the worst either. She's had a hard life for a fifteen year old, and it shows, but even though her voice is pretty mature, there's still some instances of rebellion and naivete that lend authenticity to her age. Kay was one of the weak points of the story though, his character didn't have much character, it sort of faded into the background and... (view spoiler)

Vinaya: Well, I was originally going to give this book two and a half stars, but it got three because it started getting more interesting as the book progressed. It's a lot darker than most of the YA urban fantasy out there, which is a refreshing change in and of itself. Also, for a man, Sarwat Chadda writes a convincing female MC, and that also deserves bonus points. I'd like to see where Billi goes from here, so I do think I'll be reading the next book. The Devil's Kiss is way better than A LOT of the YA fantasy that has come out over the last two years. It's a pity that, being a UK publication, it hasn't gotten a lot of publicity in the US. Some of the slightly more ponderous language in the beginning betrays Chadda's origins, but once the pace picks up, it's a gritty, interesting read. I would recommend it for anyone who's sick of the pink and frothy YA UF that's taken centrestage these days.
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08/23 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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Maja (The Nocturnal Library) There, you see? It's more entertaining this way. Please don't be thrilled about the next book on your to read-list!
It's 9am here, so thank you for making my Monday morning better than usual. :)

Vinaya Lol, I'm glad you liked it! :) The next book on my list is something called The Last Griffin which I'm sure will provide plenty of material for my next rant. I could be surprised, but I don't think so. I really need to read Charlie Madigan, though, I totally went and ordered the book ofter reading your review! :)

Maja (The Nocturnal Library) Whoa, I'm scared now! I like strong, no-nonsense characters, and I thought the worldbuilding was extremely well done, but that's just me.
I'm sorry to say I read the second book in a hurry 'cause I had other (one would say more important, but not me!) things to do, so it lost a bit of it's charm, but I'll read it again when I can. I liked it anyway, though, just not as much as the first one.

Navdha May I just mention how much your little Devil was spot-on and how much i loved him?
Awesome review! I liked Kay, actually but couldn't bring myself to cry for him or Percy. Maybe I'm not that emotional? Or maybe you're right.

Navdha Sorry for my naivety but is the little devil a he or a she?

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