Author: Julie Hall
Publishing Date: May 16, 2017
I received this book from Julie in exchange for an honest and objective review.
“Death was only the beginning.”
Audrey has died and is now faced with what her Life After will be like. She’s less-than-happy about waking up in a new world with no memories of her past life but when she’s assigned to demon-hunting duty for all eternity she’s sure that there has been a cosmic mistake.
Seeing how she’s never been the type to get down and dirty, and she’d much rather wear makeup than sweat, she can’t fathom why God would assign her to Demon Duty. Her trainer, Logan, isn’t thrilled with being assigned to her, either. He knows better than to question God but that doesn’t make him any happier to be stuck with Audrey. Just as the two have worked out a way to function in the same room without arguing they are thrust into a situation that leads to rash decision making, thus altering their relationship in a way they least expected.
Audrey continues to train and battle against the fact that her skills are better set for dressmaking than they are for head rolling, but before she knows it an ancient weapon has chosen her to wield its fierce power. As the rest of her community is in cautious awe she finds that she’s also attracted the attention of Satan. With Satan’s attention hooked on Audrey, the battle is just beginning.
Pros and Cons:
Personal: The following sentences explain my personal experience with this novel and in no way discusses the literary merits of this work. If you would like to skip this portion to purely discuss the facts, please skip down to the “Literary Merit” portion and read from there. First, l
et me start by saying that this book is so much more than just a work of fiction. With clear Christian undertones, this book approaches some of life’s many questions in a highly relatable way. For those of you who are not of any faith, what I’m about to say may sound strange. This book reached me on a spiritual level beyond that of just traditional fiction. As I have personally struggled with the same questions Audrey asks, and even with the same guilt she has in being angry with God – whom society teaches us we are not supposed to ever question or feel any animosity towards – I felt this novel touched me in such a personal way. You can easily tell that Audrey wrote this novel with such tenderheartedness and love – it makes some of the tough truths in this novel much easier to withstand.
As a Christian, I believe God speaks to us in many ways, and though in my anger I have tried running from Him, He still found a way to reach out to me in a way that He knew I would hear him – through a book. He chose a work of fiction that not only has an awesome synopsis but stunning cover art that would draw me in so that I could lower my guard and hear Him speak to me through Audrey’s story. It is in His love that He paid attention to the things that I love so that He could better communicate with me. I am in awe of His wonder and am so thankful to Julie for letting God work through her in this novel.
One of the things that I really loved about this novel was a simple beauty that Julie used to paint heaven. From a Biblical standpoint, it is said that no person can fathom it’s beauty, so I appreciate that she didn’t go over-the-top in creating a world that was too extravagant to comprehend. It allowed for a much smoother flow to the story and easier images to be painted in my mind’s eye.
I also liked that the Romance in this novel wasn’t gritty. There were no sex scenes are intense sexual tension. There was a heavy pull between the characters that expressed a passionate hunger – a hunger to be closer and know more of each other. This kind of pure visual of the attraction between two people was more enjoyable for me than the grittier, sexier scenes in other novels. It felt pure and real and I craved the dialogue between these characters almost more than the plot itself at times.
The only downfall I could possibly imagine in this book would be that Julie created such an intense draw between the romance in the characters that I struggled at times to not skip through other parts of the plot simply because I was so eager to experience more interaction between these two. The romance wasn’t the focus of the novel, but for those of you who hate romance (as I myself don’t like reading it) just beware that you might get swept up by this one!
Audrey is by far my favorite character! She is relatable, stubborn, impulsive, ultimately has such a sweet heart. Her questioning mind gives her no rest and she’s highly sensitive (so essentially she’s my twin.) Though I know her approach to certain things isn’t appropriate I guess it’s her relatability that ultimately makes me biased.
I also really liked Romona, as she is such a fierce friend. She pays close attention to Audrey’s needs and is so genuinely caring. She’s encouraging and supportive – especially considering that she’s one of the few females in her profession.
Logan gives me different vibes at different times. Sometimes I feel like he’s a complete jerk, and at others, I feel like he’s just really reserved and respectful. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not immune to his charm. In some moments I’m completely captured by him and I feel like a 5-year-old pushing barbie heads together to make them kiss! The shipping in this novel is SO strong for me.
Ultimately, you could definitely tell that the characters in this novel are just coming to life, and they don’t really start to develop until closer to the end. I am very eager to see the developments in the next installment, Warfare!
I rated this Supernatural Fantasy novel 4 stars because the plot was interesting, and the romance pulled me from page to page. It was a well-written novel and had some very serious undertones that easily conveyed Julie’s message loud and clear by the end – we all have a purpose even if we don’t see it, and God’s love knows no bounds.
Given the serious nature of the topic of God’s love, a bit of romance, and the struggle with identity and insecurity, I do think that this requires a more mature reader of 13+. I am so very excited for the next book in this series, especially considering that it will be more focused on kicking demon butt, versus training to kick demon butt! A HUGE thank you to Julie for sending me her novel, and I am SO looking forward to the rest of her series.
“Well, I’m really sorry I didn’t get in better shape before I died. Had I known I’d be working with a bunch of meatheads for eternity, I’m sure I would have prepared a little better.” – Audrey
“For there are times when your eyes will be deceived, and you will need to rely on the truth burried in your heart to overcome.”
“Not to say I have any secrets, but that if I did they would remain that way. No offense, but I’m kind of a private guy.” – Logan