Sunday, June 12, 2016

ARC Review: Damned If You Do by Marie Sexton

The path to temptation is paved with a hellish amount of paperwork.

Soul acquisition is a drag, but if Abaddon doesn’t catch up on his quota, he could be demoted to scooping poop for the Hounds of Hell. With a deadline hanging over him, he heads for the Bible Belt, looking for the perfect combination of sweetness and challenge.

Seth is a blind musician, part of a traveling tent revival. He’s cute, mystically talented, and quotes the Bible at every turn. His soul is pure enough to fill Abaddon’s quota for months to come, and Abaddon is determined to claim it.

The problem? There’s the revival foreman who watches Abaddon’s every move. Then there’s the mystery of Seth’s many unusual talents. Lastly, there’s Abaddon himself. He’s beginning to like Seth a bit too much. Maybe Seth deserves something better than damnation. 
But Hell’s agenda isn’t negotiable, and time is running out. If Abaddon doesn’t play his cards right, he could condemn both of them to the worst fate of all—an eternity apart.

Warning: Contains a Bible-quoting twink and an irreverent devil who’ll do anything to avoid going “back to the office”. Also, snakes. Lots and lots of snakes.

Jewel's rating:

​Well, if this wasn't just the cutest ​devil redemption story I've ever read! ​Ok, I admit, it is the only devil redemption story I've read, but it was still OTT cute! ​And in spite of the religious theme, and all the Bible quoting,​and there was a lot of bible quoting​, I did not feel preached at, in the slightest. What a refreshing surprise​ that was​!

I found Abaddon to be ​downright adorable. ​He was an awful devil, though. Always getting behind on his soul acquisition quotas, and never reading his memos and just generally being very non-devilish. ​He doesn't remember anything about his life before crossing over to the cubicle side of Hell, but he knows he made a deal with a devil, and, well...​that has the predictable consequence of a hellish existence in the hereafter.​ And now, Abaddon is in danger of being demoted!​

​"--but there are still plenty of things worse than soul acquisition."

Yes, and not all of them are in hell. For instance:

"Mowing lawns in Louisiana in mid-August, cleaning hotel rooms in Vegas, emptying bedpans in a celebrity rehab facility in Hollywood. There's retail work, fast food franchises, lunchroom duty, janitorial work--"

So, yeah, there are definitely worse things than being stuck in a cubicle fighting with 1980's era copy machines and paper memos and rules like "no laughing". ​

Even still, Abaddon doesn't really like tricking people out of their souls and, really, he'd rather take a long shot that would reap bigger rewards, than just take any old soul just to keep his quota. And when he senses Seth's soul, it's like the call of a Siren. He cannot resist.​ And Seth's soul is just so delicious, how's a devil to resist?!​

Seth is different than other humans that Abaddon has encountered​, though​. Sure, he's devout and actually believes the Christian doctrine and can quote pretty much the whole Bible, but his soul is so bright​ and Seth is just breathtaking​! Abaddon cannot help but be drawn to young man. Seth is something truly special.

​And while happy, Seth isn't really that content with his life. He's grateful for everything his family has given him, and he likes travelling with the revival, but he wants more from life. He wants to see the world and find someone to share his life with. ​He wants to fall in love. ​But God, it would seem, had different plans, and Seth is kind of stuck.

Meeting Abaddon was a happy happenstance, for Seth. Abaddon intrigues him, and maybe he should be afraid, but he's not. At all. Just the opposite, actually.

And what follows is a story I thoroughly enjoyed.​ And snakes. There were a lot of snakes. But we get to know both Seth and Abaddon and​ I found myself chuckling a fair amount and I even teared up a time or two. I so enjoyed them and watching them become friends and then fall for each other. And in the end​, they both win by being just a little bit selfless. That's Twu Wuv!

I would have enjoyed some steam, though, I won't lie. There really wasn't any. But I was so entertained by the story, that I couldn't help but devour it like cotton candy.


ARC of Damned If You Do was generously provided by the publisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

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