According to his bio, Chadda was raised Muslim and married a vicar’s daughter, with whom he had two daughters, and he wrote this book for them so they could read about a believable, bad-ass, biracial heroine from a Muslim-Christian marriage.

Billi SanGreal, daughter of a white and unenthusiastically Christian father and a Pakistani Muslim woman who died protecting the young Billi from ghuls, is now the only girl in the modern version of the Knights Templar. The Templars protect the world from supernatural evil; though only Christians can officially be knights, they have a number of active allies from other religions. Billi’s group is down to nine Templars, and they train and fight like maniacs to make up for their small numbers. But Billi is tired of constantly training under her distant father’s harsh supervision, and wants to have a normal life. Good luck with that!

What I liked best about this book was the treatment of religion and religious myth. Though Christianity is central to the Templars, Jewish and Muslim myth, culture, and characters play significant roles that aren’t just window-dressing. The religious and racial diversity is handled in a matter-of-fact way, which I appreciated.

I liked Billi a lot — despite carrying a lot of weight on her shoulders, she mostly avoids whining, and she’s both pleasingly kick-ass and believably prone to making mistakes and getting beat-down by fallen angels. And I liked the grubby, believable London setting.

What I did not like was the prose, which varied from passable to absolutely terrible. Billi describes her own eyes as “black orbs” at least twice, giving me flashbacks to “The Eye of Argon.” And that’s not the only turn of phrase which is Argon-esque. (I should note that Billi never describes how pretty she is - it's all stuff like "My black orbs met my father's blue ones as I gasped in horror.")

Recommended if you like the premise and can tolerate some seriously bad prose and a lot of gross horror imagery. Also note that though there's some humor, the story is more dark and less fluffy than it sounds. (No sexual abuse or assault - it's dark in other ways, including but not limited to endangered children.)

Devil's Kiss


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