When Fiona Dunn is approached in a bar by a man who claims he’s the devil, she figures it’s just some kind of postmodern-slash-ironic pickup line. But a few drinks in, he offers her a wish in exchange for her immortal soul, and in addition, Fiona must perform a special favor for him whenever the time comes. Fiona finds the entire matter so absurd that she agrees. Bad idea. Not only does Fiona soon discover that she really was talking to the devil incarnate, but she’s now been initiated into a bizarre support group of similar “dead souls”—those who have done the same thing as Fiona on a whim, and who must spend their waking hours in absolute terror of that favor eventually being called in...and what exactly is required from each of them in order to give the devil his due. (Goodreads)
*I received this ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
4/5 stars, much better than expected
Dead Souls by J. Lincoln Fenn was a much better read than I anticipated. I'm a tough sell on "adult" works of fiction, mostly reading YA with exception to a few books here and there, but this book did not disappoint. It would make an excellent tv show or movie.
Characters - I liked Fiona, the main character. She's insecure, smart, clever, selfish, and realistic. I also liked her boyfriend, Justin. He was just as problematic and likable as Fiona. Scratch was charismatic, and not as flat as he could have been (thankfully). The other characters were likable and flawed, but they didn't stand out so much due to how they were introduced (through brief explanation in Fiona's narration).
Plot - The story, with exception to a part around 30% that slowed way down after a long time jump, was fast-paced and exciting. It's not mentioned in very vague summary, but Fiona and her dead soul friends are searching for a way out of completing the devil's favor. This, along with SPOILER, motivate Fiona to put her ass into gear and try to find a way to control her fate again.
Gore - Be warned, this story was about 50% gore. I don't recommend this to someone with a weak stomach because the imagery evoked is highly traumatizing.
The time jump - It came right after a pivotal moment in the story. It was too jarring; it started the build the speed of the story up from zero again, which felt disorienting while reading. We are introduced to around six new characters then and, to me, it was too much.
Names - There are a lot of names and character references and it was pretty confusing for me at times.
The ending - While the ending almost completely makes sense for the characters and situation, I was left a little stunned. It definitely didn't play out how I naively expected it to. (This may not necessary be a bad thing, though.)
The Devil's in the details, right?
Dead Souls by J. Lincoln Fenn will be published September 20, 2016.