I received an ARC copy from the author but that has in no way influenced my review, which I freely chose to write.
I have been following The Great Devil War, since the first novel, The Devil’s Apprentice, and loved it. I must confess I easily lose patience with series, so that’s saying something. I’m pleased to report that I enjoyed this instalment too, and I can’t wait for the 6th and last part, although I’m sure I’ll miss the characters once it’s over. One warning to people who hate cliff-hangers, this book ends in one, and it felt a bit shorter than most of the others, as if we were catching up with the characters after a long break and getting ready for the big finale, rather than telling a full story. But it is a good read nonetheless.
It has been a long while since we last heard from Philip, and when we catch up with him, he is not the same boy we met in the first novel. Readers who’ve been following the series don’t need to worry if they’ve read part four a while back, because, at the beginning of the book, Philip keeps pondering about the past and about the decisions that brought him here and that means we can easily get up to speed. Philip is unhappy and thinks he has taken the wrong decision, and of course, we all know that one needs to be careful what one wishes for, and strange things soon start happening. And then, he is back in Hell, but he soon realises that time moves at a different pace there and many things have happened since he was around. I won’t go into a lot of detail about the plot, but I can tell you that we visit Heaven again; Philip gets to spend more time with his father; there is a new character that will take your breath away (and one I’ve come across in other writers’ work as well); and a story development that I think might not come as a total surprise to readers.
There are the usual funny meetings and jokes (yes, you’d be pleased to know that politicians get a very suitable punishment), characters from the Old Testament have plenty of things to say about Jehovah and not all complimentary, and we have an opportunity to catch up our favourite characters.
Although the book starts a bit slow, and we get a look into a Philip more bitter and angry than we are used to, he soon gets thrown into the middle of things and I enjoyed seeing him become more and more determined and independent. There is evidence of a darker side to his character that we had had glimpses of before, but he has grown into a more complex character, and like Satina and even Sam, their experiences and their age have had an impact making them more mature and responsible, although that does not mean they no longer have fun.
I enjoyed catching up with all the characters, meeting the new ones, the interaction between Lucifer and Jehova, and although I’m not a fun of cliff-hangers, I know I won’t have to wait long for the true finale, and there are big and difficult decisions coming Philip’s way.
I recommend it to lovers of fantasy, particularly that to do with angels, demons, mythology, especially those who enjoy series, and of course, to those who have been following the series. This novel is book five in the series, and they should all be read in the right order for readers to enjoy it fully. If you haven’t read the rest, I recommend that you start from the beginning and keep going, and I’m sure I’ll be back soon to tell you about book 6.
When a child is born with the Crest of Light on the back of his hand, it's a signal that Satan, too, will soon become unsealed and threaten world domination. Satan's a bit of a heavy sleeper, though, so it takes another 13 years for him to drag himself out of bed. After he finally gets up, he demands that a female human scholar be brought before him, so that he can torture her for her knowledge of other humans.
The human his minions find for him is a secretary. She came willingly and has, in fact, been planning world domination for a while now. Not long after being brought before Satan, she negotiates herself from "human slave" to "paid employee with a conveniently nebulous position in the demon world's new organizational chart." As she completely reworks the Demon Lord's army to her own specifications, the Demon Lord is left wondering what happened and how he can somehow keep himself from becoming a mere figurehead.
Satan's Secretary was originally created in 2014 and first published in Japan in 2016 or 2017, so the parallels I saw between several things in the first half of this volume and current events and the Trump administration were probably accidental. But this volume was first published in English in 2018, and the translator had to have known what they were doing when they had one of the human characters say "We need to make the kingdom great again." Between that and one of the secretary's more detailed plans eerily resembling what's going on in the US right now, the first half of this volume occasionally made for uncomfortable reading. Oh, and then there was the way both the human king and Satan were so easily manipulated, and the king proposing the annihilation of some demons as a way to distract his subjects from his bad leadership and decision to use tax money for his own personal benefit.
So 2020 may not have been the best year to read this. But even if I had read it at a different time, I'm not sure it would have worked much better for me. Layout-wise, this volume was a bit of a mess. Panels were crammed with text and tiny art, making this a more exhausting read than I was expecting. And the comedy wasn't particularly funny. It was one part corporate humor, one part satire about bad leadership, and one part experimentation with conflicting tones.
The secretary tackled everything from new hiring practices for the Demon Lord's army, to improving the morning commute, to the complexities of providing financial aid to demonic families. It was clever, and I suppose it was a little amusing watching the Demon Lord struggle not to be overshadowed by his new secretary, but there was nothing that really made me laugh.
The Demon Lord and his minions were terrible but, despite mentions of torture and rape, were largely presented as jokes. It was no wonder they never succeeded at world domination. The secretary, on the other hand, was true evil. She came to Satan with multiple detailed plans for accomplishing world domination, and, if the demons hadn't had more of a conscience than she did, she'd likely have managed it by the end of the volume. While I liked her efficiency, her competence, and the fact that she didn't take crap from anyone, she was so coldly evil that I found her impossible to root for. There was a single moment when readers were given a glimpse of her motivations, but even that didn't make her more sympathetic or relatable.
One last thing before I wrap this up, more of a note for my own purposes than anything: there's a scene involving a lust spell that confirms that the secretary is canon asexual and aromantic. I still wouldn't recommend this for that reason, though, because it's not like the world needs another evil aro ace character. Also, it makes the moments when Satan imagines the secretary as his sex slave even slimier.
I didn't think this was completely terrible, but it wasn't to my tastes and I doubt I'll ever read more of it.
Single-page extra scenes in between chapters, five pages of the original 2014 doujin version, one full-color page, and an afterword by the author.
(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)
When Demons Walk
December 6, 2011
9 hours and 54 minutes
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Mercy Thompson series (Frost Burned, Night Broken) and the Alpha and Omega novels (Fair Game, Dead Heat)
Sham had spent most of her young life as a sorceress and thief, stealing from Southwood's nobility to survive. Now she must face the greatest test of her skills...
A killer has struck Southwood, claiming the lives of nobles. Lord Kerim, Reeve of Southwood, turns to Sham for help. Posing as his mistress, she delves behind castle walls to find the killer. But this murderer is no mortal-and Sham must use all of her magical wisdom to send the demon away. Because the city of Southwood has nowhere to hide-and no time to run...
When Demons Walk is book three in the Sianim series by Patricia Briggs and Narrated by Jennifer James Bradshaw.
This novel reads as a stand-alone. You don’t have to read in order.
When Demons Walk is a captivating novel. The intrigue and mystery were magical.
Sham, was the daughter of the head of the king’s guard and an apprentice magician before the magic hating Cybellians besieged the castle and killed her entire family along with many others. I very much enjoyed Sham as a character. I like how resilient and capable she is. I also loved how she pulled off her different identities and played the roles she needed to play in order to fool those around her and discover who the demon is.
Her life takes a turn after her mentor is killed and revenge on those that hurt him in the past is put on hold. Kerim, the warlord keeper of the castle needs her help. He doesn’t believe in magic and thinks that Sham is just a clever thief, but he’s open-minded and needs her help to find out who’s killing nobles in the castle.
The romance between Kerim and Sham is slow to bloom and is left unfinished at the end. Both are clearly falling for each other, but all we get is a kiss in the end. Briggs doesn’t focus on the romance. She’s more on the world building and having the romance be a slow burn. I feel like this might be the intended path, but since this is her earlier work and it never took off, then we won’t get the completion in this area.
There are a few threads left unfinished in the Sianim series. I’ve read the four books in the this series and I can say that the series isn’t complete, but still a very fun and enjoyable fantasy series to listen too.
Narration: Jennifer James Bradshaw did a fabulous job narrating. The audio was mesmerizing and well done. I was pulled in until the very end. I loved the mystery and learning about each character. I recommend the audio.
Rated: 4 stars
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I was born and raised in Northern Indiana. I’m an outdoor sun loving reader living near San Fransisco. I’m a mother, wife, dog owner, animal, and book lover. I’m the owner, reviewer, and mind behind Angel’s Guilty Pleasures. My favorite animals are horses & dogs. As for reading I love all things paranormal & urban fantasy. My favorite shifters are dragons!