A man can run from his past … but not his future. Symon Bryson lives in self-imposed exile until Monsignor DuBarry goes missing and not even the most adept of the magic practitioners can determine the reason for the abduction. The clues lie buried in the past amidst epic battles and horrific losses but reliving that failed mission uncovers fresh challenges and fearsome threats that reunite his old team. Symon must deal with his own hidden demons and confront the menace that threatens the delicate balance of power. When the darkest of all evils lures Symon into springing a long-planned trap, an unsuspecting world will confront the unthinkable. When all that stands between Heaven and Hell is magic, more than faith will be tested.
I seem to be having more and more of these heaven vs. hell books land on my metaphorical doorstep for me to review. And don't get me wrong, I don't mind one bit at all. I like these books because these are the kinds of books that make a person think about things while they are reading them. Not only that but they also draw from a persons internal knowledge base about religion and their own beliefs while telling a story, and how can you not likee a book that does that.
The book is really fast paced, which I appreciated. I have a hard time when a book takes a while to get started or has a long lag time in the middle of the book. It's in those moments when I want to put a book down and then never have the desire to pick it back up again. So again I say hooray for the fact that this book is face paced. It reads kind of like a mystery with an urban fantasy twist. So every flip of the page feels like you are getting one step closer to developing your own theory about what happened, or even finding out what happened for real. I do have to say one thing about the pace, while it keep me interested throughout the bulk of the book, I do think maybe the ending went on to long. When an ending goes on for two long, as a reader I start to feel like I didn't enjoy the book as much as I really did because it feels tedious getting through the last couple of pages. It's not a huge sticking point though, because like I said the book is fast paced, and kept me interested throughout most of the book.
Symon as a character is interesting from the beginning, because he lives in a life or a world that I don't think I would have imagined. It's interesting, the concept of having the Catholic church using magic to fight evil (and personally I can't help but think how cool that would actual be). But Symon really has to go through a journey throughout the book, not just to rescue his mentor, but a personal journey as well. He has to have some character growth along the way, which I enjoyed, because when a character doesn't grow throughout the book, whats the point? I also like that he is not the perfect guy, that he has made mistakes, and that generally speaking he is just as flawed as the rest of us are. It makes him easier to identify with and easier for me to feel an attachment to him early on in the book.
I also enjoyed that Symon wasn't taking on this journey by himself, he had a group of people from his past who were involved in the task at hand. I like this because it really outlines that one person cannot do it all, and the team dynamic was really great. Sure people but heads, or sometimes they get along, but when people unite for a common goal it allows the reader to not just get behind the main character but also to like the secondary characters. And more so than that it gets them more involved in the plot in general.
Overall, I would have to say this book is pretty good. I enjoyed the religious theme, while building on it, it wasn't offensive and was a great take on it. I liked the characters, the writing, and the fast paced nature of the book overall. I would definitely see how people who enjoy urban fantasy would enjoy this book, I'm not sure if the paranormal romance folks would feel the same, but I certainly wouldn't rule it out. It's a good book and a fun read.