For the standard fun of watching a non-human have to adjust to becoming human, for a new imagining of Hell (and Lucifer, who takes an unusual personality)
Keegan has always been the unfortunate by-product of his brother’s creation. Their father, the Demon King of Fire, grooms Keegan’s brother Aidan as his heir while merely tolerating Keegan and his shameful emotions. But when his father tries a power grab in Hell, it ends with Keegan and Aidan being cast to Earth with a challenge of humanity. If they fail, they will both be cast into the abyss. Forced to work together with their roles reveresed, Keegan struggles with newfound demonic power while Aidan is blasted with human emotion. Navigating this new world while trying to save themselves is hard enough, but they begin to uncover secrets that leave them asking: what is their father truly planning with this challenge?
This was both exactly what I expected, and not what I expected, which ended up evening out into an okay read. When our two protags get to Earth and find out how their roles have been reversed, I was drooling a bit like “Oh yeah, this is what I’ve been waiting for!” But then for a while it felt like any other standard teen story where the main characters struggle with fitting in and having a crush.
For demons from Hell, this change felt weirdly simplistic; it was hard for me to accept the abrupt switch with so few ramifications of their original natures. Granted, this is addressed and it got easier to accept throughout, but I had been anticipating some more dire situations given powerful demon Princes of Fire were walking Earth….
Another crucial issue for me was how uninteresting Keegan was to me. His character felt very flat, whereas Aidan developed quite drastically from beginning to end. Keegan’s concerns remained fairly similar to where they began, and even his moments of self-discovery served more as a foil to Aidan and worked to illuminate Aidan a bit more.
And finally, threat of oblivion that Aidan and Keegan faced in their challenge was undermined by what felt like a very obvious answer to any problem, given the favor from Adramalech. I was confused at how that was either overlooked or blatantly ignored, and the way it was ultimately resolved seemed like only half the answer being addressed.
So, with all that, why did I keep reading it? Well, despite feeling rather lukewarm about Keegan and one (significant) plot hole, I was interested in the world and the resolution that they would come to. The resolution of their task was quite beautiful, and their discoveries about themselves and about humans resonated pretty well with me (a human).
Also, straight up, it was funny! Any time I get to watch a non-human adjust to humanity, I know I’m going to chuckle devilishly the whole way through. Aidan was no exception!
Thanks to NetGalley and Tracy Auerbach for a free advanced copy in exchange for an honest review!