Original Sin (Seven Deadly Sins Series #1)

( 56 )


Haunted by chilling memories of demonic possession and murder, Moira O’Donnell has spent seven years hunting down her mother, Fiona, whose command of black magic has granted her unprecedented control of the underworld. Now Moira’s global search has led her to a small California town that’s about to become hell on earth.

Tormented by his own terrifying past and driven by powers he can’t explain, ex-seminarian Rafe Cooper joins Moira’s dangerous quest. But Fiona is one devilish ...

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Haunted by chilling memories of demonic possession and murder, Moira O’Donnell has spent seven years hunting down her mother, Fiona, whose command of black magic has granted her unprecedented control of the underworld. Now Moira’s global search has led her to a small California town that’s about to become hell on earth.

Tormented by his own terrifying past and driven by powers he can’t explain, ex-seminarian Rafe Cooper joins Moira’s dangerous quest. But Fiona is one devilish step ahead. Hungry for greater power, eternal youth, and stunning beauty, the sorceress is unleashing upon the mortal world the living incarnations of the Seven Deadly Sins.

Together with a demonologist, a tough female sheriff, and a pair of star-crossed teenagers, Moira and Rafe are humanity’s last chance to snatch salvation from the howling jaws of damnation.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345511676
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/26/2010
  • Series: Seven Deadly Sins Series , #1
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 307,146
  • Product dimensions: 4.16 (w) x 7.00 (h) x 0.99 (d)

Meet the Author

Allison Brennan is the New York Times bestselling author of twelve romantic thrillers, including The Prey, Speak No Evil, Killing Fear and Sudden Death. Original Sin launches her new supernatural thriller series based on the Seven Deadly Sins. Prior to her writing career, she worked for thirteen years as a consultant in the California State Legislature. She lives in Northern California with her husband, Dan, and their five children. A member of Romance Writers of America, International Thriller Writers and the Horror Writers Association, when she’s not writing or reading, Allison enjoys playing video games and attending her kids sporting events.
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Present Day

It was the darkest hour of the night.

Fiona stood within the protective double circle that framed the perfect hexagram within a perfect triangle. Bowls of incense burned within triangles, six of which were perfectly and evenly cast between the inner and outer circles at the apex of each point of the hexagram, smoke slowly rising. Only when the fumes breached the invisible shield did the wind carry them off, swirling violently into the black night. The laws of physics did not apply to Hell’s gateway.

As it is below, so it is above.

The seventh bowl sat in the center, at the base of the altar. The trap was complete.

Her filmy, translucent white gown was unique in its meticulous and detailed silver embroidery. Woven through Fiona’s fiery hair was a knotted scarlet rope. Flames from the black candles at each point of the hexagram were virtually still, a testament to her careful preparation and growing power.

Seven of her coven stood sentry beside the seven triangles. They, too, wore white gowns with nothing beneath. Her obedient daughter Serena was at her left hand. Three men guarded the altar. And the key to the gateway to Hell lay naked upon the altar, covered with only a sacred red sheet. Abby was a beautiful sacrifice, her long, golden hair fanned out beneath her. She had no fear. She’d been taught well.

Fiona listened to Serena speak the ancient words from the Conoscenza, murmuring as if speaking to a lover. She’d searched her entire life for this book of knowledge, the book so many believed to have been destroyed. Fiona had never lost hope, never given up. And now it was hers.

Nine days of fasting, nine days of purification, nine days of denial culminating in tonight and the fulfillment of her promise. With power comes responsibility, and Fiona kept her word. With the knowledge contained in the Conoscenza, her gain would be far greater control and power over the elements, the spirits, the universe. One step closer to immortality. She saw it, tasted it, reveled in the electricity of the forces within her and around her.

As Serena spoke, her servants chanted their response. As she incanted, their voices swelled, fueling Fiona’s power. The energy grew, pulled into their sacred circle. She commanded the wind, she would command all!

This was only the beginning, and there was to be no end.

“Anoint our vessel,” Fiona commanded the three men.

Serena handed Garrett a gold chalice with a mixture of herbs, resins, and human blood. As he dipped his left thumb into the cup, Serena began to turn the supernatu?ral key by reciting from the book. Garrett marked the vessel, ensuring that the Seven would soon be under Fiona’s command.

“As it is below, so it is above,” Fiona intoned. “For every good there is an evil, for every virtue there is a vice.”

Garrett put his thumb on the vessel’s forehead and drew a triangle. One of the women entered the inner circle and lit one of the seven candles, reciting a prayer of obedience.

Fiona continued the ritual, moving from triangle to triangle, with Garrett anointing and Serena reading from the book. He looked at Fiona over the cup, his eyes on fire. His lust, his fever, inspired her and she summoned each woman in turn, each a chosen guardian of one of the Seven.

Serena stepped away from the altar in the middle of the ritual and Fiona whirled around. “No one breaks the circle!”

“She’s here.”

Fiona looked upon her coven, smiling victoriously. She’d told them the arca would come.

—And the blood of the virtuous will seal the seven, and thee who seals the arca will rule—

Lily Ellis stood outside the double circle. Her long, pale red hair whipped about her face, her fair skin nearly translucent. She was rail thin, a wisp of a girl, but with the power of virtue and a soul dedicated to this moment. Fiona knew the girl’s inner strength would be strong enough, as she had been prepared as the vessel had been. If not, she’d die tonight, and Fiona would find another arca. There were others who had been dedicated; others who could serve her purpose. But the signs weren’t wrong: Lily Ellis was the one.

Fiona whispered to Serena, “Are you ready?”


“Bring her forth.”

Serena walked to the edge of the circle. She’d been cleansed and could not break the circle without harm, but Fiona was certain Lily Ellis did not know this, nor that once Lily entered the circle she would not be allowed to leave until the ritual was complete. And when the Seven were trapped, Fiona would have the power of legions of demons on her side, and elevate herself to a mortal god. Closer to victory over death, victory over age, victory over humanity.

“We will not harm you.”

Lily said, her voice shaking, “Pul-please let her go.”

“You would take her place?” Serena asked.

Serena understood the power of words. Would take her place was not an offering or an exchange, it was a question. Because no one could save Abby. She was the sacrifice through which the Seven would come forth; Abby was the key that unsealed the prison. She had been recruited because she was the arca’s closest friend and blood relative, a cousin. Both only daughters of witches who were only daughters of witches. Not necessary for the ritual, but Fiona preferred balance and rhythm in her rituals, and Lily and Abby provided a nice, even canvas.

The girl’s lips trembled. She had not dressed for the chill, her arms pulling her thin sweater tight around her. The fog rose from the ocean, rolling over the edge of the cliffs toward their circle. “Please—”

“Would you?” Serena asked.

Tears glistened in the candlelight. “Y-Yes.”

Serena put out her hand, palm up.

Lily hesitated. Fiona closed her eyes and pictured the surroundings. She sent out her Third Eye, her psychic self, looking for anyone lurking in the cypress. Beyond that was open space, cliffs, and the highway more than a mile to the west. Open space protected them. There was no one to stop her. She’d know long before anyone could get close. Victory was in her grasp. Power swelled in her breast.

Lily had to cross the circle of her own free will.

She had to agree to taste the forbidden fruit.

Lily looked around at the cloaked men and women. Nervous, scared, uncertain. Fiona nodded to Garrett. He pushed back his hood and turned to face Lily.

The arca gasped. “Pastor Garrett—”

“Come, child.” He opened his arms to her, palms up like Serena. Welcoming. Benign. His strikingly handsome face seduced women of all ages to do exactly what he wanted.

Lily swallowed, then stepped into the circle. She stopped, her face twisted in fearful confusion as the stillness of the air within the circle surprised her.

Serena removed the extra gown from her shoulders and said, “Wear this.”

Lily looked around, her eyes darting nervously from Garrett to the other men.

Serena laughed lightly. “Would you like them to close their eyes?”

She nodded, shaking. Fiona put up her hand and nodded to the men. “The arca commands privacy.”

Ian and Richard closed their eyes. Garrett smiled at Fiona as he put his hood back on, then closed his as well. She allowed him to gloat. Fiona had been skeptical of a seventeen-year-old virgin, but Garrett was never wrong about these things.

The girl took off her clothes, not meeting the eyes of the women who watched. Abby, a willing participant only because she didn’t know that her death was required, said, “Lily, there’s nothing to be scared about.”

“Abby—” Lily glanced around, her big, brown eyes wide, the reflection of the candles making them seem bottomless. “Please, let’s go.”

“No,” Abby said, irritated. “I thought you wanted to share this with me.”

Lily opened her mouth to speak, but Fiona could not allow her to cast doubt within Abby. Fiona said, “Relax, Abby, you need to be perfectly calm in order to achieve your elevated state.”

“Yes, medea.”

“The anointing,” Fiona said.

Serena had a small gold triangle-shaped box in her hand. The box contained a resin, made in part with blood of a newborn goat, olive oil, scammony, myrrh, and civet. The recipe came from the Conoscenza to aid the Seven in finding the arca once they were released. Serena marked Lily with the seven signs, on her forehead, each hand, her heart, her stomach, her pubis, and her left hip. There was an opening in the gown at each point so the mark wouldn’t be concealed. At each step, Serena whispered the commands, in Latin so the girl wouldn’t be afraid.

Garrett handed Serena a closed ball of simmering henbane. Serena opened it, allowing the hallucinogenic fumes to flow into Lily’s senses. One. Two. Three.

She closed the ball, handed it back to Garrett, and took Lily’s hand. The henbane would keep her compliant, for Fiona couldn’t have her fight back now. The wine she would soon drink—willingly or not—would attract the Seven to her, like a bitch in heat attracts a male dog. If the Seven escaped the arca it would be impossible to recapture all of them. At this momentous time, there was no room for error.

Serena brought Lily to the altar and laid her on her back, the top of her head touching Abby’s head. One was a vessel through which the demons would enter the world, the other was a container where they would be trapped.

It was perfect.

“Abby,” Lily whispered.

“Silence,” Fiona ordered. “It has begun.”

She continued the ritual she’d begun before the arca arrived, the growing tension and excitement filling her with physical and spiritual power.

Fiona would succeed where other, weaker magicians had failed. For centuries, individual witches and covens had attempted to locate the Conoscenza and failed. Attempted to find the Tree of Life and failed. Many had died in their failures.

Fiona would not fail. She would not die.

She would live forever.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 56 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 56 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 13, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:


    Before reading this book, read...[What You Can't See] by Allison Brennan..It's the beginning story to [Original Sin]. [What you can't see]is three novels in one book the story you want is the first story...[Deliver Us From Evil]I can't wait for the next book due out 6/22/10 enjoy

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 10, 2010

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    terrific urban fantasy

    Since escaping from the queen of the underworld her evil mother Fiona the black magic practitioner, Moira O'Donnell has trained mentally and physically for several years to reach the point of not just demon hunter, but confronting mommy dearest. Her mentor Father Philip of the St. Michael's Monastery has taught or arranged for Moira to receive lessons in magical combat.

    Time has run out and though Moira feels unready she knows her mother plans to use a special incantation to open a portal to Hell that will enable the malevolent witch to control demons and the seven deadly sins. In Santa Louisa, California, Fiona begins her spell after an assault on a nearby mission left one survivor former seminarian Rafe Cooper. He leaves the hospital and interrupts the enchantment at a critical moment; allowing the seven deadly sins to cross as living essences. Moira, Rafe, demonologist Anthony Zaccardi, local sheriff Skye McPherson and two haunted teens unite to battle Fiona, her minion and seven deadly sins.

    This is a terrific opening urban fantasy that contains a high degree of suspense. The allies are an interesting mix as each has baggage and distrust of one another while failure to unite means defeat. Fiona is super villainess with her thirst for power, which is thwarted by the bungling of Rafe leading to rage. Fans will relish this first of the Seven Deadly Sins as Allison Brennan makes her demonic invasion seem real.

    Harriet Klausner

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 5, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Brennan Writes Paranormal as Well as She Writes Romantic Suspense

    Allison Brennan usually rocks our world with a novel about human evil. Original Sin is an awesome novel about the evil that uneducated humans release on the world, a demonic evil. Brennan slips easily from romantic suspense into a paranormal/speculative story arc. Moira is a woman who was born into one of the most evil covens of all. She is expected to take her role in the coven with grace and dignity. Instead she goes to the enemy: St. Michael's Order. The next several years of Moira's life are spent trying to undo all the evil she had done while under the care of her mother. In present day Santa Louisa California, Hell is literally coming to earth. A very powerful coven has released the Seven Deadly sins and it didn't quite go the way they had planned it. Now the seven are wrecking havoc on what was once a peaceful little town. Moira is only one person. Can she and St. Michael's Order calm the chaos or is it truly the beginning of the End?

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 3, 2010

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    Gives a whole new meaning to the word 'Thriller'...

    Boy, I thought I knew what I was getting into when I started reading this book. I'd read 'What You Can't See', also authored by Ms. Brennan, and was prepared to join the battle between good and evil, spearheaded by the demonologist, Anthony, and his partner, Sherrif Skye. Then, renounced witch, Moira, together with Rafe Cooper, come along for the ride. As they discover the unholy depths to which their advisaries will go toward the success of their cause, they are rattled by necessity to trust and depend on those who are suspect in their loyalties and actions. It is only in believing in each other that they have a hope of succeeeding. Not an easy task. There is much history here, and not all of it is good. And yet they perservere. Interestingly, what I found after reading the first chapter, is that this book literally frightened me into putting it down. Honestly. I'd read a few chapters, put the book down, then stare at it for a few moments; my mind only able to absorb the level of treachery, violence, and evil for just so long. I'm not saying I disliked this book - on the contrary, I truly enjoyed it. It's been quite a while since I've read a book where it's effect was so disturbing that I could only read it in stages. I think after all the books, tv shows, and movies about witches, vampires, werewolves and so forth (now don't get me wrong...I watch and read them, too), it's refreshing to see that the most basic fundamentals of our belief systems can be examined and brought to literary life in these pages. No one wants to believe in ulitmate evil; yet we see and hear about it on a daily basis until our senses become nearly numb to its prevelence and frequency. It is difficult to believe that there are those out there who are committed to their faith enough to see us through evil with light and love. That being said, as this book is a fanatsy, it was very well done. But, somewhere in the back of my mind, there is a hope that people like Anthony, Skye, Rafe and Moira really do exist. And if so, I'm glad they're on our side...

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 2, 2010

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    I Also Recommend:

    Moira is my kind of heroine.

    Moira O'Donnell is a former witch on the hunt for the coven causing evil in the small town of Santa Louisa, California. She is fearful of using her former magic to combat the evil in town. A big no-no. When the Seven Deadly Sins are let loose, it is up to Moira and her team to stop the deadly sins and stop the big, bad witch...Moira's mother.

    Brennan has kept the suspense thriller she is well-known for and added a wonderful paranormal twist to the story. Fans of Allison Brennan will love this new tale and fans of paranormal will add Allison Brennan to their keeper shelf.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 7, 2014

    Must Read if reading the others

    Allison Brennan is a wonderful writer. If you are into the unearthly demons and such then this is a good read along with Carnal Sin and What you can't see (this one is just a short story in a book of other short stories). I have enjoyed them and I wasn't into demons and the devil. They make you think.

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  • Posted July 22, 2013

    Highly recommended

    I've read book 1 & 2 when is book three coming out?

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  • Posted July 2, 2011

    Love it!

    But i hate that Random house abandoned the series after only 3!

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  • Posted May 27, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    First Book By Allison Brennan and Certainly Not the Last

    This was my first book by Allison Brennan and she has hooked me for life. In simple terms, I loved this book. Loved it! I found the perfect balance of a supernatural storyline (witches and demons, anyone?) with a touch of romance, all helmed by a strong, independent and very likable heroine. What could possibly be wrong with it?

    While Original Sin was full of supernatural themes, witchery and demonology I found it more suspenseful than terrifying (and I mean that as a compliment). There were more than a few lunch hours that I stretched out because I simply did not want to put the book down, so engrossed with Moira, Fiona, Serena, Rafe and Anthony I had become. I was both impatient to get to the end of the book and dreaded turning that final page.

    Ms. Brennan's writing is crisp, descriptive and draws the reader in quickly. I could picture not only the characters but the targeted town of Santa Louisa, as well as the demons and demonic creatures that were peppered throughout the novel.

    Moira was perhaps one of the best heroines I have recently had the pleasure of meeting through reading. She's strong and determined and can take care of herself without benefit of a man just fine, thank you. What a nice surprise to have a heroine who doesn't fall apart at the first sign of trouble or danger!

    Original Sin certainly isn't the first book to use the Seven Deadly Sins as its basis, nor will it be the last, but how much worse a villain could there be but Satan? I found the central Satan/Seven Deadly Sins storyline fascinating enough but Moira's backstory of being born for a purpose, running from her dangerous mother for seven years and a lost fiance were the blood red cherry on top of this paranormal sundae.

    As much as I hated for this book to end, I took some consolation in knowing that Original Sin is but the first book in a three book series. I simply cannot wait for the next book to be released so I can catch up with Moira in her quest to fight off demonic forces.

    I would recommend this book to any reader who enjoys supernatural, horror or thriller genres. For readers who appreciate a lot of romance, Original Sin may not be your cup of tea. By the same token, if you are easily offended by crude language and/or scenes of a sexual nature, you might be more offended than interested. I would also recommend to any television or film producer looking for a good project to look no further - - Original Sin would make a fantastic movie!

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  • Posted April 16, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Original Sin by Allison Brennan

    A different twist on the seven deadly sins and quite entertaining. Fast paced, wanted to get to the next page before I finished the last. Excellent characters, a must read. Am looking forward to future books in this ...

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  • Posted April 8, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Great start to a new series!

    This story showcases the classic struggle between good and evil, with the added twist of daughter fighting mother. Fiona makes Mommy Dearest Joan Crawford look like a candidate for Mother of the Year, as she gave birth to Moira for the sole purpose of sacrificing her on her 21st birthday! Moira was raised in the dark arts, with no clue that she was evil. To her credit, when it was time for her first human sacrifice, Moira rebelled and ran away. She's been fighting for the good guys ever since, trying to stop her mother's evil plans.

    It hasn't been an easy fight, as the good guys don't entirely trust Moira because of her background. She's heard too many whispers of once a witch, always a witch and despite trying not to care, it still hurts. She is also hampered in her fight because she can't use her magic, as it's too seeped in evil and she's been taught that the ends never justify the means. Also doesn't help that the warriors fighting for Good are spread too thin, as it's been years since St. Michael's has had any infants left on their doorstep.

    Think that this book sets up the series nicely. Fiona was trying to call forth the Seven Deadly Sins, but the ceremony was interrupted and the Sins escaped. Interesting premise - having the Seven Deadly Sins be actual demons. It's up to Moira and her fellow St. Michael's warriors to defeat Fiona and send the Sins back where they came from.

    Enjoyed the book, and am looking forward to seeing where Allison takes the series. Just to refresh your memory, the seven deadly sins are: lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride. Should be an interesting ride! The next book, Carnal Sin, is due out at the end of June. You can find more information about the series at Allison's website.

    On a totally random note, the first line from Annie Lennox's song Missionary Man kept running through my head every time I saw this title. Well, I was born an original sinner, I was born from original sin. Totally random, but I found it amusing. :)

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  • Posted March 31, 2010

    Decent Paranormal Romance

    Original Sin is the first in the Seven Deadly Sins series and is a paranormal romance. This was my first book by the author Allison Brennan and I wasn't really impressed with this book.

    I thought it was a decent paranormal romance, but it was really hard for me to get into. The beginning of the book was very confusing and I felt like I was just thrown into the middle of a supernatural war but had no clue who anyone was or what there roles where. Now I like it when a book starts off with a lot of action but I still need to know whats going on.

    The way it reads leads me to believe that maybe she has written about this story before in something so maybe those who are fans of Allison Brennan might know more about what was going on than I did. There was also a lot of things that I thought were a bit far fetched but I know its fiction so I can give it some leeway on witches and the seven deadly sins.

    My favorite character in this book would be Skye McPherson, she was a touch cop who was having to try and spend all that she believed and try and believe in the paranormal. Even with a demonologist for a boyfriend it is hard for her to believe in witches, demons, and covens. She is all about being a cop.

    Over all it was a decent read and I think if you are already a fan of Allison Brennan or you like authors like J.R. Ward then I think you will find this book right up your ally. Honestly I don't see myself reading the rest of this series but that is just because this one was not really my cup o tea.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2010

    Looking forward to the next one!

    I have read all of Allison Brennan's books, but I wasn't sure if I would like this one, at first, because of it's supernatural kind of plot. I am glad I decided to read it!!! She develops some interesting characters in this first novel and I am anxiously awaiting the others in the series to see what happens to the characters I liked best. There is something for everyone in this storyline; good vs. evil, occult worship, kindling romance, lots of action and strong characters. The heroine must battle evil by trusting someone, but she doesn't know for sure who.

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  • Posted March 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A different style of novel for Allison Brennan

    With Original Sin, Allison Brennan has written a different style of novel, moving her into the fantasy section of the book store. I'm glad she has - I liked her mysteries but they were getting a little redundant and it's good to read something completely new from her. This book still has the romantic tension she is so good at developing but focuses more on the plot, which I liked. The only problem was that there was so much information necessary to set up the plot and so many interwoven characters that I felt like I had missed a novel or two - that I was jumping into the middle of the series. I don't think that will be a problem in the next book though and I look forward to it.

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  • Posted March 7, 2010

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    Allison Brennan is a very good writer and this book is an example of this. I just don't particularly care for the topic of the book. Some of the characters are great but it is just not my "cup of tea"! I prefer her romantic mysteries. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys the paranormal. I no doubt will continue to read the rest of the Seven Deadly Sins series though.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2010

    better then expected

    I'm not one who really likes books about other worldy things. But this book grabbed me and sucked me in. I cant wait until the other books come out in the series.

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  • Posted February 28, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    book 1

    I wasn't really sure if I was going to finish the book. Not just because the first 50 pages was a bit on the frustrating side, it was also because I wasn't sure how I feel about Moira and because I felt a bit lost. But then Anthony, the demonologist showed up. His snide comments made him look like such a douchebag that I started liking Moira, especially when he decked him. LOL. We'll get into that in a sec.

    I love the concept of this book. Seven Deadly sins, unleashed in our world by a power hunger magician and Moira's mother named Fiona. That wasn't her original intention though, she was going to use an arca (which I think means vessel) in the form of a virgin teenager to serve as her most powerful soldier but then a mysterious guy named Rafe Cooper showed up and did something profoundly awesome. I was still lost in all this but after that everything started to make sense. Like I said, the first 50 pages were a bit frustrating. One of them was a mention of a guy named Peter. I was not really clear who Peter was and I started to think that maybe there was a pre-quel that I should read first to understand how he was related to Moira's past, a few chapters later his role came to light. So that issue was solved. I also like that I finally got a clue on Moira's history. Her role in her mother's coven how she escaped how she met Father Philip, her training with Rico, Anthony's animosity towards her, up until the time Peter died. But I still don't understand how she's seeing this visions from the underworld? I have my possible scenarios and I got one right so I wasn't as shock when I found out.

    My favorite character was Rafe, his character was the most intriguing. Sure it was probably his fault that Fiona sic the Seven but still... I remember thinking, what is he? how did he wake up on a magical induced coma? and who is backing him up? I kept reading until I found the answer and I like what I got. This is only the first of the series, so I'll give the next book a chance maybe that one won't have too many point of views.

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    Posted June 23, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2010

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