Working for the Devil (Dante Valentine Series #1)

( 118 )


When the Devil needs a rogue demon killed, who does he call?

The Player: Necromance-for-hire Dante Valentine is choosy about her jobs. Hot tempered and with nerves of steel, she can raise the dead like nobody's business. But one rainy Monday morning, everything goes ...

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Working for the Devil (Dante Valentine Series #1)

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When the Devil needs a rogue demon killed, who does he call?

The Player: Necromance-for-hire Dante Valentine is choosy about her jobs. Hot tempered and with nerves of steel, she can raise the dead like nobody's business. But one rainy Monday morning, everything goes straight to hell.

The Score: The Devil hires Dante to eliminate a rogue demon: Vardimal Santino. In return, he will let her live. It's an offer she can't refuse.

The Catch: How do you kill something that can't die?

Dante Valentine Novels
Working for the Devil
Dead Man Rising
Devil's Right Hand
Saint City Sinners
To Hell and Back

Dante Valentine (omnibus)

For more from Lilith Saintcrow, check out:

Gallow and Ragged
Trailer Park Fae

Bannon and Clare
The Iron Wyrm Affair
The Red Plague Affair
The Ripper Affair
The Damnation Affair (e-only)

Jill Kismet Novels
Night Shift
Hunter's Prayer
Redemption Alley
Flesh Circus
Heaven's Spite
Angel Town

Jill Kismet (omnibus)

A Romance of Arquitaine Novels
The Hedgewitch Queen
The Bandit King

Blood Call (coming August 2015)

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Tough-as-nails necromancer Dante Valentine has a problem: the devil wants her to catch a rogue demon and, for the duration of the task, she must be accompanied by a demon assassin named Japhrimel. If she refuses, she dies; if she accepts, she'll likely die in the process. Dante decides to take her chances with the latter, but her hunt doesn't get into full swing until the book's final third. Instead, she pauses to take a ride on a "slicboard" (a skateboard that glides on air), to wrestle cryptic information from an assortment of nonhuman and magical people and to argue with everyone from Japhrimel to her fellow necromancer friend, Gabe. Though Dante is as prickly as a wet cat and frustratingly adamant about maintaining her loner status, she's a brave, charismatic protagonist with a smart mouth and a suicidal streak. What's not to love? Fans of Laurel K. Hamilton should warm to Saintcrow's dark, evocative debut, though the story's weak relationship thread may disappoint aficionados of the paranormal romance veterans Christine Feehan and Sherrilyn Kenyon. (Mar.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316003131
  • Publisher: Orbit
  • Publication date: 9/1/2007
  • Series: Dante Valentine Series, #1
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 595,168
  • Product dimensions: 6.78 (w) x 4.24 (h) x 1.11 (d)

Meet the Author

Lilith Saintcrow lives in Vancouver, Washington, with her two children and assorted other strays. She has been writing since she was nine years old. Find her on the web at
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Read an Excerpt

Working for the Devil

By Lilith Saintcrow

Warner Books

Copyright © 2005 Lilith Saintcrow
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-446-61670-2

Chapter One

My working relationship with Lucifer began on a rainy Monday. I'd just settled down to a long afternoon of watching the holovid soaps and doing a little divination, spreading the cards and runes out on the hank of blue silk I'd laid out, when there was a bashing on my door that shook the walls.

I turned over a card, my lacquered fingernails scraping. The amber ring on my left middle finger sparked. The Devil card pulsed, landing atop a pile of flat runestones. I hadn't touched it. The card I turned over was blank.

"Interesting," I said, gooseflesh rippling up my back. Then I hauled myself up off the red threadbare carpet and padded barefoot out into the hallway. My rings flashed, a drift of green sparks snapping and popping down my fingers. I shook them off, frowning.

The lines of Power wedded to my front door twirled uneasily. Something nasty was on my front step. I hitched up my jeans, then reached over and curled my fingers around the sword hanging on the wall. I lifted it down, chucked the blade free with my thumb against the guard.

The peephole in the middle of the door was black, no light spilling through. I didn't bother looking. Instead, I touched the door, spreading the fingers of my right hand against smooth iron. My rings rang and vacillated, reading theflow of whatever was behind the door.

Oh, gods above and below, I thought. Whatever it is, it's big.

Bracing myself for murder or a new job, I unlocked the door and stepped back, my sword half-drawn. The blue glow from Power-drenched steel lit up my front hall, glimmering against the white paint and the full-length mirror hung next to my coatrack. I waited.

The door creaked slowly open. Let's have some mood music for effect, I thought sardonically, and prepared to sell myself dear if it was murder.

I can draw my sword in a little under a second and a half. Thankfully, there was no need to. I blinked.

Standing on my front step was a tall, spare, golden-skinned man dressed in black jeans and a long, black, Chinese-collared coat. The bright silver gun he held level to my chest was only slightly less disconcerting than the fact that his aura was cloaked in twisting black-diamond flames. He had dark hair cut short and laser-green eyes, a forgettable face and dreamy wide shoulders.

Great. A demon on my doorstep, I thought, and didn't move. I barely even breathed.

"Danny Valentine?" he asked. Well, demanded, actually.

"Who wants to know?" I shot back, automatically. The silvery gun didn't look like a plasgun, it looked like an old-fashioned 9mm.

"I wish to speak with Danny Valentine," the demon enunciated clearly, "or I will kill you."

"Come on in," I said. "And put that thing away. Didn't your mother ever teach you it was bad manners to wave a gun at a woman?"

"Who knows what a Necromance has guarding his door?" the demon replied. "Where is Danny Valentine?"

I heaved a mental sigh. "Come on in off my front porch," I said. "I'm Danny Valentine, and you're being really rude. If you're going to try to kill me, get it over with. If you want to hire me, this is so the wrong way to go about it."

I don't think I've ever seen a demon look nonplussed before. He holstered his gun and stepped into my front hall, peeling through the layers of my warding, which parted obediently to let him through. When he stood in front of me, kicking the door shut with one booted foot, I had him calculated down to the last erg of Power.

This is not going to be fun, I thought. What is a Lord of Hell doing on my doorstep?

Well, no time like the present to ask. "What's a Lord of Hell doing on my doorstep?" I asked.

"I have come to offer you a contract," he said. "Or more precisely, to invite you to audience with the Prince, where he will present you with a contract. Fulfill this contract successfully, and you will be allowed to live with riches beyond your wildest dreams." It didn't sound like a rote speech.

I nodded. "And if I said I wasn't interested?" I asked. "You know, I'm a busy girl. Raising the dead for a living is a high-demand skill nowadays."

The demon regarded me for maybe twenty seconds before he grinned, and a cold sweat broke out all over my body. My nape prickled and my fingers twitched. The three wide scars on my back twitched uneasily.

"Okay," I said. "Let me get my things, and I'll be happy to attend His Gracious Princeship, yadda-yadda, bing-bong. Capice?"

He looked only slightly less amused, his thin grim face lit with a murderous smile. "Of course. You have twenty minutes."

If I'd known what I was getting into, I would have asked for a few days. Like maybe the rest of my life.


Excerpted from Working for the Devil by Lilith Saintcrow Copyright ©2005 by Lilith Saintcrow. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 118 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 118 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2006

    A very entertaining read!

    This was a very entertaining book. Danny Valentine, Necromance, gets a job working for the devil himself. She takes along Japh, a demon helper, and the fun begins. This book just got better and better as you read through it. I loved the character of Dante Valentine. She is tough and smart. I have been reading all of the Laurell Hamilton Anita Blake series and have gotten tired of the neverending sex scenes and no plot. This book helped me find a new author to read having grown tired of Anita Blake and Laurell Hamilton's later books. This book did not have your standard ending, full of surprises and somewhat sad! The only recommendation I have for others who read this book is to have a dictionary handy when reading it. Lots of big words, and a glossary of the furturistic terms she uses in this book, like Psoi, holovoid, etc. would have been very helpful. Other than that, this book was well worth the money!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 6, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:


    I bought this book when the Walden bookstore in my town was going out of business. Just saw it on a shelf, the title caught my eye so I read the back and it seemed like it'd be a cool book to read. I was wrong, it is the BEST book series I could have EVER stumbled into! I love The Dante Valentine Series, each book keeps getting better and better! I'm just really sad that I'm on book 4 and there's one left...Dante and Japhrimel are MY Romeo and Juliet and I recommend this book to anyone who loves action, some romance, and surprises throughout every single book in the series.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2008

    Great Series

    I just found this book and I was absolutely thrilled. This is a great story with strong and interesting characters. The play between Dante and Jaf was at turns frustrating and tender which made for a real page turner. This is a very hard book to put down so make some time to enjoy it!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    fun urban noir paranormal thriller

    Interrupting the soaps, Tierce Japhrimel, a demon, visits highly regarded necromancer Dante Valentine to meet his Prince or die. Put that way, the tough Dante agrees to go along with the gun toting demon to a meeting with Lucifer to learn what the Prince of Darkness wants from her. They catch the subway to Hell where Lucifer offers Dante a contract that she cannot refuse or she dies of course what the Prince wants her to do probably means she dies anyway. --- Dante is to capture a rogue demon accompanied by Japhrimel, who is more than a kick butt demon he is a demon assassin. Accepting the kind offer made in good faith, Dante begins to search for the rogue though she is distracted by other items not directly related to her investigation. Japhrimel somewhat keeps her focused as they argue over everything especially when she spins into sidebars. --- WORKING FOR THE DEVIL is a fun urban noir paranormal thriller that stars a bristly courageous loner, a no nonsense demonic sidekick, and a horde of paranormal and human cretins who make the mundane things like riding a train into a supernatural event. As the glue to the plot, Dante turns the story line into a fine investigative tale though her inquiries do not go into first gear until the latter half of the novel, but her capers occur throughout. Fans will want more starring this acerbic street tough necromancer. --- Harriet Klausner

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2012


    I loved this book! Edgy and not to wordy, this was a different kind of book than I typically read, and I am so glad I decided to try it out. I ran across and read another book of Lilith Saintcrow's called "The Demon's Librarian" first and liked it so much I thought I would try one of her other series. It caught me right off from the beginning and it surprised me on how it ended. The plot was interesting and the characters were fleshed out. I am not usually a fan of "other" worlds with a lot of unheard of technology but Mrs. Saintcrow blended seamlessly the technology and arcane charac ters. I couldn't put this one down, this is a great read and I am anxious to start the second book in the series!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 5, 2011

    more from this reviewer


    I am a lover of supernatural/fantasy. This is one of my favorite series. Ok probably my favorite series. A must read, page turner that fits the bill with a futuristic twist. I only wish there was more.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 7, 2011

    Fun as hell

    This a great book. I love Dante. She is impetuous and courageous and I wish more authors were able to capture the strength and the natural instinctive capabilities of real women like Saintcrow can. And yea there is a shmalz aspect as there will be inherently in any romance novel. But she maintains some level of mystique and doesnt flog you with sex scenes. The level of action and Dantes inner dialogue and personality definately out weigh the eye rolls.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 1, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Fresh New Spin in Urban Fantasy

    I picked this book up because I finished Kelley Armstrong's Living With The Dead while visiting my in-laws and wanted something new to read for the trip back. It was one of those books I always picked up, thought looked interesting, but never quite got around to reading- probably because it seemed like more of the same old, same old I get from so many other urban fantasy authors. <BR/><BR/>It was not.<BR/><BR/>Saintcrow blends sci-fi and fantasy pretty seamlessly, creating a world where hover crafts and cyber-age drugs blend with demons, necromancers, and practitioners of magic. The focus is almost always on the action, and while there is romantic interest, Saintcrow, and her main character, Necromance Dante Valentine, are never sentimental or driven by their libidos. It is a particular feat, I think, that the reader is simply thrust into this new world, with back-story trickling in through the plot, but I never felt like I was struggling to keep up or understand terminology and technology. <BR/><BR/>Working For The Devil's plot introduces POV character Dante Valentine, a bounty hunter gifted with the ability to speak to the dead. Her day job is settling probate questions; her side job, however, is bit more action-packed. The novel opens with Dante receiving a summons from the Prince of Hell, Lucifer himself, who wants her to track down a demon who has escaped Hell with a dangerous artifact. He assigns his Right Hand, Japhrimel, to assist Dante with the task. Both Dante and Japhrimel have personal reasons for wanting to track down Santino, the escapee, and they grudgingly agree to work together. Dante assembles a crack team, including her best friend and fellow Necromance, a male witch, and a shaman. Once the hunt is on, they use all the magic, technology, and physical skill at their disposal- and still discover they might have gotten into a bit more than they bargained for.<BR/><BR/>I will definitely be reading on into this series. It's rare to find an author with an original idea, a truly kick-ass heroine, and the ability to rough up her characters and her readers to turn out a truly thrilling plot. This book was an excellent blend of action, fantasy, and science fiction that hit all of my buttons.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2007

    Read it! Read it!

    You won't be disappointed by this new series! It is a fresh and different as Laurell K. Hamilton's EARLY Anita Blake series 'books 1 through 9'. Dante's world is moody, dark, and organized religion has given way to the worship of personal gods from every pantheon imaginable. Oh, and demons walk the earth, looking human but definitely souped-up with power. One of them is Lucifer - yep, the very one - and he's commanded Dante to do an impossible deed for which she gets to keep her life. We can all relate to the boss from Hell, right? The first chapter is very funny!! And, there's Japh. Dante grows to accept him ... and so do we. Ms. Saintcrow must have had a eureka moment when she conceived this story. And the others in the series are equally fabulous!! Just read it. You won't be disappointed. These books are keepers!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2007

    If Dante Valentine isn¿t on your reading list, you¿re missing out.

    'Working for the Devil' is the first in a five book series covering the life and times of Dante Valentine.................................... Dante, Danny for short, is the kind of character you can really sink your teeth into. A katana wielding Necromancer, Dante doesn¿t take crap from anyone tough, smart, and deadly she¿s built a reputation for herself in Saint City. She¿s one of the best, maybe even the best, and that is why one rainy day the Devil asks for her help..................................... The Devil has a job for Dante and he isn¿t going to let her refuse. A demon has escaped from hell with something very precious, an egg that if opened, could mean an apocalypse for Earth. For Dante the job is even harder to turn down once she learns that the demon she will be hunting is the same one that almost killed her a few years ago. At the time Santino, the demon, managed to kill her friend Doreen and Dante feels honor bound to hunt him down. Japhrimel, the Devil¿s right hand demon and most deadly assassin, is made Dante¿s familiar and protector..................................... Driven by a dark past that in only hinted at in Rigger Hall and the brutal murder of Doreen, Dante checks with her contacts in Saint City for any sign of Santino. Japhrimel is always a few steps away and at first Dante is uneasy about having the demon shadowing her. But after awhile the feel of his dark aura and his cinnamon smell become as familiar to her as her own skin..................................... Dante gets help, whether she wants it or not, from her Necromancer and cop friend Gabriele, Gabe¿s hedgewitch boyfriend Eddie, and ex-lover Jace who just happens to have ties to the Mob. Not to mention the demon. They follow Santino to Nuevo Rio where the hunters become the hunted..................................... One of the things that really stood out about this book was the world. The technology is advanced, think Blade Runner, the mix of floating cars and laser guns where ancient Egyptian gods and swords fit perfectly. It¿s complicated and not everything is explained in depth things are just mention in passing, thrown at you and either you catch it or you don¿t. But this isn¿t a problem, it only adds to the feeling of reality, as Dante fights her way toward Santino and the egg. .................................... Based in a world full of advanced technology and ancient magic Working for the Devil' is a dark urban fantasy that reaches out and grabs you by the throat. It is one kick butt start to what I¿m sure will turn out to be one of the better series around. If Dante Valentine isn¿t on your reading list, you¿re missing out

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 18, 2014

    Dante Valentine is a badass necromancer. Think Anita Blake but i

    Dante Valentine is a badass necromancer. Think Anita Blake but in a futuristic world with less vampires and more demons, spirits and multiple magic users. Dante brings ghosts back from ashes to communicate with the living. She’s a fascinating character with a rune sword, jewelry that sparks and a tattoo on her face that’s embedded with an emerald. This way the whole world will know what she is.

    My only issues might be some of her mental tantrums when something didn’t go her way. She was a bit overdramatic making her a volatile leader but at the same time, this made her unique and unpredictable.

    What wasn’t a waste of time was the intricate story that went with Dante’s world. I was enthralled, engaged and trapped in those pages with Dante, her Psion buds and demonic sidekick. Her deal with Lucifer ends up as a bigger deal than she imagined and could cost her more than she’s willing to give.

    In this particular future I was also pleased to see a lack of sexual labelling. It was refreshing that who slept with who wasn’t a title to describe that person.

    Though at times it felt like Dante was an emotional extremist there were main portions of the storyline that were hypnotic. I didn’t just want to find out what happened, I needed to know.

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  • Posted September 1, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Magic and an amazing world full of demons and more!

    A Lord of Hell shows up at Dante's door with an invite from the Prince for a contract - she fulfills and she'll be allowed to live with riches beyond her dreams. The Prince, Lucifer, wishes an escaped demon executed and the Egg, a demon artifact he's about to break, brought back to him. Jaf, the demon assassin of Lucifer's is to go with her and keep her alive until the job is done. The demon - Santino - is a dangerous serial killer and Dante and Jaf have personal vendetta's to settle with him. Why Dante? Because the demon was granted immortality years ago. Lucifer hopes since Dante is neither human or Demon she will be able to do the job.

    One thing that stuck out in a huge way to me, the world building. Lilith is a pro at it. This world is similar yet so different to what we know. There is an advance in tech here, as demons do love tinkering. There are hover trains, plasguns, holovids, AI pilotdecks on hovers and freight fliers. Magic exists here strongly and is accepted, mostly. There's an Academy to be accredited in area of expertise. But people are still nervous of some of the areas, necromancy being top of the list. Such an interesting creation with psi and even demon intervention in the world.

    Demons aren't all that bad. Err, lack of a better word? They are not angels, but they are interesting in humans and the way of the human world as well. Demons are not looked upon with any love by many. But then there are many that don't know there are Demons walking around. But people sure know there are Necromancers and Shamans and others of magic walking around by their living tattoo on their face.

    Dante just wants to be left alone to get through her days the best she can. Pay off her Academy loans and buy a house sooner than most her kind. She dabbles in bounty hunting of small things, not an assassin though, to get ahead. And she is. She's a tough shell though. She has a softer side, but hides it well. Then we have Jaf...I...I think 40 pages in and I was falling for the demon.

    We meet other friends of Dante as well. They show a broader verse to the world. More magic present and what they can do. Cool. Gabe and Eddie and Jace. And...I think I really like Jace as well. But I doubted the friend relationships a few times as we went. Well done by Lilith.

    I will be reading more of this series. The world and magic has caught me. And, seeing Dante as she is now, I want to know what she'll do next.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2013

    Lilith Saintcrow an author that shows why they need to start bre

    Lilith Saintcrow an author that shows why they need to start breaking up the sci-fi/fantasy section into romance and nonromance sections. She's a great author with a great world set up for Dante Valentine series, but after a second book of reading about her heroine moping about some old lover or another EVEN WHILE IN A FIREFIGHT just made me lose interest in the series. If I was someone that liked romance and sci-fi/fantasy I'd most likely give her a 5 star rating. As a stereotypical straight male I can only give her 3 stars. Guess it's on to the next series for me. But if you do like romance and sci-fi/fantasy mix give her a try. Think the old Shadowrun world only darker, with a good bit of romance mixed in

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  • Posted July 30, 2011

    Puts Dresden & "Blade" (Wesley Snipes character) to the side!

    Dante Valentine makes one feel that the term "Bad A$$" was created for her. She started a hard life & received a "new path" which she levels the field for humanity in a little South-western town. YOU DON'T MESS WITH DANTE-- she'll literally whip you into reality! HA HA HS HA!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2009

    weird employment

    Read in one seating could not put it down.Dante real kool women but having a demon lord backing u up puts a zing in it.

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  • Posted April 22, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Dante Valentine series

    I bought this book and went back for the rest of the series as soon as I finished it. It's great for any fan of Kim Harrison, Kelley Armstrong, Patricia Briggs, Laurell K. Hamilton, Eileen wils etc. Definately a GREAT read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2009

    Good Idea, Could have been better

    This is about Dante Valentine, necromancer and bounty hunter. The Devil hires her to bring back a demon artifact that was stolen from Hell and gives her a demon minion, Japhrimel, to make sure she survives the recovery. Dante doesn't really have a choice in the matter, but when she learns that she is hunting the demon that killed her best friend, she is all for it.

    While trying to gather the information and supplies for her hunt,she learns that a mage from the school she went to has turned to drugs and she turns him in to the police. Then her friend Gabe brings her lover into Dante's hunt without asking. And when it seems to be getting deep, Dante learns that they are staying at her ex-boyfriend, Jace's, house and he has invited himself to the hunt also. But this is not just a simple hunt for an artifact and kill the killer, there is more than what Dante is being told.

    This story had potential. But I was so confused about the different terms and items that I was lost for the first half of the book and still confused through the rest. This seems to take place in the future with the hover crafts and plasma guns. But there are a ton of different abilities, names, and types of people that most were not explained well and I had no idea what they were supposed to do let along what they brought to the story.

    I have to say that I am not going to bother trying to read any other books in this series. If it wasn't for the fact I didn't have any other books to read I would not have finished it.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2008

    Every entertaining!

    What a great read. This is a true urban fantasy and a real page turner!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2007

    What happened to good editing?

    I really liked the plot of this series and the detail that the author has put into the world she created. But I find the wording sometimes confusing, the same phrases repeated over and over, and events happening out of sequence 'like a door bell tinkling after the character has already entered the building'. The characters shrug at everything. Overall, the style of writing is disappointing and takes away from the storyline.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2007

    I'm so glad I picked this book up.

    I was reluctant at first because this book wasn't published my a big co. but I'm glad I listened to recommendations and bought it. It was good. Real, good. If you love Anita Blake, Rachel Morgan and Harry Dresden Books your gonna love this. Personally I think it is written better than the first two series. Great characters, logical and fantastic world building. I¿m a fan.

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