Saturday, September 6, 2014

Dark Hope (The Devil's Assistant #1) by H.D. Smith Review

Hey readers and Happy Sunday! I don't know about you guys, but it has been a CRAZY past few days for me! I have been reading like a bandit, but I am 5 books behind on my reviews! Ahh! I actually finished this book about a week ago, but thankfully I typed the review as soon as I finished reading so I have it here for you guys! This time on the chopping block? Dark Hope,  the recent released paranormal, urban fantasy novel from Mrs. H.D. Smith! Here's a little about Dark Hope before we get to my thoughts:

Claire, the Devil’s assistant, knows very little about the world she was dropped into five years ago, when she inherited her mother’s unpaid debt to the Demon King. She certainly didn’t expect to be a contender for the Fallen Queen’s throne, a target for the Druid King’s mafia, or a suspect in the murder of Junior, the Devil’s oldest hell spawn.

In a last ditch effort to save her life and get out of her deal with the Devil, she sets out to solve Junior’s murder only to be taken prisoner by the four most dangerous immortal hell spawn alive.

Not to be out done, the Pagan Queen Mab, claims Claire for entering her realm uninvited. She has an old debt to settle with her brother the Devil. Taking Claire from him after losing her years ago is just icing on the cake.

Will Claire win her freedom, and save herself from the Devil? Or be trapped by Mab forever?

Available now!

H.D. Smith

HD Smith has been writing as a hobby for over ten years. DARK HOPE is her first full length novel. She has previously self-published two middle grade novellas in ebook format. She is a software developer by day, working for an awesome cruise line in Celebration, FL.

HD grew up in South Carolina, but has called the Sunshine State home since 1997. She has Computer Science degrees from Clemson University (BS) and Florida Institute of Technology (MS). Her other hobbies include painting and screen printing. She enjoys creating t- shirts inspired by the places in her books.


My Thoughts:

I was approached a few weeks ago by the author about reviewing her first full length novel, Dark Hope. After reading the synopsis I was intrigued, but confused. I took a chance and jumped in hoping to clear up the confusion and in the end, ended up even more confused. But in the good way that time! Regardless of what Goodreads (and some of the reviewers there) has to say about it, I am placing Dark Hope in the New Adult, Paranormal-Fantasy genre. There was not a romance in this novel. Sorry, but I don’t believe it can be classified as a romance at all. Which is fantastic, in my opinion.

As my readers will tell you, I have a slight obsession with New Adult Paranormal novels. Why? Because there is nothing better than a kick ass paranormal story where you can explore adult elements. I love a good YA, but sometimes you just have to read some words that aren’t YA appropriate. HD Smith hits her target audience right on the head. The book follows the path of Claire, The Boss’ assistant, in her journey to clear her name (ish) in the wake murder after The Boss’ son was shot down. Who is this “Boss”, you ask? None other than Satan himself. Yep. Intrigued now? I was.

Let me get some of my negative comments out of the way before I hit on all the good points. My biggest negative about this book is that it really was just too much story for 270 pages. I don’t know that I have ever said that about a book before. HD Smith fits her story into those pages, but I feel like it’s just too much plot, too much action, and too much happens. This book shouldn’t have taken me long to read, but it really did seem like forever because I kept having to backtrack to remind myself what was going on. There was more action in this one novel than some entire series I have read. It was a seriously a heart-palpitating adventure because the action never lets up. Why is this a bad thing you ask? Well.. Maybe it isn’t bad, per-se. I just feel like HD Smith is an excellent author who gets excited when she writes (which is awesome) and then bombarded the novel with lots of action and not so much explanation. I was all involved and glued to the page but once I would get to a breaking point I would say “wait… what happened” or “why did that happen?”. Not necessarily a bad thing by any means, I just think that looking back this novel could have been very easily split up!

Another negative aspect I found kind of ties into the one listed above. This book features a huge cast of characters. I mean a huge cast of characters. From cover to cover there were probably ~30 characters who played a large role and I really found myself super confused when the ones from the beginning started popping up at the end. I had no idea who they were and, again, had to backtrack to the beginning and remind myself. The story goes so fast that I really was having a hard time believing the stuff at the beginning of the novel was the same book as the end of the novel. I can’t really elaborate on that front without spoiling anything, but at least that part has an explanation.

Aside from those two negative critiques, I really liked most everything else about the novel. I will admit that at times the plot line was a little hard to follow. I mentioned this above, but there were more than a few times I had to re-read a chapter to understand what on earth was going on! 

The story seriously kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. I had a pretty good idea how it would come together in the end the entire time, but then, guess what? Smith stumped me. I didn’t see the ending coming, which I really enjoyed! There were lots of loose ends that were wrapped up, but just as many that I hope will be expanded upon in future novels in this series! 

Smith has a beautiful writing style and crafts her words with elegance. It seriously reads like she just sat down one day and decided to tell us this entire story. In some books there are very obvious points where the author struggled with writers block or didn’t know where to take the story, not here! Smith starts the action on page one and keeps the story flowing until the very last page! 

After finishing Dark Hope and sitting on this review for a few days I realize how much it stuck with me. Some of it makes a little more sense after some time, but I am really hoping that the next book in the series answers the rest of my lingering questions. I am really interested in learning more about Claire's background! 

All in all, even with my lengthy critiques, I found Dark Hope to be a new twist to an ever-changing genre. Between the interesting storyline and Smith's great writing style, I was really wanting more by the end of the novel! I will be anxiously awaiting book 2 in the series! I am granting Dark Hope a well deserved 4-Star review

Thank you Mrs. Smith for supplying me with a copy of this awesome novel in exchange for an honest review!

Alright readers, that's all I have for you guys on the topic of Dark Hope by H.D. Smith! A unique read that I am glad to have checked out! Have you guys read it? What'd you think? Let me know in the comments below! Thank you so much for stopping by and checking out my thoughts! Until next time, Happy Reading!


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