Friday, December 23, 2016

Book Review of Death's Hand by S.M. Reine

Goodreads Summary: Policing relations between Heaven, Hell, and Earth is messy and violent, but Elise Kavanagh and James Faulkner excelled at it-- until coming across a job so brutal that even they couldn't stand to see one more dead body. Now they've been pretending to be normal for five years, leaving their horrific history a dark secret. Elise works in an office. James owns a business. None of their friends realize they used to be one of the world's best killing teams. After years of hiding, something stirs. Bodies are vanishing. Demons scurry in the shadows of the night. A child has been possessed. Some enemies aren't willing to let the secrets of the past stay dead...
Goodreads Rating: 3.72 stars with over 2,900 ratings
Genre Listing: Fantasy, Paranormal, Demons, Witches, Magic, Horror, Supernatural
Get the Book: AmazonThe Descent Series Book 1-3

Book Review:

I've had the Descent omnibus (books 1-3) on my kindle for ages. I finally got around to reading the first book in the series by SM  Reine, Death's Hand.

The concept of Death's Hand was very interesting. Elise is a young demon hunter partnered with a witch named James. The bond is called something along the lines of Kopis, and I forget what the other term is... Apsis? I don't think that's right, but it hardly seems relevant considering SM Reine didn't actually go into detail about it. Apparently, Elise is the only female Kopis and is the most powerful one at that. James is some super powerful High Priest witch. I really would have liked more detail here, because I feel like something was missing. I felt like the reader was just supposed to know what this magical bond was with little guidelines. Through context clues, I gather that the bond is a warrior and a witch pairing. History on this would have been really helpful. Why were they bonded? How did they become bonded? Did they chose one another or was it fate that made them a fighting duo? I can't answer these questions because they weren't answered in Death's Hand. I can't even start to explain how frustrating this is.

In addition to the lack of detail regarding this magical bonding between Elise and James, I feel like I'm missing part of the story. For about half of the story, the timeline is non-linear, which drives me absolutely insane. It bounces between James finding Elise several years ago in a field nearly dead, a few years ago when they apparently saved the world, and then the present timeline. It's incredibly hard to keep up with, especially with so little detail on their origins and back history. I kept having to check to make sure I was reading the first in the series because it definitely doesn't seem like it. Side note to this, I skimmed some reviews on it, and apparently this is a companion series to something called Death's Avatar where these events are explained. This only makes me even more frustrated because this really isn't made known. I'm going to guess this other book makes this one make more sense, but if that's the case don't list this as the first in the series. That is just incredibly misleading. 

I didn't really feel like any of the characters were particularly likable. Elise is robotic and cold, with no actual feelings. James is okay, I guess, but I'm not sure what the relationship is with Elise. At times it seems more like a father/ daughter relationship, but then sometimes it seems like it could be pseudo-romantic. I just don't get any feelings towards either of the characters. The side characters aren't much better.

Faithful to the rest of this story's form, there are no details on the demons. Apparently, there are all these different classes of demons, but no real information is given on them. The most you get is oh this Demon is David, and he's this. Okay, that's super. Why is that important to me as a reader? This just continues on with the theme that this does not seem like it begins the series. I can't get over the missing information. I'm trying, but it's not going to happen. 

 I want to be impressed with Death's Hand by SM Reine, I really do. The truth, however, is that I'm not impressed at all. Combine the missing details with the fact that this book could use a serious once over by an editor and you have an interesting concept that ended up being a total let down. I need facts, I need details, I need characters to have feelings. This book has none of these things. I think my feelings may have been different if I knew this was a companion series to another book. Perhaps that book explains all of my questions, who knows. The point is if that book should be read first then it needs to be stated, and this shouldn't be marked as the first in the series. 

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