Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Devon Monk's Hell Bent

Hell Bent is Devon Monk's newest novel, a continuation of the setting from the Allie Beckstrom books that features supporting characters from that series in a leading role. Shame Flynn and Terric Conley have been promoted to the stars of the new Broken Magic series.

You don't have to have read the Allie Beckstrom books to understand or appreciate this book because they fill in the bits and pieces that you need to understand the story. That said, if you haven't read Monk's Allie Beckstrom books, I am very disappointed in you. You need to read them. Now.

I will admit that I have had trepidations about this book, since I first saw it announced. I liked Shame, as a supporting character, and Terric was never really developed enough to my taste to be a lead character. Of course neither really was Zayvion Jones.

Regardless, I picked up the book and gave it a chance. My trepidation did not go away immediately. I found the first half of the book to be slow paced and muddied by inconsistent characterizations of the leads. It seemed to me that Monk was having a difficulty with getting into the mindset, the maleness, of her characters, particularly Shame. The action and the characterizations did pick up around the middle of the book, and she seemed to be getting a much stronger read on the voice of Shame. It was still inconsistent, but it did better. By the end of the book her portrayal of the character did get legs, but it still seemed to be a bit of a struggle. The slowness of the first part of the book didn't bother me as much, the first couple of  Allie Beckstrom books could be slow burners, until she got a hold of the overarching plot of the series.

Shame's romance in the book is obviously setting the tone for the rest of this series, but it wasn't like there needed to be more reasons for the "heroes" of the story to chase down the bad guy. All of that was set up pretty strongly in the Beckstrom books.

Before thinking that I am only negative on this, I did enjoy the book as a whole. Once the plot settled into place and the new bad guys appeared on the stage, the book really took off. It wasn't as breakneck as the plots in the last few of the Beckstrom books, but it was still a good, solid, enjoyable plot. The new supporting characters of Dash and Dessa are well-fleshed out, even if Dash's full name is a bit silly.

I would recommend picking this novel up. Not as quickly as I would recommend the Beckstrom books, but it is still an enjoyable and diverting read. Hell Bent is an entertaining book, and I look forward to the next book and the further developments of Shame Flynn and Terric Conley.

I do include the book on my list of holiday gifts on our last Geeky Voices Carry vblog/podcast.