Book Review: Heaven’s Spite by Lilith Saintcrow

Orbit
298 pp.
Heaven's Spite (Jill Kismet, Hunter, Book 5)In Heaven’s Spite,Jill is drawn into a very complicated plot that may result in her absolute damnation. (Actually, she is pretty much already there according to the doctrine of her church as stated by the character.) It turns out that Perry,the demon crime lord she has a contract with has provided her with an artifact that had been stolen from her teacher by a leader of a religious cult of Lovecraftian inclinations. (Evil cult of evil matriarchal sorceresses who are compared to termites a lot. Like many evil cultists, they are trying to break their evil, evil gods out of some kind of dimensional prison.)  

It turns out that Perry needs her help in order to deal with the arrival of his immediate superior. Jill is not inclined to trust the “gifts” Perry provides,but the arrival of a powerful demon to her city is not something she wants to deal with, so she wanders around shooting up Perry’s property in hopes ofcoming up with a solution. This leads her to the presence of the aforementioned cult leader, who is apparently a prisoner of Perry’s (and a gift of sorts forJill). Jill is less than impressed and continues shooting things up and threatening people, though she does not seem to get anywhere.

Perrydecides to hold Jill’s boyfriend hostage, and Jill continues to go on a rampage, this time joined by a number of were-creatures who are not actually able to fight demons. (Apparently, this is because being ten times stronger than a human is and being nearly unkillable is not enough to take on Hellspawn. Go figure.) Jill manages to rescue her boyfriend but is unable to rescue her own soul. We are left with a cliffhanger of sorts, and the preview for the final book in the series.

This book is extremely transitional, with a jerky, fast paced style that expels all the exposition at high speeds. (While I do not have the problems with first person that some people do, I am beginning to appreciate why it is a form that many people dislike. Since we are limited to Jill, and she is such a deeply unlikable and self-centered character, we really do not get to know any of the other characters.)

While some of the worldbuilding ideas are very interesting, I find this to be a difficult series to read because there is much that doesn’t make a great deal of sense. For instance, the “Chaldean” cult, which apparently engages in kidnapping and other criminal activities as part of its religious practice, and the presence of “hellspawn” who are apparently by nature unable to participate as citizens of a nation-state. (Due to the fact that well, they eat people or turn them into super villains that have to be hunted down by supernaturally modified bounty hunters.)

I should point out here that this is my assessment based on what we see of them over the course of the series. Within the series, there is apparently a separate set of laws governing the behavior of supernatural creatures, and evil cults of sorceresses, though this is never overtly mentioned. It is interesting to me that the were-creatures have been coded as “Native American” and have for the most part, been confined on reservations despite not actively preying upon humans, while the demons are allowed to live in cities where they can make contracts and prey upon humans more or less freely. This is especially puzzling since the were-creatures are coded as “natural” and the demons as profoundly,inescapably “unnatural.” By “interesting”, I actually mean, “makes absolutely no sense, whatsoever.”

This is not a good book to start with for the series, since it is extremely ransitional and a set up for whatever the finale of the series is going to be.I only recommend this book if you happen to like the series.  

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Filed under fantasy, horror, Lilith Saintcrow, Review: Book, romance, urban

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