In her debut novel K.A. Stewart bring us into the world of Demon contracts for a Human's Soul and the Champions of the world who fight to get them back. Enter an ultimate battle of Good vs Evil.
Jesse James Dawson is a Champion, he helps those individuals who have sold their souls to a demon, for a wish. However, there is always a cost to save another person's soul. A battle to the death, with a set of rules of course. Each time Jesse fights a demon his own soul is on the line, and he has everything to loose. Only relying on his samurai practices he does the ultimately battle of good vs evil for the human soul. However, there is trouble brewing within the Champion world. Champions have gone missing and there is no information as who they were helping and whether they are alive or dead. All the Champions are told to be wary, someone has changed the rules of this dangerous game and if Jesse cannot figure out the new set of rules, his next battle may result in him loosing his soul.
Stewart has created something different on an old saying "be careful what you wish for". This book starts you off right in a battle sequence, so how could it not grab your attention, plus Jesse is battling for the soul of the President (makes you wonder what he traded his soul for, maybe winning an election). Also the demon that he is fighting also grabbed my attention as it was not your typical demon (well mainly in the paranormal genre the Demon is some hunky looking man or women, this is drastically different....I talk more about the demons further on).
The Champion concept kind of reminded me of the league of extraordinary gentlemen, with less powers, however the book does not go into too much detail as to what powers some of the other champions have and I hope that Stewart explores this in future books. Jesse, is the rare one (and I mean only one) in the league as he does not have any powers, his wife, Mira, is the powerful one in the family as she is a witch. You also get a sense that his daughter, Annabell, has some form of powers as she is always asking her Dad if he is going to come back to her tonight, or to be careful. I think that this might be something that Stewart may develop in future books. Mira appears to be a fairly powerful witch as she is able to create wards for the house and Jesse, as well as perform other spells that I do not have a name for. I enjoyed that the individual with the powers in the book is the person who is not fighting the Demons, well unless you count hurricane Annabell.
This is a male lead book, but this did not take away from the story for me. Jesse is a great character, he is the perfect mix of bad-ass Samaria (a Scottish Samaria to be more specific, lol) and father (I know a very interesting mix). His appearance is one that may have you walking on the other side of the street but he has a good heart (well most of the time). He has a great whit, that had me laughing, but he is honourable and is willing to help those out who are truly regret selling their soul. I think the best part about Jesse really is his lack of power and relying on his human powers and skills with different blades in order to fight the demons. He is also different from the typical demon slayer in the fantasy or paranormal genre as he is not over steroid males like many of the male leads in this genre (Jesse is the first one to let you know that he is not small, just Wiry. Trust me this leads to some funny moments).
The Demons that Stewart has created are interesting as well, though their practices are like those of lawyers. They key in on every detail in a contract that is made and are always trying to find the loop hole. There are several different classification of demons and they range in power. The amount of power that they have determines what type of form they appear on the human plane. For example, at the beginning he is fighting a Scuttle (as Jesse calls them) so it appears, what I pictured as a giant crab. The higher on the scale the more sophisticated the form of the demon. It also makes me wonder what Axel, a demon who Jesse associates with on an almost daily basis, form is as he is able to take over creatures bodies. Axel is a very scary demon, as he acts as Jesse's friend, but Jesse always has to keep in his mind that Axel is ultimately after his soul. So Jesse needs to tread carefully especially with how he words or questions Axel as he could inadvertently enter into a contract.
Stewart really brings new life to be careful what you wish for saying, as there may be someone or something there that can make your wishes and dreams come true, and it is probably not worth the consequences. This book kept me interested throughout. I think Stewart has an easy yet detailed writing style, that kept me reading and wanting to see what will happen next and that includes picking up the next book in this series.
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