Sunday, August 28, 2016

Book Review: The Devil's Prayer by Luke Gracias

Title: The Devil's Prayer
Author: Luke Gracias
Genre(s): Thriller| Horror| Occult
Page length: 294 pages
Publisher: Australian E-Book Publisher
Publication date: February 18th, 2016 (for the e-book. The paperback should be released by the end of August)
Source: NetGalley
Format: e-galley
Author's website: Goodreads Author Page

A nun commits suicide in front of thousands in Spain. In Australia, Siobhan Russo recognises that nun as her mother, Denise Russo, who disappeared six years ago.  
In search of answers, Siobhan travels to the isolated convent where her mother once lived. Here she discovers Denise’s final confession, a book that details a heinous betrayal that left her crippled and mute, and Denise’s subsequent deal with the Devil to take revenge. In the desperate bargain Denise made with the Prince of Darkness, she wagered Siobhan’s soul. 
As Siobhan discovers the fate of her soul, she learns that hidden within the pages of her mother’s confession is part of The Devil’s Prayer, an ancient text with the power to unleash apocalyptic horrors.  
And now her mother’s enemies know Siobhan has it.  
Can Siobhan escape an order of extremist monks determined to get the Prayer back? Can she save the world from its own destruction?  
Explicit Content Warning: "The Devil’s Prayer" is a historical horror thriller that contains brutality, rape, sex, drug abuse and murder. Readers may find its content offensive and confronting. Goodreads

My Review: I have such mixed emotions on this novel. It started off very strong and completely sucked me in. It was tense, it was suspenseful, it was really felt for Denise and her dilemma. In her position, you could feel her desperation and also her burning need for vengeance. And I totally supported it.

However, near the end, the story really tapered off for me. It got way too expositional, with pages and pages of religious history; after a certain point, my eyes glazed over and I found myself skimming huge sections to get back to the actual plot. 

It also suffered from "author on a soapbox" syndrome. There was one section (not a real spoiler), where Denise is reading about the havoc mankind has wreaked upon the world and how everything is terrible and the Earth will be fine but we're all screwed, and all I could think was, "We get it, Author. It's our fault that our environment is so messed up. You don't need multiple pages to hammer home that message." When I read the author's note at the end and found out that Luke Gracias was an environmental specialist, it was like, "Surprise surprise..."

Another reason I lost interest near the end was that there was no indication that this was a series. So although it ends at a perfect cut-off point to continue the series in the next book, you get all this build-up and backstory with no real climax. Siobhan, who is ostensibly our protagonist and heroine, has almost zero personality and we get none of her story, since at least 75% of the book is told through Denise's diary. 

Final bite: The Devil's Prayer has a brilliant beginning, but it doesn't quite deliver at the end. Here's hoping that the next book in the series will meet it's extremely high potential.

Rating: 3.8/5

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