Wasteland, by Lynn Rush
Crescent Moon Press (August 23, 2011)
Bound by the blood contract his human mother signed four centuries ago, half-demon, David Sadler, must obey his demonic Master’s order to capture fifteen-year-old Jessica Hanks. But as he learns more about her, he realizes she may be the key to freedom from his demonic enslavement.
The only obstacle—Jessica’s distractingly beautiful Guardian, Rebeka Abbott. He must not give in to their steamy chemistry, or he will lose his humanity. But fresh off a quarter millennia of sensory deprivation as punishment for not retrieving his last target, he may not be able to resist temptation long enough to save what’s left of his human soul.
The thing that attracted me to Wasteland was the cover. The blue glowing within the black is haunting, and the feather floating to the ground is light and beautiful. I had a visceral reaction when I saw it and wanted to read it instantly. I’m not a fan of the typeface, though. I would have preferred a font that reflected the Old World origins of most of the characters, maybe some sort of compromise between blackletter and a roman face. Don’t mind me…I’m a type snob and I know it.
Wasteland opens in a small town in Arizona, at a dance club where locals are getting their drink and flirt on. In the center of this mass of bodies and alcohol is 400-year-old David Sadler, a sort-of bounty hunter who’s spent the last 245 in solitary confinement as punishment for missing his last Mark. He dreams of being free of the contract on his soul, while his demon-half tries every second to claw out of his skin for good.
For that to happen, David would have to give into the temptation he’s so far succeeded in resisting. That’s actually written into the contract his mother signed in blood before he was born. Letting down his guard, giving into a woman’s charms, or losing hold of his demon for even one moment and failing to stop the beast from taking what it wants…it makes no difference. Sex will wipe out what remains of his humanity.
Consider for a moment what 245 years means. The last time David walked among humans, it was 1767. And, the past 200 years of his punishment were spent in sensory deprivation. And now, here he is…2012, in a club where the women wear next to nothing, drink, dance, and flirt with strangers. Master wants the rest of his soul; David’s determined to not let him have it.
Wasteland is initiated as a thriller with frequent battles and relentless pacing. But in this story, there are two games in play. There is the obvious race between demons and guardians both looking for a child messiah, and the tug of war between the same demons and angels for David’s freedom and soul. As for David himself, he is tormented by metaphorical demons more powerful that the literal ones that surround him. Finding himself worthy of the love and trust of the guardians is the biggest one of all.
Wasteland is a good book. I very much enjoyed reading David’s story, particularly one scene where he holds Beka’s head in his hands and begs her to live. I’m looking forward to reading the sequel, Awaited, and when I’m done, I’ll tell you what I think about it.
My rating: ★★★★