Book Review: Speak of the Devil, by Shawna Romkey

SpeakOfTheDevilCrescent Moon Press
Release Date: March 2013
YA Paranormal

What happens when falling in love and falling from grace collide?

After dying in a car accident with her two best friends, Lily miraculously awakens to grief and guilt. She escapes to her dad’s to come to terms with the event and meets some people at her new school who seem all too eager to help her heal. Sliding deeper into sorrow and trying to fight her feelings for two of them, she finds out who…what they really are and that they are falling too.

Can she find the strength to move on from the past, reconcile her feelings for Luc, find a way to stop a divine war with fallen angels, and still pass the eleventh grade?

Teenagers are complicated, sensitive creatures, and on the surface, Lily is normal for her age. She loves her friends. She loves going out with her friends, Mike and Julie, who are not afraid to take a bit of a risk for a good time. One night, the three go out in a rainstorm and their car ends up going over a bridge.

It’s hard to be grateful to be alive when your friends are dead, and it’s your fault. Seconds before the crash, Lily did something innocuous, but it distracts Mike, causing the slide that resulted in the car going over the edge. Going to school is torture. The other kids treat Lily carefully, but she projects her guilt onto them, and receives their sympathy as blame. To start over, she moves to Kansas City to live with her dad, and finish high school with kids that don’t know about the her, the accident, or her dead friends.

There, she meets a group of kids who are beautiful in a punkish sort-of-way, and entirely too talented for their age. The apparent leader among them is Luc, to whom Lily is immediately drawn, but he steps aside because his friend Mo thinks she’s “the one” for him. But, it doesn’t last, because Luc feels the same connect to Lily as she feels to him.

Luc, the hottie with wings on the cover of the book, was born to human parents but he grew into an angelic calling to save one human soul. At the same time, he and his friends are suffering a crisis of their own. Dwelling on Earth takes its toll on angels, but this group, there are extraordinary circumstances with dire consequences. Luc needs Lily as much as she needs him.

Speak of the Devil is a YA Paranormal Romance that explores survivor’s guilt, the grieving/coping mechanisms of teenagers, and how finding/having a purpose can make all the difference in a young adult’s life. My one problem with the book is this. It is told primarily in Lily’s first-person POV, and because of her circumstances, this results in forty pages of a 16-year-old telling me she’s depressed. After a while, I really wanted to slap her and say, Stop feeling sorry for yourself. She does do something about it, leaves to go to a new school, but her attitude doesn’t really improve until her curiosity about Luc and his friends surpasses her self-pity. At that point, the story improves by leaps and bounds, but getting past the beginning was a little rough for me, thus my 4-star rating.

Speak of the Devil includes angels, demons, scenes of teen alcohol abuse, sexual attraction, and an attempted rape of the main character. Religious subject matter is interpreted in a generic “angels=good/demons=evil” way that doesn’t counter Sunday School, but God is missing, which may offend. I would recommend it for readers as young as 13, depending on the reader’s maturity.

I finished this book on April 2, 2013. I rated it on Goodreads with intention of returning to leave a review, and then…stuff happened. It was nine months ago, I don’t even remember what the stuff was. Pathetic. Truly pathetic. Anyhow, I received this book from Crescent Moon Press in exchange for my honest opinion.


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