Damned If You Do
Author: Marie Sexton
Title: Damned If You Do
Rating: Four Petals
On the Author's Website:
The path to temptation is paved with a hellish amount of paperwork.Soul acquisition is a drag, but if Abaddon doesn’t catch up on his quota, he could bedemoted to scooping poop for the Hounds of Hell. With a deadline hanging over him, he heads for the Bible Belt, looking for the perfect combination of sweetness and challenge.Seth is a blind musician, part of a traveling tent revival. He’s cute, mystically talented, and quotes the Bible at every turn. His soul is pure enough to fill Abaddon’s quota for months to come, and Abaddon is determined to claim it.The problem? There’s the revival foreman who watches Abaddon’s every move.Then there’s the mystery of Seth’s many unusual talents. Lastly, there’s Abaddon himself.He’s beginning to like Seth a bit too much. Maybe Seth deserves something better than damnation.But Hell’s agenda isn’t negotiable, and time is running out. If Abaddon doesn’t play his cards right, he could condemn both of them to the worst fate of all—an eternity apart.
I received this book as an ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Damned If You Do was equal parts hypocrisy and hilarity, which made it a fun read all around. Seth lives in a revival that swindles people out of their money through religion. Yet, Seth honestly and truly believes in God and the teachings of the bible. When Abaddon ascends from Hell to find a pure soul to corrupt in order to maintain his quota, he can't help being drawn to Seth's beautiful soul. The push and pull between Hell's quota, Seth's righteousness, and Abaddon's need to figure Seth out made for a very interesting and engaging story.
The best part of this book was definitely the descriptions of Hell. Abaddon constantly had to deal with a perpetually full inbox at work, endless paperwork and red tape to jump through, constantly noisy neighbors, and a terrible commute to and from work. Meeting Seth was so jarringly different I immediately believed it when Abaddon couldn't make himself take Seth's soul. The story only blossomed from there.
My only complaint about this book was how short it was. The world was so rich and the plot so nuanced there was easily potential for a longer story. Sometimes keeping a story short and contained within a world so vast and wonderful makes the story feel slightly stilted. Unfortunately I felt that in Damned If You Do. However, there were clearly strides made for a sequel, so I have hope to see more books set in this world.
I do recommend this book. It was a ton of fun to watch Abaddon struggle with Seth's purity and I found that the depth of the world-building was amazingly well constructed. My only complaint was that the story wasn't long enough, but that didn't detract from how much I enjoyed reading it.
Maggie reviews paranormal and fantasy novels and novellas. She also interviews authors and hosts giveaways.