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Devil's Bargain by Rachel Caine

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Synopsis: What's the price of a deal with the devil?

Playing by the psychic underworld's rules has cost.

Jazz Callender's whole life just got turned upside down. Her friend Ben's been convicted of a crime he didn't commit, and Jazz is determined to clear his name, even if it means enlisting the help of dark forces.

Enter James, a stranger with a mysterious offer. If Jazz pledges to work for The Cross Society, a shadowy secret organisation, he'll help her save Ben.

But as she's thrust into a world of psychic powers and dangerous magic, Jazz isn't just bargain for her friend's freedom. She's bargaining for her soul too.

And how high a price is she willing to pay?

Review: This book's saving grace is the characters. There was little real plot, an average vocabulary, and a distance throughout the story that made it difficult to read despite the simplicity of the entire novel. While trying to bring Jazz closer to the audience by telling the story from her point of view alone, Ms. Caine only managed to isolate her from the company and make the other characters seem shallow and difficult to understand, because Jazz did not have the personality to understand, only to accept. Jazz herself was hard to get a grip on. The lack of description to Jazz's emotional processes made one think that Jazz is only an observer in her world, even though the consequences of her thought process were quite clear.
However, even though the characters appeared shallow, their traits that Jazz saw everyday, complemented each other perfectly. Jazz is a sloppy, tough-as-nails, down-in-the-dirt ex-cop who likes to play rough as compared to her partner Lucia, a cool, controlled, and controlling woman with a past behind her that you don't want to know, and she doesn't want to tell you. At their cores, though, they have the same drive to defend. Ben McCarthy shows the a similar need to protect, tempered with a kindness and restraint that Jazz clearly lacks. Borden has opposite career to spunky Jazz, a lawyer working for the big businesses, and he knows too much and tells too little. And then there's lovable Manny, whose level of paranoia has reached dizzying heights. But despite his belief that everyone is out to get him, he's impossible to hate, and always there with a hand when Jazz needs a lift. Together, they manage to turn this book from a story your dear old grandmother has told you a thousand times to a funny anecdote you might tell when invited to your boss' house for dinner.
Rating: 2/5 Diamonds
Reviewed by: Elizabeth Gukeisen
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