Rating: 4 stars
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Working at the Quik-Mart has never been easy, what with the hell portal and the monsters and all that general craziness. But now things have gotten even worse ever since Quik-Mart’s attempt at expanding into hell. Although Josh and his vampire boyfriend, Colin, managed to stop them, Quik-Mart management is none too happy with Josh’s intervention. At the same time, now that he is officially connected with Medusa, head god of hell, Josh is expected to continue working for her. And that means dealing with trouble from Medusa’s sisters and battling them along with their crazy monster creations. With werewolves, zombies, and other monsters to fight, along with the evil sisters and vengeful Quik-Mart owners who want him dead, Josh’s job is continuing to be much more exciting and dangerous than he could ever have imagined.
This book concludes the really great Josh of the Damned series and gives us some nice resolution for our poor, beleaguered convenience store clerk Josh. I continue to love Josh’s weary acceptance of the crazy that constantly rains down on him, barely blinking at giant slugs and other creatures that keep appearing in his life. Here we see Josh with some new power, as we learned he is more than just a human in the last book. But with that power comes new responsibilities to Medusa that keep him both busy and in danger.
My favorite aspect of this story is Speed’s wonderful world building. Even after four stories (two super shorts and the novella Triple Feature #1), she continues to amaze me with her imagination. From the monsters that come to the earthly dimension, to the details of life in the hell dimension, everything is so clever and creatively done. The level of detail is just incredible, and every piece is well thought out and put together. The most amazing part is that it all flows so seamlessly with the story that you never feel like you are getting an index of bad guys, but instead just immersing yourself in the world as Josh experiences it. The other thing this series is known for is the great humor and cleverness and that continues here as well. I especially loved seeing Mr. Kwon (Josh’s boss) in his full snarkiness, as well as spending more time with Josh’s stoner roommate Doug.
What didn’t work as well for me is that this book just felt a little flat for the climax of the series. It seems like the major action (Quik-Mart’s attempt to expand into hell and the subsequent battle to fight them off) happens in the previous book. It took some of the urgency away here since while that event is recounted, the action is already over. Josh still faces threats from Quik-Mart management, but the resolution of that isn’t nearly as dramatic as the past battle nor as exciting as I was hoping for to cap off the series. It just seemed like a lot of time is spent focusing on sort of the “administrative end” of the monster battling and a side story about dealing with the sisters. Given that the books have been building up to this showdown, I wish there had just been more to it.
In the same way, I wished for more between Colin and Josh. They have been boyfriends since the second story, but we see little of their relationship development. Again, I was hoping for a bit more here. There sex life is pretty much off page, which is fine, but there is also very little personal or emotional interaction between them. In fact, less here than in the previous book. This is the time when I was looking for something to show what is connecting these guys together, what is drawing them to one another, and I think that wasn’t really developed here. I did like the resolution we get at the end for them and I appreciated their HEA, but I would have loved to see more in the last book to really show their feelings for each other.
Overall I found this an excellent series and just so cleverly done. Speed manages to combine creativity and humor and world-building all together to make a really fun series that is really unique. So while this final installment was not my favorite one, I really did enjoy this series and definitely recommend it for folks looking for a new spin on paranormal romance.
Cover Review: Once again, just a fabulous cover here. In fact, this whole series has been one stellar cover after another. I love the movie poster feel and the incorporation of so many elements from the story. Just beautifully done.