It’s a mysteriously charmed life for orphan Sebastien Harris, but it’s still a shock to be offered a full ride to attend grad school at the obscure but prestigious Bosch University in upstate New York. Trouble starts as he attempts to reach the campus for his interview: first the train is cancelled, then a swarm of migratory air mattresses block the streets.
When he finally arrives, he’s too exhausted to question why a remarkably handsome man named Gem is waiting for him, nor does he have time. A demon horde demolishes the university, and the pair run for their lives—at which point Sebastien realizes Gem is not, strictly speaking, human. Their adventure exposes Sebastien’s heritage…and reveals the prophecy he is destined to fulfill. Gem is infernal, a human-demon hybrid, and meant to be Sebastien’s servitor, a magical well from which Sebastien, a warlock by birth, will draw the power to remake the world. If he survives.
Sometimes I DNF a book because it has subject matter that doesn’t appeal to me, or an unhealthy approach to a relationship or situation that I find personally troubling. Sometimes it’s bad writing. For this book, it’s none of those. The writing is okay. Overly florid and adverb heavy in some parts, spare and hollow in others. The plot is fine, the pacing is fine, and I have nothing against warlocks, demons, fae folk, sex, and magic. But within the first few pages, I could already tell that this was going to be a slog for me and, after reading to 40%, I decided it was best to DNF.
Orphan boy finds out he has magic, but it’s grad school, not boarding school. Wacky, zany, wild, and whimsical things happen to him! And yet, Sebastian has zero reaction to any of it in the portion I read. He seems too cool to do something like react. He goes from being an orphan to being a powerful warlock, perhaps the warlockiest of all warlocks because, of course, as the main character, he’s just that special. He finds himself obligated to have sex with a beautiful and handsome demon. He finds out that he can call bluejays. He has a box of doughnuts. All with the same lack of emotion or reaction or enthusiasm. He felt like just a cardboard cutout being moved through the pages. It read like a menu rather than a book, like X then Y then Z, with nothing between them to break it up or make one stand out from the other. Gem, the half demon sex slave, love interest, body guard, and best friend is soft and gooey over Sebastian. It’s where he starts and it’s where he was still, static and stuck, by the time I decided to close the book and start the review.
The portion I read felt like one note and one note only. There was no variation, no rise and fall in conflict or character. It left the book feeling boring. I could predict each scene with a pretty good rate of success, and each attempt at whimsical humor just went on and on and on. At 40% into the book, I decided I’d waited long enough. The story hadn’t improved and my patience only grew more and more thin.
There just was nothing to this book in the part I read. No character, no real story, and no enjoyment. As with everything, and especially comedy, what appeals to one person (or doesn’t appeal at all) might cause a different reaction in someone else. But, even with that said, this book didn’t offer up anything new or creative in what I read, it just is. And I don’t think that’s enough.