Story Rating: 4.5 stars
Audio Rating: 5 stars
Narrator: Joel Leslie
Length: 7 hours, 58 minutes
Sam has surprisingly thick skin. It’s what helps him keep his spirits up and his pride intact when Harold, his new boss, tells him that Sam is the last resort. In Sam’s words, he’s the “scrapings from the bottom of the barrel.” But it’s fine. The money’s good, the job is easy, and the knowledge that Lucifer and God are simply the titles— the current Lucifer’s name is Percy — that he’s going to be working with a team consisting of vampires, succubi, demons, and shifters, and that he’ll be the only human … well, it’ll take some getting used to. You know, a minute or two.
Five years later, Sam knows that saying yes to this job was the best decision he ever made. He loves his team. His best friend is a hellhound named Alistar who breaks into his house regularly — when he gets lonely, bored, cheerful, dumped, yelled at, or hungry — and Sam’s well liked. Respected, even! And now it seems that he’s due for a promotion as the Lucifer wants to meet him.
It’s flattering, really. But, there’s a problem. A very small problem. Well, okay, a very large and well-hung problem. While pondering whether he should take the job or not, Sam hooked up with the man of his dreams at a bar. It was a night of glorious, wonderful, amazing sex. And the guy he fucked just so happens to be a demon, Gideon. Who works with the Lucifer as one of his hand-picked team. Gideon, the same demon whose been ignoring Sam for five years, who won’t say a civil word to him, or any word, really. If Sam says yes to the job, he’ll be saying yes to working side by side with Gideon.
This is one of those books that will either really work for you — because it’s funny, it’s charming, it’s obnoxiously cute, and the characters make you laugh — or it really, really won’t. Sam is the picture of the snarky, manic-pixie dreamboy with cheerful profanity, high sex drive, and utter obliviousness. He’s foolish, petty, petulant, good-hearted, reckless, clever, lazy, and prone to leaping to conclusions. He’s completely shameless and the epitome of the oh-so-special chosen one.
A character like Sam, who is incredibly voicey, can either make or break the book. No matter how strong the world building, how tight the plotting, or how well-written, if you’re in the head of a character you can’t stand, it’s going to make it hard to like the book. But Sam, because of his sheer lack of perfection, worked for me. He’s flawed, he’s human, and he makes endless mistakes. Sam doesn’t have magic, hasn’t lived a thousand years, doesn’t always say the right thing at the right time, but he’s damned sure going to apologize when he screws up and do some ridiculous apology because … he is ridiculous. And he isn’t aware of it.
The plot is interesting, involving a conspiracy by a group of Community fanatics (Community is the term they use for the supernatural and magical beings hiding from humanity) who want to eradicate humans. A group Sam has been unknowingly involved in. There’s an interesting look at shifters, and I was honestly impressed with how the author portrayed the power, status, and sheer draw of an alpha shifter. But that plot isn’t the primary focus. Sam is.
Joel Leslie is the perfect narrator for this book. The sheer frenetic energy he puts into Sam, his obliviousness, the drunken proclamations, and even the whining, pouting, and sulking … they were all so very on point. I honestly think Leslie captured Sam’s self-absorption and genial good humor perfectly. The book itself is fairly fast paced, but Leslie’s narration left even me feeling breathless as he raced through it at the lightning speed of Sam’s thinking.
Just go buy this audio book. This character, this author, and this narrator are just a trifecta of fun.