Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Review: Devil's Bargain - Rachel Caine

Devil's Bargain by Rachel Caine, published by Mira Ink on 5th October 2012

Goodreads 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?

I’m a big fan of Rachel Caine’s Morganville Vampires series so when I saw she had a new book out I wanted to read it immediately. I admit that I didn’t actually realise that ‘Devil’s Bargain’ had originally been published in 2005 but has been repackaged and published by Mira Ink with a brand new look. Although aimed at a young-adult audience, I think that because of some of the slightly more adult content in the book and the fact that the two central characters aren’t teenagers themselves, that it’s really more suitable for older readers.

The story focuses on two initially unconnected characters, Jazz and Lucia, who are offered a hundred thousand dollars to set up a detective agency together by a private law firm. After some obvious trepidation on their part, they agree and begin to receive a number of special cases which they have to carry out. The instructions for these cases are concealed and delivered within mysterious red envelopes, which turn out to be hugely significant to the plot.

What I love about Rachel Caine stories are her trademark heroines. They are quite often a little bit rough around the edges but are always tough, determined, strong and capable. They are more than a match for the men who have to take a back seat for once. I liked Jazz and Lucia straight away. They seem an odd pair to begin with but as I learnt more about them I could see that they perfectly complimented each other’s strengths and weaknesses and I liked the friendship which developed between them. ‘Devil’s Bargain’ was mainly centred around Jazz so I wonder if Lucia will take the reins in the next book.

I enjoyed the slightly supernatural element to the story which developed late on. This took me by surprise but was an interesting dynamic to introduce. I think it’s also made things very intriguing for the sequel where I imagine this will now be explored in even more depth.

There’s plenty of gritty action in the book which I loved and there’s lots of twists and turns to the plot. I thought this was a great read and I’m eager to read the next in the series now, ‘Devil’s Due’.

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