Devil’s Deal (Infernal Contracts #1) by Tessa Hastjarjanto #bookreview #DevilsDeal @Endalia

When two angels break their deal with the devil, he comes for the one thing they’re trying to protect.
All 16-year-old Nora wants is to graduate high school and visit her family in Italy. But when two boys transfer to her class, everything changes.
Danny steals her friends, Ben her first kiss.
When Nora finds out the boys are not who they claim to be, she faces a difficult choice.
Will she give her love or her life?

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Oooo, angels and a deal with the devil! Now how could I say no to that?! Answer: I couldn’t! Especially with #spooktober just around the corner (I received the ARC at the end of September) and Devil’s Deal sounded so delightfully… devilish! The prologue is very promising in terms of devilish goodness (or badness, depending on which way you’re looking at it) with an angel and a fallen angel having a discussion about mortals and shaking things up because angelic life gets old quickly apparently. However, as the story continued, I got more of a Mean Girls vibe than the Lucifer one I had been secretly hoping for…

via GIPHY

Wait, what was I saying?! Oh my, I got distracted for a minute there! Ahem, Mean Girls, yes! Why? Because it’s the first day of school and two hunky boys (really, am I the only one who didn’t have broad-shouldered hunks in her class in high school?!) have transferred to Nora’s class and suddenly her best friend turns into a jealous b****, not wanting the boys to even talk to Nora, and making sure their friends shun Nora too. All the while the reader knows who these boys are, but the characters do not, and even the reader is not quite sure why precisely the boys are there, doing what they’re doing.

In other words, Devil’s Deal takes its time getting to the point: the supernatural thing is barely even there for most of the novel, and I felt it read more like a regular YA novel, for about the first 80% of it. Did that bother me? Well, perhaps a teeny tiny bit. The paranormal elements, the true nature of two of the main characters and the truth about the actual deal made with the Devil is only elaborated on in the last part of the novel, at which point some Greek mythology is also thrown in for good measure. I really enjoyed this part, and I would have liked a little more of this action a little earlier on in the novel. Still, it was also nice to get to know the characters at a leisurely pace. Because of that, the actions that they carried out later on made sense and felt true to their nature, I had got to know them well enough to know. Despite not immediately getting what I had bargained for, Devil’s Deal grabbed and kept my attention throughout. It was a quick and easy read and I quite liked Nora, although she sometimes came across as too much of a goody-two-shoes for my tastes. I very much enjoyed the relationship between Nora and her parents. I hate the YA thing of the main character being able to get into all sorts of mischief because their parents aren’t present (in mind and/or body). As someone with very present parents, that has always felt so unrealistic to me, so Nora’s parents and their bond with their daughter are a breath of fresh air!

Devil’s Deal is Tessa’s debut full novel (she has previously self-published a short story collection, Tales of Lunis Aquaria) and as far as debuts go, this one shows a lot of promise. Devil’s Deal is Book One in the Infernal Contracts series and I’m sure that’s why the reader gets to wade in gently, instead of being thrown in at the deep end. To be perfectly honest, now and then I could feel a certain lack of experience in the writing, but certainly not in a way that spoiled my reading pleasure.

If you like reading YA with a paranormal twist, and want to support an indie author while you’re at it, do check out Devil’s Deal! I for one am an eager beaver to find out what will happen to Nora and her angels next, and I can’t wait for Book Two!

Many thanks to Tessa for the e-ARC! All opinions are my own.

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