Breaking the Devil's Heart

Breaking the Devil's Heart - H.A. Goodman (I was provided a copy of this book from the author in return for a fair and honest review ect. Ect. And all that jazz). Dante’s trip through corporate Hell. No, but really, that’s an apt way to summarise this book in a short sentence. It starts out right in the midst of the action, pausing every so often to keep the reader up to speed in this afterlife that has been concocted. An afterlife that looks like corporate Hell for the demons, a chance at Heaven and the Angels, or a soul could remain within a moral grey area where the Observers exist. Stewart and Layla are two Observers who are on a quest to defeat evil once and for all. This book was a great deal more than I was expecting. Stewart is a character who is convinced he’s doing the utmost for the greater good, yet he walks in a realm of total grey morality. (We all know how fond I am of morally grey characters…) A great deal was touched upon in an almost philosophical manner about the root of evil and what it could be that caused it (a human condition? Is Hell just regret? Ect.) The only thing that really bothered me were some of the interactions between Stewart and Layla. I mean, I get that they’re spending their afterlife with each other and they are so madly in love and whatnot, I just thought that a few of their dialogues went to the point of being overly melodramatic (and to couples really call each other 'babe' that much? I digress...). In hindsight from the end of the book, I understand how said dialogues were necessary to the plot, during them, however, I found myself grimacing a bit and hoping they would end. That was my only real issue, though, and it fell to the wayside when Stewart’s former juvie student, Adrian was introduced (best character? Yes). After he died from a gang encounter, Adrian chose to become an Angel, and then chose to “adopt” his former tutors to try to help them in their quest, even though that would at times go against what he had agreed to morally when becoming an Angel. The best and most intriguing part about this book was easily the world building. Set in an afterlife in which Satan is a woman and God is mysteriously missing (it’s not that he doesn’t exist, it’s just that no one really knows), ones good or heinous deeds gets them either into Heaven or Hell. Hell is something like a fiendish corporate business in which the stock is human souls. And while Heaven is great, it’s experiencing problems of it’s own as the fundamentalists (not of any particular religion, more like all of them at once) attempt to take over Heaven and apply their own ideals on everyone else. It takes the afterlife and makes it all very close to, well, real life. This was just an incredibly thought provoking take on the idea of the afterlife and the idea of evil. Filled with looks back into some of the darker times of mankind’s past, Heavenly game shows, some morally grey heroes, and interesting plot twists all make up a somewhat philosophical take on the afterlife.