From Goodreads: Sixteen-year old Desolation Black wants nothing more than to stay in Hell where it’s cold and lonely and totally predictable. Instead, she’s sent back to Earth where she must face the evil she despises and the good she always feared.
When Desi is forced to embrace her inner demon, she assumes her choice has been made—that she has no hope of being anything other than what her father, Lucifer, has created her to be. What she doesn’t count on, is finding a reason to change—something she’s never had before—a friend.
The Writer's View
I really enjoyed this book -- and it's free! Seriously guys, go download this one now!
The heart of this book is what really grabbed me. There's a deep message about choice, about how each and everyone us, to a great extent, can chose our reality. I'm not saying we can choose to be millionaries, but we can chose to be loveable; we can choose to be happy; we can chose to ignore our darker sides ('cause let's face -- none of us is perfect, but we can try!).
This is what Desolation, the MC, is all about in this novel. As the daughter of the devil, choice is harder for her than most. I really enjoyed her inner turmoil and experiencing her struggle. She's far from perfect, but that just made her all the more loveable to me.
There are two amazing side characters, her two best friends Lucy and Miri. They are wonderfully developed characters. Watching their relationships with Desi unfold really sucked me in. Both them them really helped define Desi and the message of this book, and I just loved it. The only really weak and under-developed relationship was with Michael, the love interest, but since I'm not a huge fan of insta-love, I was okay that this relationship was sidelined.
Benefits of Telling vs Showing in a YA novel
Despite how much I enjoyed this book, there was one thing lacking for me: worldbuilding of Hell. Desi talks a lot about what it was like living in Hell, but in the book she only spends about one or two chapters there, and those chapters are very brief. I found myself really wanting to experience her version of Hell, not just hearing about it second hand. However, as I thought about it, the only way the author could have done this was to slow down the pacing and make the novel much longer. Seeing as how this is a YA novel, I think Cross made the right choice is telling vs. showing Hell to the readers. A longer and slower novel may be appropriate for an adult epic fantasy audience, but not for a YA audience.
I think as writers, we always have to keep our intended audience in mind. I feel fast pacing is essential to a good YA novel. Sacrifices often have to be made to achieve that fast pace, but as this novel shows, I think the trade-off is worth it.