Thursday, April 19, 2012

On Gambling: A Review of Devil's Kiss by Zoe Archer

Zoe Archer became cemented in my mind as "author of great historical/adventure/romance" when I read her Blade of the Rose book last summer. This newer series, the Hellraisers, i more of a straight paranormal romance, in a historical setting.

The Hellraisers are a group of bored and disenchanted men who make a deal with the devil for powers that suite their individual vices. Whit, the hero of our story, is a gambler, and he gains power over the odds. Zora, a young gypsy woman, tries to stop the deal from happening. When she fails, he is bound to Whit to do with as he pleases. Whit finds that he wants to seduce Zora, but without forcing her or using his powers. Sensing that there is still good in him, Zora sets out to help Whit undo the work of the devil and reclaim his soul.

Positive Comments

You know what's a fun quality for a romance novel hero? Deep seated psychological addiction issues. No, really. I've noticed this trend, especially in paranormals, where the hero is messed up in all kinds of interesting, angsty ways that lead to bad habits and occasional substance abuse. The thing is, for reasons I can't and don't want to explain to myself, I love damaged heroes. Whit is an interesting character. His boredom with the world and his fascination with gambling give him just enough of an edge to make him a memorable hero.

I really like how Archer writes heroines. I like that they're always useful. Zora has legitimate power, she's smart, and she's not afraid to tell Whit off. She saves the day just about as often as she's saved.

So, predictably, with a likeable hero and a likeable heroine, we get an enjoyable romantic relationship. It's got tension and sex appeal and fire. Literally. There's ghost voyeurism. Great stuff all around.

Critical Comments

Let's face it, the premise is a little tired. A lot of authors have done the band of brothers thing (you can't blame them, it's an excuse to write an extended series). Plus I've seen the souls-damned-to-hell-because-of-worldy-vices plot about a hundred times. At least it isn't a seven deadly sins theme. Gluttony isn't sexy.

I miss the wide scope of mythology that we saw in the Blades of the Rose books. Maybe it's not fair to compare, since this is kind of a different genre, but I can't help it. I like the unpredictability of a magical quest in some exotic place, where zombies or clay monsters might pop out at any moment. The pattern this followed was a lot more predictable, and a lot less captivating.


This is still a passably good paranormal romance. If you're new to Zoe Archer, I suggest trying the Blades of the Rose books instead. Otherwise, this book has it's merits and is fairly entertaining. 3 stars

Right now this book is available on Amazon for $1.99, a really sweet deal:  Devil's Kiss


  1. It's starting to piss me off how authors seem to have forgotten how to write stand-alones. Sure, series are nice, but not ALL the time. Great review, btw!

    1. Yeah, I know what you mean. Sometimes I just want one good story, not five. And I hate waiting years for them to all come out. It's very frustrating.

  2. I thought this one was so-so. I've heard good things about the Blade of the Rose series, so I may try that next since I don't think I'll continue with this one.

    Thanks for the review!

    1. Yeah, this one just doesn't stand out from the crowd to me, you know? The Blades books are fun and memorable, this one not so much. Although I may still continue the series, depending on my reading schedule.

  3. Hmmm, the premise seems interesting enough and I'm beyond curious about how Zora helps Archer gain his soul back from the devil. I'm loving that Zora is a strong heroine and can hold her own and go toe to toe with Archer. I rather despise the pathetic heroine. The damsel works my nerves.

    You have me interested, but I think I'll check out the Blood Rose series first as you suggested!

    1. If you're a Kindle person, there's a Blades of the Rose bundle on Amazon for like $10. You can't go wrong.


Thoughtful comments are appreciated! I always respond to them, and I usually return the favor! Happy reading!

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