Note: My arthritis is flaring up, so this review is going to be quick. Sorry, guys!
Stories that involve what happens after we die always seem to intrigue me. There's just something about that vast unknown that gets my imagination going, that makes me want to ask questions.
So when I was asked if I'd like to read and review The Devil's Triangle, the premise caught my attention right away. A guy getting a second chance after a major screw up in life, complete with some interesting paranormal concepts (The devil has a sister? Who knew?) sounded right up my alley.
The Devil's Triangle takes a great idea and infuses it with humor, interesting characters and some interesting twists and turns that made me glad that I took the time to read it.
(Summary from GoodReads)
When 17 year old Cooper dies in an attempt to burn down his school, he finds himself in the afterlife. Lucy, the Devil's sister who has crossed party lines, decides to give Cooper another shot at heaven. The deal? Cooper returns to Earth and has to find a girl named Grace. The rest is up to him.
While Cooper figures out his mission, he's thrown into the life he's always wanted. Great parents, a spot on the Varsity football team and a real future are all within reach. But what he really wants is Grace, a feisty girl with an abusive boyfriend who can pound Cooper into pulp if he doesn't watch out.
While Lucy plays demonic-puppeteer, clues to an unknown past between Cooper and Grace start to unravel. Cooper discovers that what's keeping him and Grace apart is far more sinister than anything this bad boy could have ever imagined.
The first thing I can tell you about The Devil's Triangle is that it's very clever. You aren't going to be spoon fed everything in a straight chronological order. You are going to spend some time asking yourself "What the hell is going on here?". But trust me, it's worth it. Trying to sort out Cooper's new life with him is an intriguing and often rewarding experience, and as the novel progresses, it all comes together beautifully.
The next thing I can tell you is that the careful blending between contemporary and paranormal themes in this book is well done. I liked how attention was paid both to the actual situation Cooper found himself in--having thirty days to try and fix where his soul was going--and what he was actually doing with those days.
The last thing I will tell you is that the way the mythology and ideas here are presented is both interesting and really fun. I liked meeting Lucy and Pete before Cooper goes back to earth, because the tone that their scenes set in the afterlife help set a tone for the rest of the book. This is a very fun, tongue in cheek narrative that will crack you up just as much as it will intrigue you. I found that really refreshing.
I thought that the cast was very solid here, especially the ways that they tied into how things were happening and how my perceptions shifted as I, as a reader, learned more about what was actually going on.
Cooper was a great narrator and an all around interesting guy. There aren't enough male narrators in YA and I found Cooper's voice very distinct and I'm sure he'll stick with me for a good long while, even aafter this review goes live. I feel that Toni De Palma should be congratulated for writing a guy who sounds like, well, a guy. I could easily have pictured my brothers saying and thinking a lot of the things Cooper did when they were in their teens.
I found Grace an interesting mystery, which seemed fitting since we get the story from Cooper's perspective rather then hers. So often I think girls and guys are confused by each other, and watching Cooper navigate the waters with Grace was interesting, especially with all of the plot related concerns that we weighted on top of the general awkwardness of girl and guy interactions at this stage of life.
The rest of the cast was interesting and did a great job of bringing out the central story of the two main characters. As stated above, Lucy and Pete were standouts. Blake was a character I loved to hate. And I felt that Cooper's interaction with his new parents were touching.
I thought that this was well done, and I loved how it fit with the rest of the story. The fact that there is a push and pull going on--that there is some form of connection between Cooper and Grace, and that at the same time we don't get "ZOMG Insta-Love"--was unique and raised a lot of questions.
I think that the way that romance and the rest of the plot was also well balanced. It can be hard to find the right ratio between plotlines and I think some good decisions were made here.
This was a solid effort. It's not going to end up on a top ten list, but it's also not going to be one of those pairings where I'm going "What were you thinking?". It also managed to sidestep my irritation at characters who are taken ending up as a love interest for someone else. I really wanted to get Grace as far away from Blake as possible.
A unique premise, humorous narration and a likable cast of characters succeed in making The Devil's Triangle an easy recommendation to fans of paranormal romance. There is a great balance here between combining things that make a great story and taking risks that result in something truly original. The Devil's Triangle is definitely worth checking out.