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Series: Mortal Path #1
Rating: 1 of 5 stars/DNF
Three hundred years ago, she sold her soul to a demon. Now she wants it back.
For centuries, the woman calling herself Maliha Crayne has lived a second life – as an assassin for the malevolent creature who owns her soul. A haunted killer with the blood of countless victims on her hands, she has finally discovered a way to nullify the demonic pact that chains her: If she saves a life for every one she has taken, she will be free.
But if she fails, her punishments will be unspeakable, unendurable . . . and neverending.
Yeah, I’m not finishing this.
This isn’t a terrible book. The writing isn’t even that bad. The plot has a little promise, and it certainly started out with a bang. But somewhere between the beginning and the next few chapters, there was so little development–or, perhaps, more than such a small amount of pages could handle in reality–that I kinda got confused along the way.
Susanna starts out pregnant in colonial times, accused of witchcraft by a jealous woman and burned at the stake, but not before her baby is stillborn in a jail cell with no help from anyone. While she is being burned, the demon Rabishu makes her an offer to spare her life–and even give her great powers of speed, apparent invincibility, ageslessness, etc.–to become his slave assassin. At first she’s more than happy to oblige. But then she comes to regret this decision.
That’s Chapters 1 & 2.
Chapter 3 is where things start getting skim-worthy. Susanna goes on these missions to kill others with this enormous weight of guilt and reluctance on her shoulders and for the life of her, she will not shut up about her dead baby born in a jail cell before she was burned alive. It’s been years since the incident, presumably decades at this point–I don’t remember, though no do I care–and she still incessantly thinks about nothing else but the baby. It’s annoying.
And then some time passes during which her regret grows more and more pronounced until she re-hashes a deal with Rabishu that entails she balance out her death toll with lives saved… except it’s not a 1:1 ratio (for some reason?) and all her powers as the demon’s slave are taken expect for a few exceptions with extreme limitations that place her only a small hair above the typical capabilities of human beings.
I mean, I was bored by this point, but I was still kinda interested, at least. And then, all of a sudden, it’s present day, and her name is Maliha Crayne, pronounced all funny and spelled all funky, except it’s not like anyone knows it because she goes by Marsha Winters (or something) to the public as a cheesy-mystery-novel-writer, so it kinda cancels itself out as far as importance. There is a LOT of internal monologuing and even MORE of her just narrating things through any one of her many activities that take up 3 pages of explanation.
And I just can’t do it anymore. It’s a bad case of starting a story at the wrong point, I think, or executing a timeline so terribly to ignore. Maybe if the start of all this had been relegated to backstory, or limited to Chapter 1, or re-assigned as a prologue, or something, then the timeline would’ve read more seamlessly. Or if the whole double-persona thing was given a meaning. She went by Susanna for hundreds of years, after all. There was no defining point at which she decided to change her name that would give the desired effect of rebirth or a renewed purpose. And then the concept! The concept of redemption is totally lost in that ridiculous contract, not to mention Rabishu. He is possibly the least scary/intimidating/remotely demonic demon ever. His existence/involvement was also explained through internal monologuing and narration.
I just… just… *long sigh*