Devil's Bargain by Rachel Caine
Paperback, 331 pages
Published 5th October 2012 by Mira Ink
Playing by the psychic underworld's rules has cost.
Jazz Callender's whole life just got turned upside down. Her friend Ben's been convicted of a crime he didn't commit, and Jazz is determined to clear his name, even if it means enlisting the help of dark forces.
Enter James, a stranger with a mysterious offer. If Jazz pledges to work for The Cross Society, a shadowy secret organisation, he'll help her save Ben.
But as she's thrust into a world of psychic powers and dangerous magic, Jazz isn't just bargain for her friend's freedom. She's bargaining for her soul too.
And how high a price is she willing to pay?
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My thanks go to Mira for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.
Though I am a massive fan of the Morganville Vampires series, I have never read anything else by Rachel Caine. When I heard that Devil's Bargain was going to be re-released here in the UK, I thought it was definitely time to try some of her other work and I was very excited to do so.
From the blurb, Devil's Bargain appears to be a book that has a very strong supernatural/paranormal element to it. However, when I began reading the book, it wasn't quite what I expected. The story did flow well as it was, but I didn't enjoy it as much as I could have - this is probably because I was expecting something else, something more. I am only used to reading paranormal books that are aimed towards young adults, so perhaps this was the main difference for me - the writing in this book is probably more suited to adults. This isn't a bad thing at all - just not something I'm used to for this genre and something that I will have to get used to.
The thing that mostly bothered me about this book was that it felt certainly more like a thriller rather than a supernatural book, despite the description. The story starts when we meet our main character, an ex-cop, Jazz in a bar where she is approached by a man, James Borden, and offered a job of a lifetime. Jazz is naturally suspicious and so contacts Lucia Garza, her potential business partner. They meet up, learn about each other, discuss the business and although still slightly suspicious, decide to accept the offer. There is a lot of mystery about who Jazz and Lucia are actually working for and why, but towards the end we learn that there is a connection with The Cross Society and a psychic convicted murderer. The psychic element of the book only comes in around the last half of the story and I personally would've liked it if we had got to learn more about it. I hope, and expect, that this will be further developed along the series. The story is very eventful and something is always happening. However, despite all of the action, I wasn't completely compelled by the book - it wasn't something that I was eager to keep picking up.
The characters in Devil's Bargain are a positive point of this book. Both female lead characters definitely have kick-ass attitudes. I really liked Jazz's confidence and her determination. Though Lucia definitely had a different personality, she was the perfect business partner for Jazz and they interacted extremely well- the strength in this book, for me, was certainly the character interaction. I thought Manny, Jazz's friend was probably the most intriguing character and I would love to learn more about him. There was romance in this book, but to be honest it was a little too predictable for me and I'm glad that it wasn't the main focus.
Overall, whilst Devil's Bargain was a decently written book, I didn't feel as though it was anything exceptional. I did have high expectations for this book, so perhaps that was why I was a little let down! The thing that disappointed me most about this book was that there wasn't enough supernatural substance for me - however, if I was aware of that before reading, then I'd probably have enjoyed it more. The writing style flowed well, the story was never slow - something was always happening and for me, the characters were certainly the best part of the book. Recommended for thriller and paranormal fans who want an easy, action packed read!