For this month’s TBR, I decided to take a step in a new direction when it comes to reading. While I am staying close to the genres that I have always enjoyed, I am exploring new sub-genres. To start things off for February, I chose a recent Goodreads giveaway book, The Devil’s Daughter by Katee Robert, as my first read of the month. I’m glad that I did because it was honestly a lot better than I was expecting it to be.
I initially entered the giveaway for The Devil’s Daughter because the cover stood out to me. While I have never bought a book solely because of the cover, an eye-catching or colorful cover will always draw my attention whenever I am looking for a new book without any recommendations in mind. I was drawn in by the interesting font, and the different shades of purple, blue and green made me focus on the book and take a look at the giveaway page. When paired with the synopsis, I knew that I had to read this book. Although different from what I would normally pick up, the hints at romance, along with the mystery of the unknown centered around a crime scene made me pick this book up almost immediately after I received it from the giveaway.
This review contains spoilers
To be completely honest, although I ended up thoroughly enjoying The Devil’s Daughter, the first few chapters were difficult for me to read. Interestingly enough, it’s not due to any flaw on part of the author. The writing, from the beginning, is good. From the start, there is suspense to keep you going. You constantly find yourself wondering what is going on and longing to know more. The characters are interesting, especially Eden. I was intrigued not only by her past but as her role as an FBI agent (an occupation I’ve always been curious about). There are hints at mythology, which are awesome. And, although there are a few areas where the language is a little awkward, overall, the writing is detailed and descriptive; the flow of the novel is great. The one thing that almost kept me from reading The Devil’s Daughter is very small, and honestly, rather ridiculous on my part.
Early on, you are introduced, in passing, to a character named Neveah. I hate that name. No offense to anyone who likes the name, I just don’t like it. At all. There’s something about it that instantly triggers me. At first, it was a slight annoyance, but in the very beginning, Neveah is brought up a lot. It’s justified and it makes sense, but I couldn’t stand it. There were times where I had to stop reading because I just didn’t like the name. I know how sad that sounds, but I couldn’t help it. A name alone was not enough to keep me from reading, however (I’m not that bad), and I continued onward. And I was rewarded.
The Devil’s Daughter is a story that is woven around the various myths of Persephone, with the main focus being on a cult that is tied to a number of recent murders. What makes the story even more interesting is that the main female character, Eden Collins, is directly connected to the cult. In fact, her mother is the leader and she, as a child, was forced to play the role of Persephone.
The cult, which is referred to as Elysia, for the most part, has a number of weird practices. There is almost no technology on the commune. The members of the cult are conditioned to believe wholeheartedly in their leader, Martha, who they look up to as a God. Everything necessary for life is made on the commune and there is almost no outside interaction. Typical cult stuff, right? It gets much worse. There are strange tattoos that appear on the bodies of chosen girls. And, in following various myths surrounding Persephone, the cult partakes in an activity in which one girl is buried alive each year as a sacrifice. (What?! Yeah, it happens). If she manages to make it out alive, by clawing her way to the surface, a feast occurs and everything is happy. Unknown to everyone else, darker things are occurring within the cult.
This brings us to Eden, who is the key to the entire murder plot. Immediately, it is clear that Eden is connected. She has a number of tattoos that tie her to the murders. In addition to the bodies of the victims sharing a number of physical resemblances to Eden, there are tattoos involved; tattoos that Eden was forced to receive as a child.
The Devil’s Daughter is full of twists. As you spend the novel focusing on Eden and the small town sheriff, Zach, who are working together to uncover the truth behind the strange and brutal events that occur behind the scenes, secrets are revealed about the cult. Whenever you think that you know who the killer might be, you are proven wrong, and it’s wonderful.
I was honestly surprised at the ending. Very surprised. Instead of giving away the killer, I will instead mention just how deep the myth of Persephone goes. As if burying a girl alive every year wasn’t bad enough, the killer twists the cult sacrifice further. The girls ‘chosen’ by the killer in an attempt to lure Eden back to town are not willing (as they are in the cult). Instead, they are abducted, beaten, abused, raped, buried and then killed. It’s wrong on so many levels. But Robert does a great job bringing in different aspects of cult mentality, the myth surrounding Persephone and the various spins that different cults have put on it over the years.
In addition to being quite suspenseful and intense until the very end, there’s a budding romance plot in the background! As if the desire to know what happens with the cult and murders wasn’t enough to keep me reading, the romance aspect of the book is wonderful. It’s extremely well-written and enjoyable to read. You learn more about Eden and Zach, two characters who have secrets. They both know pain, and they both long for escape. Although the idea of two characters getting together as an escape from their pasts and the pain of working on a case close to home is initially unappealing and feels artificial, there is compassion there. The relationship isn’t forced. It’s not perfect. However, it does offer a nice break from the dark story unfolding. It’s obvious that the characters actually care about each other. And it’s passionate. The Devil’s Daughter is worth reading for the relationship between Eden and Zach alone, it’s that well done.
The Devil’s Daughter was full of surprises and I loved every minute of it. Going in, I had no idea what to expect. I knew there would be romance. I knew that there was murder, and I knew that a cult was involved. Initially, the first few chapters were a little rough around the edges and included a number of things that I wasn’t a huge fan of, but the action and suspense kept me going.
As The Devil’s Daughter unfolds, you are presented with a story that is beautiful and haunting. The level of detail in the writing increases as you get further into the book, and a well-written love story unfolds. I found myself looking forward to those moments, and I fell in love with Eden and Zach. Here’s to hoping that there will be a sequel because I can’t wait to find out what happens to their relationship.