Mia’s ordinary life is disrupted in the most horrifying way possible when she is possessed by a hungry and powerful demon–and only saved by the arrival of relatives from Italy, the country her grandfather fled many decades ago. Now her cousins Emilio and Giuliano say the only way to keep her safe is for her to come back with them to Milan, to live, to learn Italian, to fall in and out of love, and to master the family trade: fighting all demons with the lore of bell, book, and candle. Milan is not what Mia expected, but it will change her forever, in this stunningly well-written novel about an American girl who, fleeing an ancient evil, finds her only salvation in her ancestral home.
1 1/2 stars
This review is based on an eARC received from NetGalley and EgmontUSA. The book will be released August 28th, 2012
This is the part of this job I really don’t like. I always try so hard to find one redeeming quality in every book I review, but with this one … I just can’t.
The 1 1/2 stars is for all the potential. I think that was also the most frustrating part. There were so many little, awesome details in this book that I felt were a set up for something E-P-I-C but then … nothing. Literally nothing really happened in this book at all.
To be honest, I shouldn’t have kept reading. But I did. Because I was so sure something huge was going to happen around the corner of each page. But it never did.
~Mild spoilers ahead~
I also hate doing reviews with spoilers, but on this one I can’t help but give out some mild ones to make my point. Starting at the beginning…
Mia goes to Milan after she’s been possessed by a demon. Her strange relatives arrive and save her. She is immediately attracted to Emilio … her cousin. Who has a girlfriend no one in the family likes, and who doesn’t like any of the females in the family. This plot tangent is never dealt with, only mentioned briefly.
Her relatives go on and on about how they can’t teach her about demon catching because than the demon will know everything she knows, but they tell her a whole bunch of stuff and let her help with exorcisms anyways. The demon knowing everything that she knows thing is never dealt with.
There are two incorporeal spirits in her room that only Mia can hear. They show up at random intervals for no particular purpose. Their presence is never explained nor explored.
Mia has a five second crush on a guy named Lucifero, a Satanist. He takes her out for coffee, gets possessed by her demon and then after that is sent to the hospital and disappeared off the face of the earth. He and his group–who tried to “infiltrate” her family a little earlier in the book–are never heard from again.
What DOES happen in the book then, you ask? Pages upon pages of cooking, getting to know Mia’s HUGE family cast and Milanese history. Also, Mia talking like a teenager straight from a sitcom.
I really can’t adequately express my frustration with this book. I think it’s worse because I believed in this book SO MUCH despite SO MUCH evidence to the contrary. In the end, just when it seems like the book is about to get started, it ENDS. Just ENDS. With nothing much ever having happened in the first place.
When I was at my last writing workshop, I wrote a piece of flash fiction, and the critique was that it seemed like the real story began where I had written “The End.” That is exactly the problem with this novel. Beyer could have begun this series after this book says “The End,” summed up what happened here in a paragraph and had a much stronger novel. Though there will be a sequel to this book, I don’t believe I’ll be reading it.