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April 5, 2014

Liked It: Dark Hope by HD Smith + Giveaway

Series: The Devil's Assistant 1
Format: PDF
Release Date: March 3, 2014
Publisher: Champagne Books
Source: Tour Organizer
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Loving a demon isn’t the end of the world—losing him is.

Claire, the Devil’s assistant, knows very little about the world she was dropped into five years ago, when she inherited her mother’s unpaid debt to the Demon King. She certainly didn’t expect to be a contender for the Fallen Queen’s throne, a target for the Druid King’s mafia, or a suspect in the murder of Junior, the Devil’s oldest hell spawn.

In a last ditch effort to save her life and get out of her deal with the Devil, she sets out to solve Junior’s murder only to be taken prisoner by the four most dangerous immortal hell spawn alive.

Not to be out done, the Pagan Queen Mab, claims Claire for entering her realm uninvited. She has an old debt to settle with her brother the Devil. Taking Claire from him after losing her years ago is just icing on the cake.

Will Claire win her freedom, and save herself from the Devil? Or be trapped by Mab forever?

Your existence will bring about tyranny like no one has experienced in thousands of years. You will cause a great divide between the reals. You will cause sons to fight their father and win. You will cause chaos. You will unleash the great destroyer. One will betray, and one will die. - The Prophecy.
DARK HOPE HD Smith is like Back To The Future meets Alice in Wonderland and the myth is a combination of Pagan and Christian complete with prophecies and blood contracts. Smith created a very interesting recipe and with a series title like The Devil's Assistant, no UF/PNR lover would be able to resist DARK HOPE, it's worth checking out at least.

The story opened in a humorous way. Hell has a corporate office and Claire is the The Devil's Assistant charged with mundane tasks of The Boss' daily corporate life such as processing people's contracts, daily calendars and mediating employee grievances about health and dental care and other typical corporate employee shiznit. It all changed when Claire was sent to pick up a parcel but ended up getting her "future" read. Turns out it's a prophecy and Claire is supposedly the harbinger of something. And as if being an accidental savior isn't enough, people have started testifying that they've seen Claire with The Boss' son, Junior, firing up the rumor mill. The only problem there is Claire's got a boyfriend so that's not a good thing. Then someone died and people are being put on nasty spells then everything turned into this one big giant mess that in the end, Claire's world as she knew it ceased to exist. 

Yup, DARK HOPE has a solid urban fantasy plot. Although I have to confess I got so impatient mid-story because the motives of these people who want Claire isn't clear. OK she's special but WHAT makes her special and WHO is she exactly? And as I've said, Claire's an accidental heroine and she spent her time either running away or getting captured by several people for the most part so she doesn't appear to be as formidable as one would expect their heroine to be. No badass fighting skills, no mad set of ammo to keep the bad guys at bay, no manifestation of superpowers that will bring people to their knees, nothing spectacular yet. And she is supposedly the Underworld's savior? *scratches head*

The backstory was eventually revealed towards the last quarter of the story and some of the mysteries were solved but there are still some gray areas. Still I don't see how Claire is going to be this super heroine by the end of DARK HOPE. The only promising thing she has at this point is the magic of her blood its powers she has yet to harness. Then there's the thing with her boyfriend, Jack. Claire mentioned how much she values her relationship with Jack but we never really got to meet the guy aside from his brief cameo appearance. This is another head-scratch moment for me because the way the story unfolded, we're supposed to have a certain investment in Jack and his relationship with Claire and what that represents but it wasn't highlighted so its significance to Claire's character development was diminished. Then there's also a few convenient things that were dropped to create this fantastical plot. 

Now don't get me wrong, DARK HOPE is a good read, it's a great series introduction even if I have qualms about the characters. It's strength lie on the myth and world-building. There's time travelling which explains my Back To The Future reference. There's also powerful magic involved so some of the places Claire went to felt like Alice's Rabbit Hole, odd and enchanted. Then there's the Christian flavor with Hell, Purgatory, Angels & Demons. I loved the world Smith created and with Mab as the villainess, you can expect a lot of clever plotting and traps set for Claire. 

What's promising is DARK HOPE is the first book of The Devil's Assistant and the series plot, conflict and eventual resolution is quite complicated the story has lots of room to grow. Smith was meticulous in setting the stage, positioning the players and carefully introducing the characters and their roles in this epic story of hers. Though I have minor gripes about Claire, the good news is if her character development turns out to be as awesome as what the prophecy promised, then her growth as a heroine will be astounding. And it's the realization of this huge undertaking Smith set that will have me reading The Devil's Assistant.




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The Devil's Assistant. You have to admit, that is one interesting job title so I have to ask what entails this curious position. I don't think The Boss is taking applications right now, file it under Just In Case



The executive administrative assistant to Conrad Bosh III, the CEO at Tucker Bosh, needs the following skills (and what that really means):
  • Ability to distribute information to corporate officers: deliver messages from The Boss to his kids [hellspawn] and associates, without getting killed [or indefinitely detained in a ring of salt guarded by rabid dogs] in the process
  • Ability to copy, file, process, and collate important company directives: handle disgruntled employees being let go by the company … i.e. processing said employees one way ticket to Hell
  • Ability to form synergistic relationships with all departments: take calls from Maintenance on why they don’t get dental … no one gets dental
  • Ability to work closely with other executive admins: inform The Boss of anything remotely unpleasant because the responsible parties don’t have the balls to do it themselves, e.g. the company is being audited—again, or Maintenance wants dental [see above comment—no one gets dental!]
  • Ability to interact with previous corporate assets: deal with the ex-wives when The Boss can’t be bothered—let’s just say “Hell hath no fury” if you know what I mean

On second thought, I think I'll pass....


HD Smith has been writing as a hobby for over ten years. DARK HOPE is her first traditionally published full length novel. She has previously self-published two middle grade novellas in ebook format. She is a software developer by day, working for an awesome cruise line in Celebration, FL.

HD grew up in South Carolina, but has called the Sunshine State home since 1997. She has Computer Science degrees from Clemson University (CS) and Florida Institute of Technology (MS). Her other hobbies include painting and screen printing. She enjoys creating t- shirts inspired by the places in her books.


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29 comments:

  1. It does sound pretty cool, but I would wait and see how book 2 turns out

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    1. I'll be sure to read it and give y'all an update

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  2. Dark Hope sounds good!! Definately something a UF/PRN fan would like. :)

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  3. Sounds like a good read. I'm a big fan of PNR/UF so I'll have to give it a try.

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  4. I liked your honest review. I shall keep an eye on this series :D

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  5. Thanks so much for the amazing giveaway!! Definately a book for my TBR list & Urban Fantasy x

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    1. Good luck! If you win make sure you grab a copy :)

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  6. This book is everywhere the last couple of days! I have to admit, I have fairly high expectations for it b/c the premise just sounds so cool (I heart Fae). I hope the characters work for me better than they did for you *wishes and hopes*

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  7. I've got this on on my tablet waiting for me. I'm looking forward to giving it a read. The world does sound great!

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    1. Oooh can't wait til you get to it, let's compare notes, maybe I've been too harsh on Claire

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  8. I always get a little aprehansive with 3 stars rating, I think is becaouse for me, that's just meh, but I love the sound of the setting. I think I'll add it to my list of "books waiting for audio" maybe if a really good narrator gets it I will give it shot.

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    1. I'm the same way but usually first books in a new UF series can be so-so, hopefully it picks up in book 2

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  9. While your opening sentence piqued my interest I am not one-clicking and the fact that it was meh for you kept me from breaking my commitment one hour into it! *I am sweating already*

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    1. Hahahaha! If that's the case, hold off and let's wait for book 2, see if it gets better then ;) but don't take my word for it too, you know our tastes vary so maybe you'll enjoy Claire better than I did

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  10. I think I would be very impatient as well, but I do admit.. the plot and the setting sounds kind of cool

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    1. It is right?! That's the hook for me, I want to see how far she'll go with that premise

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  11. oh a book about demons? It sounds so ineteresting, mainly as you know I love all things like that. Now I also want to read this one!!!! Like really want to! Thank you lady.

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    1. You're welcome, I will wait to read your take on the story.

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  12. Okay, this does seem like a fun fantasy premise. But I would want to know what makes Claire so special too. Thanks for the review!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Andrea, we'll find out soon what kind of magic her blood has

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  13. Back to the Future meets Alice in Wonderland?! I'm intrigued...I was a little weary of the three star rating but it's the first in a series so I totally get it. Thanks for adding another book to my TBR pile Braine! :P

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    1. You're welcome, let's help keep each other's TBR at a healthy level LOL

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  14. I think I've read a few to many fairytale spin offs lately but this sounds pretty intriguing. Thank you for sharing

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