Author: H.A. Goodman
Publication date: April 5th, 2012
Publisher: Outskirts Press
When Stewart and Layla recruit a demon to spy on the Devil, their decision takes them on whirlwind ride through the afterlife. Journey alongside this young couple in H. A. Goodman’s new novel, Breaking the Devil’s Heart, and join forces with a teenage Angel outcast to bankrupt Satan's underground Company and save Heaven from civil war. H. A. Goodman's Breaking the Devil’s Heart is a roller coaster afterlife experience that tests a young couple's love, their grasp on reality, and the essence of human nature. What happens when Stewart and Layla tour Hell’s Marketing Department and Stock Exchange? What happens when their relationship is tested by Satan? This book is unlike anything you’ve ever read, or ever thought the afterlife might be like. Breaking the Devil’s Heart is an enlightening look into an alternate world, a new afterlife, and a profound journey inside the human conscience.Breaking the Devil's Heart isn't part of my usual YA shtick, but the originality and concept of this book drew me in.
Stewart and Layla, the protagonists of the novel, are "Observers"--basically angels who work in the gray--and they take on the corporation that is Hell in order to stop the sale of the mysterious "Formula," which demons have been selling to mankind to further the spread of evil on Earth.
I loved Goodman's creative take on angels and Hell. Especially the addition of Observers, because they had very cool abilities and I just have a weakness for morally ambiguous characters...For me, those are the best kind of characters! The idea that Hell is actually this huge, bureaucratic corporation was creatively constructed and thought-provoking. This idea was really brought to life by the world-building of this book, which was fantastic. From the actual offices of Hell to the dimensions created by Stewart and Layla's mind, I could really picture this twisted take on the afterlife.
Where this book fell flat for me was the characters. Stewart and Layla had an interesting back story, neat abilities, and an epic mission, but I found it hard to connect with them. Stewart's narration was very matter-of-fact, objective almost, and I had a hard time relating to him as a character. The characters came off as one-dimensional which detracted from my overall enjoyment of the book.
Rating: 3 stars*
All in all: This concept of this book was original and very thought-provoking, and I would recommend it for people who are usually into more fantasy/science fiction and favor plot-driven novels of character-driven ones. Overall, I think the story was well-executed; the religious aspect of this book is handled very well and it doesn't take over the actual plot of the story.
*I received a copy of this book for review purposes from the author. All opinions are my own.