Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Review: Logic of Demons

LOGIC OF DEMONS: The Quest for Nadine's Soul
H.A. Goodman
Paranormal Young Adult
262 Pages
Available Now
Received from author for review

With one little decision to stay home instead of accompanying his wife to the mall, Devin's whole life changed. One more decision made out of a need to make his wife's murderer pay changed Devin's death. Now, instead of finding himself reunited with his wife and unborn child in the afterlife, Devin is enlisted in the service of The Company, selling a Formula to innocent souls–an endeavor that results in unfathomable consequences.

All Devin wants is to be with his wife, and he's told by his demonic mentor Templeton that if he just sells the Formula to a young teenage girl named Nadine, he will be free to search for his wife in this new realm of existence.

Soon however, Devin begins to wonder about The Formula he's peddling and the effects it will have on young Nadine. Before he can even attempt the sale he finds himself face to face with an Angel, one who makes him aware of the growing unrest between Heaven and Hell and the importance Nadine has to this epic battle. Devin made several regrettable choices in life, now the question remains as to whether he has learned enough to make the right ones in death, as his fate, Nadine's fate, and all of humanity's fate could be on the line.

Conceptually fascinating, Logic of Demons examines the extreme consequences resulting from the basest human behaviors, where the survivors of horrific crimes often scoff at the lack of divine intervention on their behalf, leading them to an entitled sense of vengeful retribution that usually only ends in additional pain. From there, the way for the eclipse of rationality and the birth of moral ambiguity is paved, and the separation of right and wrong can no longer be so easily defined. This story is a telling introspection, one that forces us to confront the fact that the evilest of deeds are often cloaked in a wrongful sense of righteousness, and at times overwhelming fanaticism provides the means to justify acts of inhuman cruelty. The broad spectrum of implications addressed causes us to question the reasoning behind our own day to day actions, and whether we have ever acted impulsively, thinking our behavior was morally and ethically sound but perhaps could have been more cruel or selfish in nature than we might care to admit.

Though the questions raised by this tale are haunting and endless, main character Devin is exceedingly difficult to relate to, his misery over his wife's death earning our sympathy and understanding, but the brutality of his retaliation erects a transparent wall between us where we can both see and hear him, but he remains out of reach of our full emotional absolution and the warmth of our complete embrace. He is consumed by a blind naivete, bumbling forth with a single-minded purpose that causes him to agree to virtually anything anyone asks of him regardless of the consequence. Devin is like the lightest of feathers, haplessly blown in the direction of the prevailing wind, and whether the whispers carried on those billowing gusts are poisonous or heavenly seems to matter little to him provided they get him back to his wife. He makes himself frustratingly pliable, able to be molded into any dominant personality's shape of choice without truly questioning what effects this new form might carry with it, and we have no choice but to read on as he repeats his mistake again and again.

The story itself is difficult to manage at times, often muddied by the presence of several snippets thrusting us into the midst of Nadine's vibrant imagination as well as flashbacks to a younger Devin, and these disparate elements begin to cloud the clarity of Devin's ultimate goal. Further adding to the confusion is the contrast of a fairly simplistic writing style indicating a younger target audience with the very graphic and violent imagery of the horrors of which humanity is capable. Thus, this story seems to be in a classification limbo, lacking some of the finesse that might appeal to an older audience, but also far more brutal than one would deem appropriate for all ages.

Mr. Goodman does provide a very interesting twist at the end, one that eases some of the confusion and begins to knit the disjointed elements back together, thereby leaving us with more of a sense of understanding than we've experienced at any point previously. This story has a powerful premise and a riveting concept, his ideas unmistakably unique and his vision of the afterlife intriguing, but at times the characterization and execution can cause readers to stumble in their journey with Devin. That being said, I expect more good ideas will no doubt come from Mr. Goodman moving forward, and I will certainly be keeping an eye out for his additional works.

Rating: 2.5/5


  1. The premise of this one sounded interesting but I don't think I'll be reading it. Thanks for the honest review, Jenny.

  2. Great review. Hmmm...I don't this one is for me. Concept sounds good but sounds like the writing is confusing.

  3. Great review, I loved the whole caught in the middle thing. Not knowing what decisions to make. It did make it thing if it was all in her head. Good ending.

  4. Very interesting. How is a married guy the protag for a YA? It's so hard to like a book when you can't relate to the main character. :-(

  5. I appreciate your honest take on this, Jenny. I thought the story was really well done, but I have to say that I had a bit of trouble with Devin, too. Hal is an awesome author though :)

  6. Zahida - You're welcome, it's got a great story, I just had some trouble with Devin.

    Nic - It was at times, the ending helped, but while I was reading I was quite confused.

    Savy - Definitely a good ending!

    Alison - This one is definitely an in between for YA and adult fiction, that was part of the trouble I had with it I think.

    Melissa - Agreed, I'll be looking for more from him!

  7. I'm with the majority... It sounds like an extremely interesting concept, I just don't know if it would be something I would be able to get through...

  8. Excellent review, I liked it a lot! And while I thought you had some very interesting things to say about the premise, the character (liked the wall comment), and even the problems with the story - I just couldn't get past the cover. I'm such a terrible cover snob, I know, and this one would have kept me from getting the book for awhile (even if I were reading good reviews).

  9. Avery - Though I had some trouble with it, a lot of other reviewers have not shared my opinion, so if you like the concept, you might want to give it a try!

    Jennifer - Thanks! Yeah, I'm a cover snob as well and had to force myself to overlook it:) I like the fire, but the boys hair is what gets me!

  10. Well said! I hadn't heard of this one before now, but it's interesting that it would be billed as YA considering that the protag is an adult.

    I notice that that is what caused some of the problems with the novel for you. I wonder if it would have made a difference if it had been written strictly one way or the other? I have to imagine that there is some subject matter that an author wont want to tackle when it comes to a YA novel and writing about revenge in a somewhat wholesome manner can be difficult.

  11. I do love the concept as it is too often a consequence of justifications to behavior. Great idea to tackle. Sorry you didn't quite find it a great book, but looks like you enjoyed his ideas. Interesting.

  12. Great review Jenny! Reading thru the storyline it does look interesting...cover of the book is not very appealing. If I stumble upon this book I might just read it but I definitely wouldn't buy it.

  13. Carissa - That was definitely part of the problem, I felt from the writing I was reading YA, but from the imagery I was reading an adult story so it was confusing. Great concepts though:)

    Melissa - He definitely had some interesting ideas, I just couldn't get on board with Devin.

    Kelsey - Thanks! I think a lot of people will love this one, it just wasn't for me:)

  14. Interesting thoughts, Jenny. I was contacted by the author, as well. I hope I enjoy the book. I love the concept and the real-world issues that are discussed.

  15. Very nice review Jenny. I dont think I'd like to read this books though =/

  16. I decided against reading this one because it sounded more like adult fic than YA. It sounds like that was a good call. I'm very much a character person, and the MC here doesn't seem like someone I would necessarily like. Thanks for your honest review.

  17. Ash - I'll be really interested to see what you think!

    Larissa - Thank you:)

    Small - I'm a character person as well and that's in part why I had some trouble with this one, Devin just acted in a way that frustrated me.

  18. This is another book sitting on my shelf just waiting for me to have time to pick it up. I'm extremely interested to see what I think after seeing that you enjoyed the idea, but couldn't relate to the main character (which is usually my favorite part of a story).

  19. Is this YA? He looks like he's straight out of Harry Potter, (Slytherin, maybe?) on the cover.
    Do they leave things murky at the end? I love a story with ambiguous moral characters -- where you can't tell who is good or evil, because, honestly, each person has their own reasons for behaving the way they do.

  20. Tara - I can't wait to see what you think either, I'll be stalking your blog looking for your review:)

    Madigan - I think it's supposed to be, it was kind of an in between age group book for me. Definitely no murkiness in terms of moral ambiguity at the end, the twist sums everything up:)

  21. I think I'll stay away from this one, but it does sound different.

  22. Can't say I've ever heard of this one before. The concept certainly sounds interesting, but the main protagonist doesn't really sound as if he's a character whose story I would be interested in. As always, wonderfully descriptive, detailed and well-thought out review!

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