I'm trying to like it but it's a bit juvenile for my tastes.
The world could be interesting. The are five realms:
“Who can name the five realms and their people?”
Paulette raises her hand, the better to show off her new Rolex.
“Heaven with angels, Hell with demons, ghouls in the Dark Lands, quasis in Purgatory and–” Paulette frowns.
Miss Things rolls her eyes. “Thrax in Antrum.”
Paulette’s face reddens.
Our teacher lets out a high-pitched giggle. “Don’t worry, you silly little fool. You just illustrated my point about your people being a lower form of life.”
(I have no idea why humans weren't mentioned.)
A demon has conquered the Purgatory and enslaved all the quasi-demons. He instated the ghouls as "overlords" of the quasis.
"Purgatory is one massive bureaucracy with the charm of suburbia and the fun of a minimum-security prison. All the work’s done by unpaid quasis like me (we’re not allowed to call ourselves ‘prisoners’). Ghouls keep us in line and make sure we’re–cough, cough–super happy in our service."
There is an Arena where demons, ghouls and angels all come and watch humans fight quasis/demons/ghouls to the death to determine if they go to hell or heaven. Our protagonist, Myla, is one of the three creatures a human can choose to fight. She's eighteen and has been fighting there since she was twelve years old.
This all seems like a setup for a serious story but there is nothing serious about about Myla. There is actually no gravity or depth to any of the characters I've met so far.
Myla is a very good fighter and would like nothing else but to fight in the Arena and not go to school.( "School for Quasi Servitude") When students graduate they will be given a service to do for the ghouls.
"All quasis must perform a service; Mom sews and mends robes. It could be worse. My friend Cissy’s mom is a ghoul proctologist."
Myla's Mom is annoying as hell. She is overly protective, cries all the time, and refuses to tell Myla about her father. She's been getting on my nerves since page one.
This scene was particularly frustrating:
“What’s wrong, Mom?”
Her voice comes out low and quiet. “I was looking for sewing supplies and found this.” She twists the robe into a ball on her lap. Tears drip from her nose onto the delicate fabric.
The over-worrying Mom I can handle. Hysterical, nagging, dramatic? No problem. But this incredible, bone-crushing sadness? It makes me want to wrap her up in a blanket, then go out and kill whoever made her this miserable.
I gently squeeze her shoulders. “So, what’s that robe?”
Mom turns to me, her chocolate eyes bloodshot. “You don’t know?”
No. Myla doesn't know because her mother hasn't told her anything about anything. What does her mother do? She asks for some time alone and tells Myla that she won't ever talk about it. Ever.
The reality of her words slam into me like a fist. My bottom lip quivers. I never seriously considered that Mom wouldn’t eventually tell me everything about her past. But now, seeing the desperation in her bloodshot eyes, I know she never will. Whoever my father is, whatever happened to her in Armageddon’s war, those secrets will die with her.
I nod slowly, my eyes stinging. “Okay.”
Argh. What a bunch of pointless crap.
I'm also not feeling a lot of love towards Myla's best friends. She's in love with the school slut-boy and talking about it has taken up way too much page space so far in this book. (The slut boy, of course, wants Myla since she ignores him. *groan*)
My back teeth lock as I glance around the room. Every girl within pheromone-smelling distance aims goo-goo eyes at Zeke. Why am I the only one who thinks his Mister Romance routine is annoying? I’m probably the only senior at school who’s never had a crush, never been kissed. What’s up with that?
I straighten my shoulders and angle my body away from Zeke. I’ve got more important things to worry about than boys, THAT’S what’s up with that. I pretend to be very interested in my textbook. Hopefully, he’ll get the hint.
That's right, a girl in Myla's situation would have a lot more important things to deal with than high-school drama. Then why is this book subjecting me to it?!
Like I said: juvenile. Simple. Shallow. And the world-building is too straightforward.
I'm not quitting yet. I think I finally found the plot of this book. It was introduced thusly:
Myla is brought to the Arena to supposedly fight a bad human but instead there is only a crying woman who refuses to fight since she believes she deserves to die.
“That’s wrong, Walker.” My eyes flash demon red. “Why isn’t that woman going to Heaven?”
“Some souls believe they deserve Hell, even if a trial would send them to Heaven.” He shakes his head from side to side. “Under the old regime, quasis would never have allowed this human to choose trial by combat.”
Myla(dumbass) goes to save her and here we get our plot. I think.
I’m halfway out the archway when Walker yanks me back. “What are you doing, Myla?”
I shake him off. “It doesn’t seem right. Maybe I can grab her–”
“And get torn apart by a thousand demons.” He wags his head from side to side. “That would help no one.”
My voice catches in my throat. “Isn’t there anything I can do?”
“Not at this time, I’m afraid.” He scans the Arena, his gaze resting on Verus. “But soon, maybe. I believe our angel allies have a plan to give Purgatory back to your people.”
My heart kicks into overdrive. Purgatory free? Armageddon and his cronies gone? Count me in. “What will they want me to do?” I slap my palm onto my forehead. “Of course, that’s more than obvious. Fight.”
“Most likely.” He sighs. “But with angels, you never know for certain until it’s too late.
Wow. A rebellion is revealed to Myla right as she shows her immaturity and inability to think logically.