This could’ve been something amazing. I mean like stupid-amazing. Unfortunately, it was lacking in so much detail it was almost a two-star. What the author was trying to do was admirable, but it didn’t pay off. It was just rushed with no explanations for everything.
Most people may not be bothered by this bit but the blurb reads like this story is very much about Finn and his conquest to win a demon. Yet there’s only a picture of Elle on the cover and the story is clearly told from both their POVs. On that point, nothing is ever clearly explained and there’s a lot of explanation going on. Talks in detail about scenes, talks in detail about what characters are doing or thinking in particular scenes, like all sorts of stuff that could’ve been compiled in a few paragraphs instead of a few pages. So I found myself skimming looking for the ever-elusive plot and it didn’t materialise.
For example, Finn is always going on about this plan, how he’s a gambler, how this bet may end his life and so on and so forth. He even goes on about how much he needs Elle. It never pays off. He’s always ‘i hope she goes along with my plan’ but you kinda have to know a plan to go along with it. He never says what this plan is. They never discuss it even when he makes a deal with her it still isn’t clear. Like he says he wants her to be his and his alone but that’s it and the readers already know this. If there’s an end game involving her father Styx what exactly is she agreeing to? Plot spoiler here, apparently there is no big deal, he quite literally asks if he can have Elle. That’s it. All this big gamble going on and he only asked for permission to keep her. Styx could’ve just said no and sent him on his way unscathed. Where’s the big gamble?
That being said, Elle isn’t much better. She hypes herself up as this soul stealer and this and that. Over monologues about things just like Finn but nothing actually moves the story forward. It reads much like someone overthinking which is fine but as a reader coming into this expecting an erotic game of powerplay it serves the same purpose as all of Finn’s non-information. What does any of this have to do with the big end game gamble? The most annoying thing about it was after all that talk, she never really had to choose to submit. She let him, after centuries of being the most feared succubus of Styx’s daughters, bind her with a silver belt buckle. Where’s all the centuries of power and cunning and… sigh. It would’ve been better if she had won, and Finn had lived and not succumb to her, and that was the gamble.
Knowing everyone she beds dies, but there are some who can survive, well just one apparently, the gamble would’ve been that he was her true love. That he was meant for her and her, being the one with the power now had the choice to devour him for real or accept his offer to be hers. I honestly thought that was the big thing but that didn’t happen. Some sort of tension was supposed to be drummed up by Styx thinking his daughter would kill Finn but it just seemed like forced tension when at that point the readers may not be invested in it anymore. Plus Styx’s revelation at the end completely contradicts his hoping Elle would kill Finn plotline.
Styx, sigh. As ruler of the underworld knowing what his daughters can do, he enslaves them. Someone that smart, and old, would use that power to his advantage and try to train them to work on their urges, or at the very least serve his enemies up to them. Instead, he makes them hate him enough to run away so they cause infinitely more harm than they would if he made them feel, like his sons, that their power was actually useful. And while I did like the information he gave it was just like the other POV’s a whole lot of information that could’ve been expressed with less page time in simple conversation/action.
Overall, that was the real problem here. The fact Elle could indeed kill Finn so their relationship was a gamble wasn’t played up well. It was definitely a perfect source for tension especially with Elle holding the power. And Elle ended up coming off as weak by being so easily subdued. The adult scenes were good but some of the monologuing took away from that instead of adding and there wasn’t enough steam to completely ignore the plot problems.
It read like it wanted to be more. Talked a lot about the more that it wanted to be but didn’t dig deep into all of that. The characters were interesting and, considering all that, this would’ve been an easy five stars if a lot of the POV’s/monologues were removed to delve into that. Finn is a Demigod and Demon hunter for Styx. When did he first meet Elle, why did he sign up for the bargain with Styx in the first place? Lots of people want immortality. Most demigods don’t even know they are one so why didn’t he ask his own father for immortality. Killing demons is a high stakes game that you would only enter if you knew you would win. So how was Finn so sure he would?
Elle, it would’ve been so fun to see her in action. A lot of good steamy scenes to be had plus a firm grasp on how good she is at this game and why it was the biggest gamble Finn could play trying to win her. Firstly, she had the advantage. Secondly, if he was wrong, he would die. So on some level he would’ve had to believe she had feelings for him and he was the one, but how?
Lastly, Styx’s intentions are reasonable. Perfect even. More of him and how he was plotting and this was all his doing would’ve really pushed this story into awesome. It’s always nice to know that the characters think they have free will but someone else is actually pulling the strings. The ending monologue tied up stuff but ultimately gave the same rushed feeling like all the rest without really pushing the story anywhere.
My takeaway from this story is that it wanted to go so many places and set it all up fairly well but both the main characters talk circles around things and none of it ever gets the chance to reach its full potential. Too bad because on the surface this is a good story and had all the makings of steamy fun if only it had spent more time on the elusive plot angle and used Elle to her full advantage with even more steamy scenes.