Title: Devil’s Kiss
Author: Sarwat Chadda
ISBN: 9781423119999
Pages: 327 pages
Publisher/Date: Hyperion Books, c2009.

“How was school?” he said.
“What?”
“School. You did go, didn’t you?”
“School? How can you talk about school after what I’ve just done!”
“Done? What you’ve done is free a tortured soul. Whatever it looked like, whatever it said, that was not Alex Weeks. It was a spirit of pain feeding on the agonies this place has absorbed. Nothing more than a corrupt afterimage of that poor boy’s last moments.” He glanced at the broken swings. […]
She dropped to her knees and puked. It was black.
Her body buckled under each discharge. Arthur squatted down beside her and drew out a crinkled packet of cigarettes. “Yes, it was the same for me the first time.” He lit one. “Welcome to the Knights Templar.”

Biliqus “Billi” SanGreal has become the youngest and and only female member of the small group Knights Templar. Protecting the world from evil spirits, Billi’s life is anything but fun as her father forces her to train and take on responsibility for the world’s safety. She’s disappointed by the return of her former friend Kay, who has newly become the Oracle with his telekinetic powers and doesn’t seem to care about her anymore. She meets Mike on the subway, who seems to be the only person who understands her. But Kay’s overpowering abilities get the better of him, and now the Devil is out to release his associates who have been trapped behind a mirror. Will Billi be willing and able to enter the fight, or has she had enough of the Knights Templar for good?

I can certainly understand Billi’s reluctance to continue her training and involvement with the Knights Templar. Her mother’s death was a direct result of their actions, and it’s a difficult life to lead, with school and demon hunting obligations. We learned this with Buffy the Vampire Slayer. What I can’t understand is why it took her as long as it did to suddenly turn her back on the group. It seems to stem from a misplaced need to please a father who doesn’t show her any love, so while she resents participating in the group’s activities, she knows it’s the only way to possibly, eventually, garner his support.

Her instant trust in Mike seems also very out of character for her. She’s gone her entire life not trusting anyone outside of the Templars, and then after one meeting she’s inviting a guy home for tea. Talk about dumb struck! Some people might argue with me that she had good reason to be grateful towards Mike, but doesn’t mean you should let your guard down like she did! Then there is the friendship with Kay, which seems to alternate between extremes; extreme dislike and extreme gratitude and love which never really resolve themselves. I also understand the reasons the end fight goes down the way it does, but it’s disappointing who gets hurt in the process. It’s also surprising who gets hurt in the process and doesn’t die. I think what I was really looking for was growth amongst at least some of the characters, and that’s not what I got.

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