Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Review: Soul Enchilada by David Macinnis Gill

Oh, man, this was a fun book.

I love gripping adventure stories, protagonists in peril and deep character dramas, but while all of those are often gripping and intriguing, they can rarely be described as "fun" (example: I love The Hunger Games and Catching Fire more than is probably healthy, but I am EXHAUSTED by the time I'm finished reading them because of the emotional ups and downs throughout. Entertaining and satisfying describe both books, but "fun"? Not unless you're Machiavelli).

Soul Enchilada, however, is fun, despite the literal life-or-death circumstances Bug finds herself in when she finds out her grandfather put her soul and beloved car up for collateral in a literal deal with the devil.

Bug hasn't had an easy life - her mother died in a house fire when she was young and she and her grandfather have bounced from one crappy apartment to another. But Bug doesn't wallow in self pity - instead these hardships have given her an admirable backbone and a bit of an attitude. That attitude gets her into lots of trouble throughout the book, but it's also the source of her strength and what keeps her determined to stay one step ahead of Lucifer and Beelzebub - the Devil's repo man.

There's a wide variety of supporting characters, each more colorful and entertaining than the last. I loved Bug's strength - and also loved that she wasn't the only female character with spunk in the book. Strong female characters can exist in a vacuum - they are the soul woman who can stand among men. But Bug not only has Pesto, an easy on the eyes demon hunter, in her court, but Pesto's (good) witch of a mother plus the mysterious E. Figg, the only attorney not on the devil's payroll on her side. Both women play small but influential parts in Bug's story - it's safe to say that Bug probably wouldn't have had a snowball's chance against Mr. Beals and Lucifer without their help.

On a side note, I also loved the cameo appearances of my college friends in twenty years: the middle aged guys that work with Pesto whom we first meet during an epic Halo battle that involved tea bagging. I know several guys who could turn out like that (minus the demon-hunting; outside of D&D, anyway).
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