Book #13: The Devil’s Prayer by Luke Gracias

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A nun commits suicide in front of thousands in Spain. In Australia, Siobhan Russo recognises that nun as her mother, Denise Russo, who disappeared six years ago.

In search of answers, Siobhan travels to the isolated convent where her mother once lived. Here she discovers Denise’s final confession, a book that details a heinous betrayal that left her crippled and mute, and Denise’s subsequent deal with the Devil to take revenge. In the desperate bargain Denise made with the Prince of Darkness, she wagered Siobhan’s soul.

As Siobhan discovers the fate of her soul, she learns that hidden within the pages of her mother’s confession is part of The Devil’s Prayer, an ancient text with the power to unleash apocalyptic horrors.

And now her mother’s enemies know Siobhan has it.

Can Siobhan escape an order of extremist monks determined to get the Prayer back? Can she save the world from its own destruction?

Explicit Content Warning: “The Devil’s Prayer” is a historical horror thriller that contains brutality, rape, sex, drug abuse and murder. Readers may find its content offensive and confronting.

I received an ecopy of this book via NetGalley for an honest review. What follows is my opinion after reading the book. . .

Okay, so, I’m a big horror fan. I love watching something that freaks me out and reading a horror is just that much better. There’s nothing more intriguing than seeing the darkness of humanity mingling with the light. The Devil’s Prayer looked like a horror book that I was going to love sinking my fangs into (pun intended).

Unfortunately, I was very conflicted about how I felt. The prologue was downright boring and read like a textbook. I understand why the author chose to do a prologue, however, I feel that if it was fictionalized and given proper imagery, the prologue would catch the reader better. I am a person that keeps trying until I’m either asleep or crying from boredom. Fortunately, the prologue is a quickie, but is pointless to have.

That said, the rest of the book was a challenge. Not in a “I’m freaking out” kind of challenge, but more in a “do I like this?” challenge. The story is better described as being broken down in two main stories. There is the story that the blurb states and there is the story about Siobhan’s mother and how she ended up where she did. I liked one story, but I could care two shits about the other.

The one I liked was Denise’s story. It is raw, disturbing, and heartbreaking. This is a woman who was loving, experienced evil, became evil, and found redemption in her future only to have something more wicked come up from her past. It had humanity all in it and I wanted more of her story.

Siobhan’s story could be casted away in whatever depths the prologue should be, in my opinion. I had no reason to love her as a character and I felt she was nothing more than a cardboard vessel to bring out Denise’s tale. Sure, her trying to find closure and being chased is interesting, but nothing comes from it. NOTHING. We aren’t given a solid answer as to why she’s being chased down and we aren’t given a solid resolution. Now, the motivations of the baddies can be easily determined and another character does state what it is, but that character is just as shady and nothing comes up with that. Instead, we are left taking him at face value just as Siobhan does.

And like I stated before, we aren’t given a resolution. Siobhan gets off the plane, sees the Devil, and that’s the end. It’s open ended. Now, I love a good horror ending with an unclear ending. This book is not one of those great horrors. If you want a great horror with an open ending, read Water Rites by Guy N. Smith or Daphne du Maurier’s short story, The Birds (a story that inspired Alfred Hitchcock’s iconic movie). Those stories are open ended and they are stories I will always remember (in case you are wondering, I read du Maurier’s story back in ninth grade and Guy N. Smith’s book back in tenth. That’s well over ten years ago).

In the case of this book, I found the open ending as either the author’s laziness in finding a resolution or that there is a sequel. If there is a sequel in the works, I only hope that the story is more fluid like Denise’s.

All in all, I was both surprised and greatly disappointed in the book. The disappointment went on through most of the book with glimmers of surprise when it was Denise telling her tale. Take it what you will, but I didn’t care for it.

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