Review: Devil’s Kiss by Sarwat Chadda

“Wrought with high emotions and tense with danger, Devil's Kiss is everything a debut should be.”

Your verdict:

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (3 votes, average: 4.33 out of 5)
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Title:Devil's Kiss (Billi Sangreal #1)
Author:Chadda, Sarwat
Publisher:Disney Hyperion
Pages:327

From Goodreads: As the youngest and only female member of the Knights Templar, Bilquis SanGreal grew up knowing she wasn’t normal. Instead of hanging out at the mall or going on dates, she spends her time training as a soldier in her order’s ancient battle against the Unholy.

Billi’s cloistered life is blasted apart when her childhood friend, Kay, returns from Jerusalem, gorgeous and with a dangerous chip on his shoulder. He’s ready to reclaim his place in Billi’s life, but she’s met someone new: amber-eyed Michael, who seems to understand her like no one else, effortlessly claiming a stake in her heart.

But the Templars are called to duty before Billi can enjoy the pleasant new twist to her life. One of the order’s ancient enemies has resurfaced, searching for a treasure that the Templars have protected for hundreds of years — a cursed mirror powerful enough to kill all of London’s firstborn. To save her city from catastrophe, Billi will have to put her heart aside and make sacrifices greater than any of the Templars could have imagined.

I bought this book as soon as it came out. It has sat on my shelf glaring at me at times, almost screaming “pull me down and read me.” Now I know why. Billi is not to be messed with and I should have read her long ago, I read her now for two reasons, first I have an ARC of Dark Goddess that I am dying to read and secondly Sarwat Chadda is coming to a town near me for a book signing. I wish I hadn’t shelved it. I would have loved to have had the painful anticipation of waiting for Dark Goddess. It doesn’t happen often to me folks but I am a full on fan of Mr. Chadda and I may have to go fangirly or do something silly like have the vapors at the event.

The book starts off in an extremely grim spot. Billi Sangreal is on her way to becoming a Templar like her father always wanted but there is one final step. The Ordeal. Holy Batman of Tests! Hers is a whopper. There is a six year old escapee who is actually a ghul running around, even though he is cute and cuddly his soul is gone, but Billi has a heart so it goes a little something like this:

He’s just a little boy…
“No, Billi!” shouted Arthur, but too late. Billi dropped to her knees and embraced Alex. She pulled him close to her heart and–
the chill seeps into her pores, saturation her skin with ice. Like venom, black ichor floods her veins, pumping her with Alexs’s despair, envy, and
HATE
that he was snatched from the sunlight by sweaty hands and crushing fingers, in the dirt and fallen leaves, never to feel the
WARMTH
he misses so much and wants more than anything, and so he sucks it from her, leaving only coldness that is brittle and bone-deep, the air out of her lungs white frost, and her
FLESH
blisters, and tears freeze on her cheeks, and she stares into Alex’s eyes, black and malice-filled, remembering only the
AGONY
that he cannot forget, and it eats him, an abysmal virus that he can’t contain, so she must
SUFFER
like he did, and the cold burns her heart as he infests her with his darkness burrowing deeper and-

So even though he is only six you can see what type of beast the Templar’s are up against and why they are still in business. There is a lot of mythology surrounding the Templar in this book but it isn’t the same hum-drum stuff. I went through a phase where I tried to read that hence me buying this book. I DNF’d a lot. I was like “Oh yeah Templar’s woohoo” but when I got it home it was all conspiracy theory, shadow government stuff. What Chadda did that was so very interesting is use an almost shadow world full of ghuls and rogue agents of God who the Templar’s protect. Billi’s mother was lost in an earlier battle, that you learn more about in the ending of the book.

I do have to say that if you find Billi a bit whiny in the beginning stick with her, she grows on your by the end. Try to place yourself in her situation, ratty apartment, despondent dad, best friend shows up after being gone a year. She doesn’t even really want to be a Templar. I think Billi evolves through-out this book and I truly enjoyed seeing this evolution of character. Sarwat Chadda is an amazing author, I loved the bits of story like the one I excerpted for you above where you see the really dark stuff, and I laughed out loud a lot too. I will say he writes like a British drama so don’t get overly attached to any of the characters.

It was also oh so refreshing to read a book where the main character wasn’t white! Billi is half Pakistani and I loved the description of her so much. You could just see her kicking some ghul ass with a sword.

If you haven’t read this book you should pick it up. Dark Goddess book two in the Billi Sangreal Series is out now!

FTC Disclosure: I bought this book from my local indie.

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17 Responses so far

  1. Gravatar

    WOOT I’m glad you liked it!!! And I agree, I loved that it was a REAL Knights Templar tale, not all the crazy conspiracy theory stuff. Check out Billi book 2, Dark Goddess, i liked it better than Devil’s Kiss!!!

  2. Gravatar

    Ooh, Ari gushed about this book a while back and I’ve been thinking about picking it up. :) It sounds really interesting!

  3. Gravatar

    It sounds good! Where do you think you’d classify it? Urban fantasy, fantasy, adventure, a little romance tossed in?

    (I’m weird about picking out books that I can sort)

  4. Gravatar

    Urban Fantasy, I wouldn’t say romance, there was one kiss and one paragraph :D It was more about the problem and Billi herself.

  5. Gravatar

    Urban fantasy.. Not something I have read, but I like your review and with no spoilers you managed to convey what I was looking for. Just made me a wee bit more curious. :)

  6. Gravatar

    Thanks, Pam and Kavyn – I don’t know if I should thank you or not for making me add another couple of books to my buy list. ;-P

  7. Gravatar

    You should! and you should send me a puppy! These are fantastic books.

  8. Gravatar

    I hadn’t heard of this book before. Great review!

  9. Gravatar

    I think it’s funny that you like that sense of anticipation! That’s the worst for me. I love it when I find a series that is already complete. :)

  10. Gravatar

    This looks interesting! I hadn’t heard of it, so thanks for the review. And, double thanks for the warning that Billi is a bit whiny in the beginning. I’ve got young boys who are experts at whining, so I have very little patience for it. But I will give Billi a chance. :)

  11. Gravatar

    Alright, evil Pam, it’s on my Kindle. But no puppy for you! I do, however have a cat that’s eating her weight in book money each week….

  12. Gravatar

    Oh fantastic! Is this the first time that you visited my blog!? I do feel a bit guilty, and sad that I don’t get a puppy. Cute kitty, let me know what you think of Billi!

  13. Gravatar

    Love your review, Pam, and have to admit that I literally laughed out loud at the vapors bit.

    This was my first Templar book, so I can’t say I know a lot about the conspiracy stuff in others. Still definitely looking forward to reading and reviewing Dark Goddess as well.

  14. Gravatar

    Me Want!!

    I have read couple of books on Templar but none of them with female as their main character. A good change there and the fact that you, Master Pam, gave it 5 stars sure means that this is a must read!

  15. Gravatar

    Well of course not the first time, Pam. I feel like blushing like a naughty teenager at that one. ;)

    I just don’t chat much.

  16. Gravatar

    Yup, same thing here. I bought it when it first came out and it sat on my shelf until I saw he (and finally learned he was not a she) was coming to Keplers. It did turn out to be an interesting book. I’m curious what the next one will bring.

  17. Gravatar

    [...] Sarwat Chadda to put up. I agree with everything he says and the Billi the main character in both Devil’s Kiss and Dark Goddess is definitely a self-rescuing [...]

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