Dante Valentine, Necromancer and bounty hunter, just wants to be left alone. But the Devil has other ideas.
The Prince wants Dante. And he wants her now. And Dante and her lover, Japhrimel, have no choice but to answer the Prince’s summons. And to fulfill a seemingly simple task: become the Devil’s Right Hand, hunt down four demons that have escaped from Hell, and earn His gratitude.
It’s a shame that nothing is ever easy when it comes to the Devil. Because of course, he doesn’t tell Dante the whole truth: there is a rebellion brewing in Hell. And there is a good chance that Lucifer is about to be pushed off the throne.
But Dante is getting really tired of being pushed around. And this time, she might be angry enough to take on the Devil himself…
“I had been pretending that he was only a man. Bad idea when it came to anything nonhuman. But still, I couldn’t think of him as anything other than human.”
This was such a hard book for me to like. I hate almost every element of it, but I loved reading it. I was drawn into this horror show and I just could not stop reading it for anything. This series is just not good and wholesome and pretty. It is dark and gruesome and depressing.
Lucifer has bargained and cajoled Dante into working for him again. Dante doesn’t want to do it. Japhrimel refuses to let her do it. She just doesn’t have a choice. It wasn’t a bargain so much as an ultimatum. In which she’ll be rewarded in the end – if she survives. Dante now has to work as his right hand man since Lucifer has a need for one after losing Japhrimel to her. Her job? To kill four demons within seven years.
The Devil’s Right hand starts off safe and happy. Dante and Japhrimel are in Spain, living life. It has been a few years since the end of Dead Man Rising, and Dante isn’t completely healed from her ordeals, but she is getting there quickly. Everything is idyllic. Until it isn’t. Until Lucifer shows up and turns Dante’s life into a horror show once again. It is dark, and we’re running and running and running for our lives. And nothing goes right, at all. We start a deep descent into a palace of horrors you never wished to read, but should anyway.
This relationship between Dante and Japhrimel also has turned into a horror show. This isn’t a relationship. This isn’t happy. There is no give and take. Japhrimel doesn’t tell Dante anything. He tells her again and again to trust him, without backing it up once. We’re supposed to accept on blind faith that he knows everything, and he can take care of us completely. We’re supposed to just do what he says. Only, things keep going wrong. He keeps failing, he keeps not knowing everything. How can you trust someone who says “trust me” and keeps failing? You can’t. Then Dante yells at him for everything that is going wrong before Japhrimel makes her apologise to him. Because he knows better, and she should know it.
Everything goes to hell during the course of this book. Everything I remembered about hating this series first time around, this book is the start of it. In the ten years it has been since I last read this series, I have deluded myself into thinking this relationship isn’t as bad I remembered. But Jaf takes over their relationship. Threatening and even hurting her to make her do what he says. He never tells her anything. It is a completely and utterly abusive relationship, don’t let anyone try to convince you otherwise. His justifications are always that he’ll protect her however he can. Yet, it isn’t love. It isn’t even truly survival. It doesn’t matter how she comes out the other side, only that her body exists.
Japhrimel was never human, and the justification is always that he isn’t human. I respect the hell out of Lilith Saintcrow’s decision to keep him nonhuman. It takes a lot of guts to make this choice. Especially the choice to write an abusive relationship. Even Dante is aware that this is abusive. It is not played out as some great love story because there is a soulmate bond. It is realistically abusive. He forces her to do something he wants her to do but she doesn’t, he apologizes for the need to do such things but that he isn’t going to change, and Dante keeps coming back to him. “Oh my god, I love you. I’m sorry, I’ll do anything you say”, the story goes, until he does something else high handed.
There are just so many things wrong with this relationship. Even more than I have already brought up. Like the fact that Japhrimel changed Danted in the first book on the genetic level, and still refuses to tell her what that means. The fact that he treats her like a child. And more, so much more.
This is such a bad book.
I hate everything about it.
I’m so mad, so upset. So fucking angry.
Why is it so good?
To read more reviews for this series, check out the Dante Valentine series page!