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Dante Valentine by Lilith Saintcrow

Complete series with 5 novels.
Genres: urban fantasy, psychological horror

Dante Valentine is a Necromance, meaning she can speak to the dead. Now, Lucifer has tasked her with tracking down and killing the unkillable, and she doesn’t have the option to say no. But Lucifer is kind, they have sente Japhrimel with Dante, to help her. Who knew Dante’s revenge coud have so many consequences to herself?

Reading Order:

1. Working for the Devil
2. Dead Man Rising
3. The Devil’s Right Hand
4. Saint City Sinners
5. To Hell and Back

Series Review:

Dante Valentine is just one of those series that absolutely killed me. It is an amazingly complex world with some very dark features. It is a dark world, with harsh consequences. Things happen to the main character that no one should be forced to survive. This was just great.

The world is one of the most interesting parts to the story. It is our world, and it also isn’t. It is sort of set in the near-ish future. There is a lot of more advanced technology than we have. It also has a recently dark past that is explored quite well throughout the series. In the past, Psychics, who weren’t nearly as advanced as they are now, were practically enslaved, considered property. Bad things were happening to them, and no one really cared. Even now, they don’t have full rights.

The main character, Dante Valentine, has no ability to really relate to other people. After an awful childhood, the death of one of her only friends, and a boyfriend who left her without telling her he was leaving, the little Dante had inside her to care about other people basically vanished. Dante also has an amazing ability to ignore everything she doesn’t want to deal with. It includes danger to herself: if she doesn’t want to believe it is there, she’ll ignore it until it rises up to bite her in the face. She also has some very annoying ticks that happen again and again throughout every book and by the end you really get sick of reading them. Dante is really well written. It is very consistent and believable.

The series start with Lucifer sending Dante on a task to kill someone who is essentially unkillable. Dante is okay with it because she wants revenge on the one Lucifer wants killed, and she really doesn’t have much of a choice. Lucifer isn’t heartless, though. Plus, he kind of really wants the job done. So he sends with Dante a demon familiar, Japhrimel. I like him as a character. He is not human, he has never been human, he will never be human. While a love interest, Japhrimel thinks of Dante as a possession, not a person. This isn’t a relationship. This isn’t happy. There is no give and take. It is heartbreaking. It is completely and utterly abusive.

The story starts off with Dante in a low place. It doesn’t ever get any better. It just gets worse and worse. With every book ending, with every plot development. Every time, it is worse for Dante. By the end I felt dead. I just hurt inside, all over the place. Parts of the story are so utterly powerful, so devastating, so unexpected. I enjoyed the hell out of it. It is so stressful, too. I kept hoping for it to get better, and it never does. And Dante crumbles under this constant assault over the course of the series. She can’t cope with the strains.

Everything was just put together so well. Even if I don’t like Dante as a person, I love her as a character. I hate almost every element of the series, 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. This has almost everything I want in a story.

It has about as good an ending as you can get for a series such as this. There really isn’t anything good or happy about this ending. There couldn’t be, not in a series like this. There really only can be pain. Even though the story is over, nothing is really better in Dante’s life, it is just the one she has to live now. Saintcrow has made it clear the way it is going to be.

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