Wrong Side of Hell by Sonya Bateman
Being a fan of both Sonya Bateman’s (as yet unfinished) Gavin Donatti series and Lou Harper’s book covers, I was excited to see Wrong Side of Hell. Of course, it’s taken me most of a year to actually get around to reading it. I had purchased it, but ended up requesting it from NetGalley as well just so I had a deadline by which I had to review it. Now I want to devour the rest of the series right now! (Ivana)
Publisher’s Description: Hauling dead people around Manhattan is all in a day’s work for body mover Gideon Black. He lives in his van, talks to corpses, and occasionally helps the police solve murders. His life may not be normal, but it’s simple enough.
Until the corpses start talking back.
When Gideon accidentally rescues a werewolf in Central Park, he’s drawn into the secret world of the Others. Fae, were-shifters, dark magic users and more, all playing a deadly cat-and-mouse game with Milus Dei, a massive and powerful cult dedicated to hunting down and eradicating them all.
Then a dead man speaks to him, saying that Milus Dei wants him more than any Other. They’ll stop at nothing to capture him and control the abilities he never knew he had.
He is the DeathSpeaker. He is the key. And he’s not as human as he thought…
Life was a whole lot easier when the dead stayed dead.
Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel (or, in other words, SPOILERS).
Nervous Nellie says…
This is an urban fantasy. No cliffhanger, no sex, lots of violence but nothing overly descriptive. It’s part of a series and there isn’t exactly a HEA, but everybody lives so that’s a plus.
This story was pretty straight forward. It wasn’t hard to figure out the players and the plot was simple enough. The whole story was an adventure – kind of a death at every turn kind of adventure. This world focused on the OtherWorld. Gideon is the main character and though he is clueless to begin with, it was a sink or swim sort of scenario. If he didn’t figure out the puzzle, he was dead.
The secondary characters were ok. They were put together well enough, but I did have a tough time picturing them. I liked the story and it wasn’t complicated. If you want a good book that is 98% action and adventure, this story would be right up your alley.
Invested Ivana says…
The first book in a series can take a couple of directions—you can go heavy on the world building or heavy on the action. Wrong Side of Hell goes heavy on the action, but there is a fair amount of world building going on as well. We get the sense that Gideon’s world is made up of supernatural creatures and humans who hunt them; we come to understand Gideon’s heritage; and we also get a sense of what his special power is. That’s pretty much all you need to understand this first story.
However, it’s very clear there is more to come. There is still a lot left to explain, such as why a werewolf is so close to a Fae, even though they’re not supposed to get along. Such as why Gideon is the Deathspeaker and what, exactly, can he do with that power, besides force the dead to talk. Even Gideon doesn’t have all the answers yet, which means there is still good stuff left to tell in future books.
Surprisingly, the story is not what I expected from the description. Not in a bad way at all, though. With the premise being “he can talk to the dead,” I expected the story to have more of a PI slant, where Gideon talks to the dead to get clues to a murder or something. I expected the story to rest a lot more on this ability, to start small. But Bateman jumps right into a much bigger tapestry of Good vs. Evil, Human vs. Other right from the first book.
Though I have to agree with Nell that Wrong Side of Hell isn’t necessarily anything out of the ordinary in the urban fantasy genre, I enjoyed it a ton. It’s a good UF story with a male protagonist that sets the stage for a potentially great series. I’m really looking forward to reading more.
If you like this book…
…you might try Bateman’s Gavyn Donatti series. Though the series only got two books, someday when the publisher gives up the ghost and Bateman gets the rights back, maybe we’ll get more of Gavin’s story. 🙂 You might also like J.A. Cipriano’s Thrice Cursed Mage series. I’m listening to the first book right now and really enjoying it. Other good UFs with male protagonists are the Eric Carter series by Stephen Blackmoore, the Felix Castor series by Mike Carey, and the Yancy Lazarus series by James A. Hunter.