Redemption by Yolanda Sfetsos
(The Soul Dealer)
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (61 pages)
Heat Level: spicy
Rating: 4 books
Reviewed by Jasmine
When someone is killed too suddenly or tragically, there’s a creature ready to bargain for their soul…
Cain was killed by a sorcerer and dumped inside an empty room. Alone, with only his thoughts to torment him, he begins to regret betraying his best friend. So when a thing calling itself the Soul Dealer offers him a second chance at life, he accepts the challenge.
Sandy spends most of her nights alone. But tonight, in the beach cottage her parents left for her before they died, she plans to end the depression plaguing her every waking moment.
If Cain doesn’t stop Sandy before the end of All Hallows Eve, both of their souls will be lost.
If you think the grim reaper doesn't have a sense of humor, albeit a twisted one, or doesn't believe in second chances, think again. Ms. Sfetsos gives us a unique and interesting twist of what might happen to you in the afterlife if you are not a good person in your first life.
Cain is not a nice person in life, even while working at the heroic job of fighting demons, but we learn that he has a good heart underneath. He's just afraid to show it. When the grim reaper gives him a shot at redemption, who is he to say no? Sandy is a woman from his past with her own demons to deal with. The two come together to conquer their own and each other's demons. Cain manages to win you over and maintain his bad boy image and Sandy is sweet.
The book was well written and interesting. I completely enjoyed her new take on both the afterlife and the grim reaper. At least we (meaning the reader and Cain) assume he's the grim reaper because he appears to have lost his scythe. But, we still get the super creepy robe with the hood that covers his head with nothing but total blackness when you try to see inside. And the bony fingers. He also thinks he's funny – kind of like my weird ninth grade algebra teacher that made you laugh at all his jokes that were only funny to him. The author's tag line is “When someone is killed too suddenly or tragically, there’s a creature ready to bargain for their soul… “, so maybe he isn't the grim reaper after all. It's never totally explained.
The story kept me interested and I was sorry to see it end. The author manages to explain the quickness of their connection with backstory of them having met in the past, which makes it seem like even though things happen fast, we understand why. The characters are both likable and make you root for them. I did feel that maybe Cain came to the realization of his feelings rather quickly, but I suppose it can be attributed to the backstory of the characters. The rest of the story keeps you interested enough that you accept it at face value. There is a lot that happens in such a short story but it all manages to be explained to the reader and doesn't leave you feeling confused or like it didn't make sense. The fact that the author can do this in such a short story is remarkable. I've read longer books that don't do this as neatly as Ms. Sfetsos does. There really isn't a lot that I can find fault with here.
Throughout the book, Cain remembers his best friend in life, Matt, and the things he did to him that he regrets. We meet Matt towards the end of the book but there's not a lot to really bring him to life as anything other than someone from Cain's past. You'd like to see Cain make things right them, and their friendship repaired but nothing to make you want to know more about him. There is another book in this series called Deception (The Soul Dealer) that was written first. For this reason, I would recommend reading Deception first, as I have no doubt that you will meet Cain in that book (before his death) as well.
I would definitely recommend this book to a friend. With it's fun and interesting twist on things I thoroughly enjoyed it and I know you will too.