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Book 5Gwen’s review of To Hell and Back (Dante Valentine, Book 5) by Lilith Saintcrow
Futuristic paranormal published 1 Jan 08 by Orbit

I hesitated to start this book. I knew it was the last in the series and I didn’t want the magic to end. I wanted my visit to Dante and Japhrimel’s worlds to go on and on. Well, I hesitated about half a day. I just had to see what happened next.

Reading this series has been a mixture of fun, creepiness, tears, and excitement. To say I liked it is not saying near enough. It’s one of those series of books that just stays with me. I’m not one to read a book twice unless it is stupendously interesting. I’ll make an exception for this series.

In these books, Saintcrow has created a world that is lavish in detail. It has history and mythos, technology that’s woven into the fabric of the story, all giving the world a rich taste, smell, and texture that I’ve only experienced before in Frank Herbert’s Dune novels. This is especially evident during the visceral descriptions of Dante’s fight scenes – you literally wince when something hurts her, like a demon, or hellhound, or ghost, or fellow necromance…

There are no simplistic resolutions to be found in this last book. Saintcrow ties off several plotlines and leaves some dangling. By telling the story from Dante’s point of view, the reader never knows more than Dante, and Danny is left with some still unanswered questions at the end. How it evolves, though, is fascinating. Dante, whom Japhrimel nicknamed “my curious” because she had to know everything, arrives at a certain peace with not knowing everything. And because she’s at peace with that, the reader is as well.

There isn’t much I can say about the book other than, “you must read it.” I would recommend this series to anyone who enjoys fiction, and particularly to anyone who likes urban, paranormal sci-fi. The romance between Dante and Japhrimel is surprising, tender, cruel, and loving – everything we know love can be at times. All of this is woven into a tremendous story. Don’t miss this series.

faye.jpgGrade: A


     Fifth and final book of the Dante Valentine series

     Plot. Counterplot. Betrayal. Intrigue. When you’re working for the Devil, it’s all par for the course. You just have to live with it. Right?
Wrong. When you’re Danny Valentine and the Devil double-crosses you one too many times, there’s only one thing to do. Fight back. No matter how hopeless it is. No matter how suicidal it is. No matter how far the game is rigged in the Devil’s favor.
Welcome to Hell.

     Read an excerpt.

Read my review of Book 3, The Devil’s Right Handhere and my review of Book 4, Saint City Sinners, here.  Other books in this series:

Book 1 Book 2 Book 3 Book 4