A Trick of the Light by Susan Brooks

(3.5 / 5)

Salt? Check. Iron knife? Check. Holy water? Check. These tools are enough to send your average demon back to Hell. But demon hunter Wyatt King knows he will require much more than his standard kit if he is going to succeed in rescuing his infant niece from master demon Malik, who is second only to Lucifer. In fact, he will need the unlikely help of a couple of succubi (no, wait, one succubus and one succubus-turned-human), spells from a seemingly immortal alchemist, and hand-forged smiting sword made of meteorite. Sure. No problem.

Trick of the Light is a profound life lesson cleverly disguised as a fun, action-packed fantasy. Susan Brooks’ debut novel involving demon traps, sigils, and a mysterious imp is thrilling and entertaining, complete with demonic shapeshifting and a ferocious, earth-shaking battle of good vs evil. The ominous threat of Malik feels real and is nicely counterbalanced by the divine light of an archangel (exactly who, is an interesting surprise). The demon and archangel have their own relationship dynamic, which leads to quite a fist-shaking-at-the-heavens theory for why things happen the way they do here.

The real strength of Trick of the Light, though, comes from the message that the author has skillfully woven throughout — that your past is only a collection of events; they do not have to define who you are now nor dictate who you can become. Ex-succubus, Meridiana Lilin, or Meri, is the personification of this message, both in her physical transformation and in her quest to understand who she is and her place in the world. In her thousand-plus years as a succubus, she has always yearned to be human, to have free will. Now that she is human, she has come to acutely understand the confusion, heartache, and limitation that also goes along with that free will. Knowing what she knows now, given the option, will she return to life in Hell as a succubus, or will she stay on Earth as a human? By the end of her journey, you will be as curious to find out as the imp is.