Here is what I liked. The Devil's Flower is a refreshingly original novel. I know that may be hard to believe, considering there are very familiar elements on the surface. But what makes this story unique is how the author blends all of these pieces together. In the beginning, the story reads like a contemporary romance. Then somewhere around the 100 page mark, the paranormal element is introduced. This is an absolutely brilliant technique and here's why. Before even adding in the paranormal component, readers that are fans of contemporary romance, New Adult, MC (motorcycle club), even Young Adult, will find The Devil's Flower appealing. Not a fan of paranormal romance or new to the genre? This is the perfect novel to start and try because the transition from contemporary to paranormal is smooth and natural as strange as that may sound. The only complaints I've read are from hardcore paranormal readers that felt there wasn't enough of that particular element in the story. But I am confident this novel will appeal to paranormal enthusiasts who grow weary of reading the same type of story over and over again and are looking for something fresh and different.
The story itself was well written; great description, distinct character voices (and names), and had no issues with the pacing-- all topics that sometimes writers struggle with when writing the first novel in a series. I liked the third person narration and the switch in perspectives. The formatting and paragraph breaks signaled that a change in POV was coming, therefore eliminating any kind of confusion which sometimes happens. Speaking of the format, the layout, font, and overall style of the book (including the chapter titles) created a very aesthetically pleasing reading experience.
I really enjoyed the romance between Rosalie and Steele. There definitely was an instant attraction, but a good portion of the novel was about Steele trying extremely hard to fight it. Part of it was to protect Rosalie from himself and the unsavory kind he surrounds himself with. He also feels that he is undeserving of her love and acceptance. The other part of his struggle to hide his growing feelings for her is to show no signs of weakness since he is the leader of the Fallen Paladins MC. There is also another reason he tries to hide his feelings, but I want to leave some mystery! There is some good sexual tension building between Steele and Rosalie, although the sex scenes themselves are more alluded to then explicitly shown which surprisingly works in this novel.
I found the angel/demon mythology in The Devil's Flower interesting and original. For example, in order for a half demon to become immortal, it would need 3 things: a) tear of an angel, b) blood of an angel, and c) death of an angel. Also, angels have souls but demons and half demons do not. If a half demon should mate with an angel, the angel would lose its soul to the demon. The use of the drug heroin plays a very creepy, yet important part in the story as well. These mythological elements add up to create some very tense, suspenseful moments in the novel.
Overall, Lisa Collicutt has spawned some very interesting characters, but I will admit, there were 2 that I struggled (won't reveal their names to avoid spoilers) with until I had a light bulb moment. These characters took Rosalie under their wing, taught her some survival tactics and how to fit within the MC. But then, out of nowhere, Steele starts thinking to himself that he has to protect Rose from them. At first I just didn't get the sudden wariness from Steele towards these particular characters when they did nothing to warrant his suspicious behavior. But then it dawned on me. The devil comes in many disguises and is a master of manipulation, seduction, and lies. It's this attention to detail that elicited my admiration for the author to grow even more.
I only had a few issues with The Devil's Flower, most of which were a bunch of small things that added up to annoyances rather than huge problems, so I will be going through them rather quickly.
First, I found Rose's statement here a bit startling: "...the fact that she was actually in a relationship with this person, a near stranger, hit her." She is obviously talking about her and Steele, but what bothered me is the fact that they have never talked about being together or being in a relationship. It's like the statement came out of nowhere. No declarations of love, other then Steele saying she can trust him and he wouldn't let anything happen to her as long as she is with him. And once you read that part, you will see why he says that. I'm also curious as to why Steele is so adamant about calling Rosalie "Rose" since the very beginning of the story. I get why Lithium calls her "Rosebud", but Steele is quick to correct people that she is to be called Rose instead of Rosalie, at least in the beginning. It's never revealed why and I am probably just looking too deeply into it, but it definitely left me pondering.
Second, I felt that Rosalie's stay with her grandmother was rushed and glossed over when in fact we learn the time she spends there plays a pivotal part in the story. This is where she discovers who and what she really is, what she is capable of and what is expected of her. When she meets back up with Steele, she is a wiser, stronger version of herself that apparently can now kick some ass. But we never get to see her training. We just hear about it in a sentence here and there when she is filling Steele in on her time away. I also didn't understand why she started college while at her grandmother's. I'm not sure if she was biding her time, waiting for divine intervention, but the college thing bothered me since she ended up leaving to go back to Nowhere, Colorado. It just felt like an unnecessary detail.
Lastly, while I enjoyed the assortment of characters as I stated above, I did find Rosalie to be quite infuriating at times. I get that she is innocent and naïve (for more reasons that one) but I can only take the damsel in distress syndrome so much. Don't get me wrong, I love a strong alpha hero that comes to his woman's rescue-- it's sexy and it shows that Steele loves her and feels fiercely protective of her. But Rosalie puts herself in some really stupid and dangerous situations, especially with the drinking. Even when she knows the drinking got her into trouble before and she swears she will never drink again-- she still drinks AGAIN. Yeah, that's when my eyes start to roll and irritation sets in.
The Devil's Flower is a unique blend of contemporary and paranormal romance that doesn't fit into one specific genre. For this reason, it broadens its allure and I can see just about anyone picking this novel up and finding it an enjoyable read. This may also appeal to the YA crowd, since the female main character is 18. However, I would caution and recommend The Devil's Flower to mature YA readers (16+) since there are some disturbing scenes including, drinking, drugs, and sexual situations (although not terribly explicit). Lisa Collicutt has given us a gem and I absolutely cannot wait to see the continuation of this story in book 2, The Demon's Wrath.
AUTHOR Q&A With Lisa Collicutt
1. Angels. Demons. Motorcycle Clubs? What inspired you to merge
these very different elements together to create The Devil's Flower?
This is a great question I love to answer. Up until I wrote The Devil's Flower, all my books were about witches (my favorite supernatural beings). Then one day I had a vision of demons wearing leather riding motorcycles in the sky. Okay, so I didn’t put my leather-wearing, motorcycle-riding demons in the sky; I kept them on the roads where they belong. But the vision gave me the idea of writing a story about angels and demons. And at the same time, my husband suggested I write about an all female motorcycle club, because he thought it had probably not been done. So, I put his motorcycle idea together with my angel/demon one, and came up with The Devil's Flower.
2. One of the things I enjoyed the most about The Devil's Flower
is the angel/demon mythology. I'm also fascinated with the MC culture
which plays a pivotal part in your novel. What kind of research
(if at all) did you do in order to write this story?
As with all things I write, I did loads of Google research. In fact, I swear I spent more time researching than actually writing. Having been around bikes since I was a teen, (my husband rides, I sit on back and think up story scenes) I had the biker thing down, but picked his brain on throttles, and clutches. Not belonging to an MC, made for a lot of patch research. And thanks to—I won't mention the name of the MC who displayed the different patches and rankings on their website—I became well informed. Because I've never been to
Colorado or , I did loads of
research on them, but I chose to set the story in the fictional town of
Nowhere. That way I could do what I want with the town and not offend anyone. But
I still had to pinpoint Nowhere on the map and know roughly how many miles from
there to Amaretto, Denver, and certain other places, even if they never show up
in the story. Angels and demons are the paranormal aspect of the story, so you
would think I could do what ever I want with them, and I can, but I still have
to make them seem "real"; so a lot of research went into them as
well. I wanted angel and demon names that were unique, and certain ethereal
markings that made sense. And now I have to share; the weirdest thing I
researched for this story—probably any story to date—was how to use heroin. I
literally spent an entire weekend watching You Tube videos and reading case
studies, along with forum posts of actual users. I can't say it was fun, in
fact, some of it was downright disturbing, and all for a few lines in a book, but
it shed some light on the subject, of which I otherwise knew nothing about. Texas
3. The Devil's Flower is the first in a planned series and I am
very excited and anxious to see how this new angel/demon/MC world and
characters develop. Have you started writing book 2? Is there
anything you can tell us about it? Tease us with?
I'm about a third into book two (The Demon's Wrath), and hoping for an autumn release, but have temporarily put it aside to finish the last book in The Serendipitous Curse series. Budding relationship over and fully into the MC life for Rose—book two gets darker in all aspects. You'll find more graphic intimate scenes, as well as more violence, all in keeping with the paranormal theme, which doesn't overwhelm the story. There are new and interesting characters as well.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lisa likes to write dark and twisted tales of magic and romance. She has a passion for Young Adult and New Adult Paranormal. When she's not conjuring tales about witches, demons, and other magical beings, she can be found leathered, and bound to the back of her husband's Harley, touring her homeland of Nova Scotia, Canada.
Enter Lisa's imagination where light ends and fantasy begins. But heed these warnings . . . it's dark, it's magical, you may experience tingles.
Connect With Lisa
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