Serafina Murano is no stranger to the paranormal, nor to evil. All her life she’s lived harmoniously alongside demons despite the rage living inside of her. Damon Serpe is a conflicted demon on the ultimate mission: infiltrate Serafina’s world. When they collide into each other’s lives, they’re inexorably drawn to one another. But they’re forbidden to be together.
Dark, deadly secrets, gut-wrenching betrayal, and elusive questions that have haunted Serafina since childhood resurface in a wicked wrath. Damon holds the key to her understanding it all, as well as to her existence. If she decides to trust him, he will help decipher her recurring nightmares and unravel the lifelong mysteries tormenting her. Only Damon is harbouring secrets far darker than Serafina ever imagined.
Time is running out. Serafina is forced to make an impossible decision. To save humankind, she must sacrifice her soul, choosing to become the very evil she has raged against her entire life. Embracing her truth won’t be easy. It’s a fate that will change her, and perhaps the world, forever.
If you like a supernatural thriller filled with suspense and a touch of romance, then this is the novel for you! I was lucky enough to receive a free e-copy of the first book in the Ensouled series in exchange for an honest review and, when I sat down to get started, I ended up reading half of the novel in one sitting. Rienzi has clearly put a lot of thought into this book – the characterisation, the intricacies of the world she has created and the constant craving the reader feels to find out what happens next. I always think its the mark of a good writer to give us just enough information to keep us gripped but open up enough questions and mystery to keep us reading and Rienzi certainly succeeded in that department.
Rienzi characterisation creates some complex figures in Choosing Evil, each with their own flaws and secrets. No one in this book can be deemed to be perfect, which is something I really enjoyed about her writing as it is real and relatable despite being in a fantasy world. However, if anyone comes close to perfect, it’s Damon. Yes, he’s a demon. Yes, that means he’s inherently evil and must ceaselessly work to keep his sinister thoughts and desires under control. BUT he’s “a unique mix of a tattoo artist and Hollywood movie star” and “his wall of literature was an avid reader’s wet dream” (7%, 44%). I mean, come on, if that doesn’t describe my perfect man, I don’t know what does. Damon’s inner turmoil over his existence and innate evil is one of my favourite parts of the novel. Though he bares the same malevolent urges as his fellow demons, Damon works tirelessly to contain these, becoming a sort of supernatural vigilante as he chooses to exercise these urges on the worst of human society – murderers, rapists, etc.
I could write for days about the setting and the fantastic ideas Rienzi brings into play through her creation of a world in which humans and demons live alongside each other but I’ve decided to go down a different path with this next one and talk about the love story within this book. Damon and Serafina’s love story is one that you can’t help but ship. Their love is a forbidden one – one that they can’t help but fall into, against all odds. As a demon, Damon should not be capable of the emotion of love – despite his attempts to feel it – however, it comes as no surprise to us that Serafina is able to develop such feelings within him. I love this idea as, in a fantasy world that we cannot recognise, this is something we, as humans can relate to. Many people live years of their lives without experiencing love, jumping from fling to fling, beginning to think it’s just not something they either can or want to participate in. However, there is often one person that comes into your life unexpectedly and awakens feelings within you that you never thought possible. While reading about how Damon questions these unrecognisable emotions and attempts to explain them away, we may be reminded of our own experiences or those of someone we know. One of my favourite scenes in the book is Damon and Serafina’s first date and the poignant way in which it mirrors Serafina’s mother and father’s first date – something I won’t go into detail on as I don’t want to spoil it for those of you who plan to read it but it really is a beautiful yet subtle chapter. My only criticism of this relationship would be how fast it seems to develop. The two seem to get very close very quickly and important moments like their first kiss seem a little rushed. I would have liked to have seen a few more paragraphs describing this budding romance and how their feelings developed gradually but I remain convinced by their relationship and can’t wait to see it progress.
When it comes to book series, there is a fine line between a good and bad ending to each book. Too many either provide too much mystery and not enough closure or the precise opposite. Choosing Evil, however, ties up the important storylines developed within the book so that we are not left disappointed, while also promising future suspense and leaving us excited to read the next book. Furthermore, Rienzi supplies us with the first chapter of the second book in the Ensouled series, Breaking Evil. This chapter introduces the second book, offering just enough information about what will be covered in the book to entice us without any crucial spoilers.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and cannot wait to get my hands on the next instalment! Have you read Choosing Evil? What did you think? If not, does it sound like something you’d enjoy? Let me know in the comments below!