By Sarwat Chadda
Publication date: September 1, 2009
Don't judge this book by its cover. In fact the UK cover actually fits the tone of the book better although it is less girl-friendly.
At school, Bilquis (Billi) SanGreal is not a popular teen. The mean girls enjoy making fun of her and she stands out from the other kids. Billi's life isn't like that of her classmates at all. She is in fact a member of the Knights Templar, like her father Arthur who is the head of their Order. She also trains as a warrior every day to fight a variety of The Unholy, creatures including vampires (or ghuls as they are called here).
Things change for Billi when her friend Kay comes back to London after completing his studies in Jerusalem and she meets Michael, the incredibly handsome guy around whom Billi feels she can have a normal teenage life. But the life of a warrior leaves no room for dating and the Templars have new problems. Kay is an Oracle with a powerful gift of being able to read minds. When he comes across an ancient mirror he accidentally calls forth the Angel of Death who unleashes a plague that will kill every firstborn child in London. The Angel of Death will continue to destroy the firstborn if the Templars don't give him what he wants.
Devil's Kiss starts off at a fast pace with Billi having to face her Ordeal, a rite of passage for members of the Knights Templar. Hers involves having to destroy an evil creature who resembles an innocent little boy. Needless to say Devil's Kiss is a little gory. It is a YA urban fantasy novel set in modern London. I liked how the historical details were blended into the story and how the Knights were named after Arthurian knights: Gwaine (Gawain), Bors, Percival, Kay, etc. There is romance in the story but it is not the main part of the story and Billi isn't really girly at all which is why the US book cover doesn't fit. It is really pretty however and it would likely attract more female readers.
Billi is a strong but flawed young heroine who has had to grow up fast without her mom in a world of warriors. She has had a hard life and she believes her father doesn't love her yet her driving force has been to earn his approval. I found her to be a very likeable character and I look forward to reading more about her in the next book. Devil's Kiss is a fantastic can't-put-down book. I gave it 5 stars because it is a unique fantasy with a great heroine and I liked the themes of friendship, sacrifice, and love. I look forward to reading more from Sarwat Chadda. I would suggest this book to those who like YA urban fantasy or novels like The Hunger Games and The Forest of Hands and Teeth.