Devil and the Bluebird ARC
Author: Jennifer Mason-Black
Publisher: Amulet Books
Pages: ARC Copy 327
“Devil-at-the-crossroads” folklore finds its way to YA via this moody, magical tale
Blue Riley has wrestled with her own demons ever since the loss of her mother to cancer. But when she encounters a beautiful devil at her town crossroads, it’s her runaway sister’s soul she fights to save. The devil steals Blue’s voice—inherited from her musically gifted mother—in exchange for a single shot at finding Cass.
Armed with her mother’s guitar, a knapsack of cherished mementos, and a pair of magical boots, Blue journeys west in search of her sister. When the devil changes the terms of their deal, Blue must reevaluate her understanding of good and evil and open herself to finding family in unexpected places.
In Devil and the Bluebird, Jennifer Mason-Black delivers a heart-wrenching depiction of loss and hope.~Goodreads
I was really excited for this one. I went into it thinking it’d be reminiscent of the Crossroads episode of Supernatural, however, it was definitely different.
Blue’s story had potential yet her voice was basically non-existent (literally). Her feelings of loneliness and abandonment were incredibly palpable, yet she read as dull.
Blue is incredibly stubborn and not in an endearing way. While I understand the importance of items that have intrinsic value—I really do—if it comes down to that item or my life? I’d gladly give up the item. Blue is the opposite it seemed.
Besides Blue, there are a slew of other characters we run into along her journey. Sex traffickers, a librarian, a druggie (or two), runaways, a murderer, a ghost (or two), demons, ex-best friends, potential lovers—they’re all there.
I get that life is a complicated mess full of many facets and full of even more erratically different people but they read as a jumble in this story. There was so much going on in terms of plot and characters and even genera. I didn’t know if I was reading a paranormal thriller, a murder mystery, a religious parable or a contemporary. As previously mentioned, it read slightly cluttered—let’s add a dash of this and a dash of that and oh! A little dash of this! Those elements did not add up.
Then there was the issue of the time frame. Blue makes a six month “deal” with the devil/demon lady yet there is barely any reference to time throughout her voyage, besides the very sporadic reference to what month it was. That bothered me immensely because she was under a time constraint, so I thought it would’ve been more prominently mentioned.
Blue’s travels were slightly predictable and the ending was a little too convenient. Although I did have some preconceived notions, overall this one underwhelmed me. That being said, I’d definitely give Mason-Black’s future works a shot!
Has a book you were excited about ever fell flat?