cover image Devilish & Divine

Devilish & Divine

Edited by John L. French and Danielle Ackley-McPhail. eSpec, $14.95 trade paper (208p) ISBN 978-1-949691-47-4

These 15 inventive but uneven stories of angels and demons challenge the stereotypical tropes of good vs. evil. Though many lack polish, the selections are universally imaginative: angels and demons play a game of pool with souls for stakes in “Irradia’s Gauntlet” by Russ Colchamiro, and the Archangel Chamuel helps King Oberon of the Faeries locate his missing daughter in Michelle D. Sonnier’s “As Ye Seek So Shall Ye Find.” Patrick Thomas’s “Fear to Tread” sees a down-on-his-luck guardian angel make a last-ditch effort to save his charge. “Duality” by John G. Hartness has angels and demons working on the same team and the afterlife decided instead by each individual human. For a more clear-cut good-wins-out message, Jenifer Purcell Rosenberg’s “World-Wide Wings” sees an angel living as a human CEO and working to balance out the evil on the internet. “Bringer of Doom” by Christopher J. Burke, in which a little girl accidentally summons a demon for a playmate and wins him over to the light with her purity of soul, is similarly hopeful. The execution can be lacking, but these unconventional urban fantasies offer plenty of intriguing ideas. (Dec.)