The Exorsistah by Claudia Mair Burney

The Exorsistah, #1

Source: Purchased rating

She just wants a home, a hottie, and some kickin' boots. Does she really have to fight the devil to get them?

After the creep who's married to her friend Kiki tries to assault her, Emme Vaughn finds herself in an all-night Walgreens at 3 a.m. with a quarter in her pocket and a rumble in her stomach. She sure does wish she'd gotten to eat her french fries before she had to kick and run. But God has his plan, and apparently tonight he means for her to whip some serious demon butt.

Ever since her mom went crazy, Emme's been wary of the gift they share for seeing demons, but she's not about to let one get to her. So when an ugly beast lurks into Walgreens behind a dude who's clearly up to no good, Emme tells it exactly where it can go. Problem is, the beautiful guy beside her at the magazine rack just helped her conquer the nasty duo, and now he wants her to join a group of demon-fighters led by an aging exorcist bombarded by requests to deliver people from evil.

Shoot, and all she really hoped for was some breakfast.

I've always thought of myself as having an easy going sense-of-humor - I don't take offense easily, laugh at the small stuff, laugh at some of the offensive stuff, get amused by the ironies of life. Strangely I'm picky when it comes to comedies for movies. Most of the modern celluloid pieces are nothing more than obnoxious, try-too-hard toilet humor fests that just aren't funny. Give me an 80s or 90s comedy any day that dares to have ironic or sarcastic humor. The same can be said for books. I find amusement easily when it's blended with other genres, but for UF and Fantasy there comes a fine line between funny and cloyingly cute. I get turned off by light fluff that tries too hard to amuse when instead it repels me. Happily The Exorsistah is one of those weird exceptions - the book is light, fluffy and genuinely humorous, but it's also well-written, well-paced and well-received.

A joy to read, The Exorsistah also beats the odds because it uses Ebonics freely. I'm picky with dialogue but Emme owns it, seriously. At first maybe mild annoyance but it became so natural soon enough it was only amusing if nothing else. She has attitude and spunk but she has heart and intelligence to go hand in hand with all that jazz. There aren't many side characters but the ones that exist thrive. I was particularly attached to the cook, who mixed words of funny wisdom in between fried chicken and mounds of food. The priest was a prickly oddball but it wouldn't be as interesting to have everyone get along anyway.

There isn't much of a story yet at the heart of the series. It's all about build-up. Emme leaves her foster home when her friend's man can't resist getting physically fresh with her while she's trying to fry French fries, so when she ends up at a local store and runs into a kind man who sense demons as well as she can see them, it's a match made in...well, perhaps not Heaven, but close enough. In fact, speaking of Heaven, I'm not sure if Non-Christians will enjoy this book quite as much. Usually it's fine to read protagonists with different religious points of views in fiction, but God is mentioned a lot from page one. Christianity plays a large role in the storyline, the setting (a church), the dialogue, and the overall focus. That's not always the case when demons are invented for the sake of the supernatural storyline, but in this case the author took a more traditional approach. For people of the faith, there were some amusing nuggets of disagreement thrown in between Catholicism and Protestantism. While the religion is more straight played, some of the demons are invented just for the sake of the world-building and story-line.

If I read a review like this, I wouldn't be too excited to try the book. I'd worry I would be put off my cuteness, almost constant humor, and Ebonics. Really that's not the case here though - it was a hard book to put down, I laughed out loud several times, the situation becomes absolutely endearing, and it's definitely worth at least a four star rating. It's clearly a starter book that's introducing Emme to the life and having her make up her mind whether she wants to proceed down this particular path in the future.

Read it and giggle, but be warned it may make you crave food at weird times.

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