Original Sin by Allison Brennan

Seven Deadly Sins, #1


Haunted by chilling memories of demonic possession and murder, Moira O'Donnell has spent seven years hunting down her mother, Fiona, whose command of black magic has granted her unprecedented control of the underworld. Now Moira's global search has led her to a small California town that's about to become hell on earth.

Tormented by his own terrifying past and driven by powers he can't explain, ex-seminarian Rafe Cooper joins Moira's dangerous quest. But Fiona is one devilish step ahead. Hungry for greater power, eternal youth, and stunning beauty, the sorceress is unleashing upon the mortal world the living incarnations of the Seven Deadly Sins.

Together with a demonologist, a tough female sheriff, and a pair of star-crossed teenagers, Moira and Rafe are humanity's last chance to snatch salvation from the howling jaws of damnation.

“Victory is sweet, but sweeter when your opponent is butt-ass naked in defeat.”

This unusual Urban Fantasy starts right in the middle of the conflict, and I mean seriously right in the middle. The prologue sets up the story, but it's almost like the first chapter is another prologue in itself. Since it starts with so much already established and in the middle of the action, it feels like a sequel instead of a starter. Strange. People with history are already in town on the eve of fighting and doing a big showdown. There's catching a reader's interest, then there's being confusing.

Despite hyperized action, there is little violence and no gore, with the implications of what the characters are dealing with being the more disturbing thing. There's some eeriness in a few scenes, and unsettling situations, but it's not something people who shy from gore couldn't stomach. It's definitely a darker-themed UF with no emphasis on romance, although there is a mild one that pops up at the very end as a minor thing. It's an afterthought.

Fiona and some of the baddies are a little cliche, but the heroes of the story were better written. The author gave a blend of intriguing characters from the guilt-written Moira to the brave and love-struck sheriff. Dialogue suffered some when villains presented themselves, but overall the writing technique was fine.

Sometimes it grew exhausting because I didn't get a chance to care about about the characters or situation before being plopped right into it. Some of the motivation is revealed much later, but I didn't care as much as I would have otherwise. I do like the surreal and dark feel of Moira, but I didn't care for the head-hopping which was a little too frequent. I'll admit the story confused me in several areas too, which doesn't help the enjoyment. It's like the author had tons to say and they had to fit it in the first book, and they were definitely enthusiastic about the material and what they were writing, but left some emotion behind in the midst of over-churned conflict.

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