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Review of Kat Heckenbach’s Relent

Relent

Photo: amazon.com

NAF alumna, Kat Heckenbach has a new book out, Relent. I fell in love with Finding Angel and the whole Toch Island Chronicles series, so I snapped up a copy of Relent the second she posted a link on Facebook. I then abandoned a library checkout to read it. And will admit to staying up way too late last night to finish it. Probably not the best idea, because now I want to read the last quarter all over again because, wow! I’m still processing the story.

For those of you who’ve read the Toch Island Chronicles, Relent is a whole different genre and is decidedly not young adult. Relent is categorized as a paranormal romance, but really, it’s so much more. Yes, there is romance but it’s more of a heroine’s journey.

As a warning to teen readers and parents, this book is for adults. I can’t imagine the story really appealing to anyone much younger than 18-19. Also, there is adult subject matter, some swearing, and alcohol use. Sex outside of marriage is a big part of the story, but there is no sexual content; it’s all off screen with not even a steamy fade-to-black transition.

Where do I start? First off, if Kat weren’t one of my favorite authors, I might not have picked this book up. I’m not a fan of paranormal romance and especially with demons and angels. I think it comes from my preference keeping heavenly beings and their fallen counterparts inside the Bible. However, I’m not going to get all theological on a fictional story. I can easily go with it if the story is well-written. OK. That said, back to my thoughts on Relent.

There is a reason that I will read anything Kat Heckenbach writes. She is a master of description. I’m sure it has to do with her being an artist. She sees, and then paints with words. This strength is more and more apparent as the story progresses with the last half being a full immersion into the spiritual realm. I’m not going to spoil this because there are visuals that are simply mind-blowing.

There were so, so many places where this story could have gone off the rails. At one point, I had this horrible feeling Simone was going to fall in love with Wraith, the demon. I was mentally screaming, “noooo! You know he’s a demon!” Fortunately, it’s not like that at all. Wraith is what he is, a demon. But more. He’s something of an adviser who earns Simone’s trust. He’s so deceptively likable, you want to believe him even when you know he’s lying or telling half-truths.

This is where Relent departs from being a romance. It’s more about Simone accepting that she’s an immortal half-angel. The story focuses on Simone learning the truth from Wraith, and then coming to depend on him as her “spiritual guide”. Of course he’s a demon so he leads her astray.

The story is so tightly written that each part flows into the next. Simone and Wraith’s relationship, Reese, her daughter Emily’s birth, and Simone’s search for Emily after she abandons her with Reese. With each step Simone loses a bit more of herself that leads to a gut-wrenching, soul-searching spiritual journey that places her on the brink of hell.

I recommend Relent for those who love a gritty supernatural read!

Do you have a favorite author who you’d follow into a genre that you don’t typically read?

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About Gretchen E K Engel

Chemical engineer by day, spec fiction writer by night

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