October 31, 2018

Jeri Smith-Ready: "Requiem for the Devil"

Title: Requiem for the Devil [on Amazon | on Goodreads]
Series: None
Author: Jeri Smith-Ready [Site | Goodreads]
Genres: Supernatural, Urban Fantasy
Year: 2001
Age: Adult
Stars: 4/5
Pros: Imaginative story with a foot firmly planted in the Devil's mythology. Well-balanced mix of evil, angst and humour. Non-graphic sex (if you don't like erotica).
Cons: Premise requires suspension of disbelief. A couple of incidents during Lucifer and Gianna's relationship, even more so. Demons crack a couple of rape jokes (one of them not aimed at women though). An animal gets killed.
Will appeal to: Supernatural lovers, even if not keen on romance. Romance lovers looking for the ultimate forbidden one.

Blurb: Set in modern-day Washington, D.C., Requiem for the Devil depicts the end of the Devil's ten-billion-year career. For the first time in his existence, Lucifer falls in love, and this event threatens to transform his identity and perhaps even his destiny. Gianna O'Keefe is the woman who drags him out of his ancient despair and points him toward possible salvation. Yet Lucifer's path from evil is neither straight nor smooth. Pursuing love means betraying his fellow fallen angels, the loyal friends who once followed him to damnation. Divine and infernal forces seem to conspire against his and Gianna's union. Lucifer's empire crumbles around him as he dares to defy the natural order and question his fate. (Amazon excerpt)

Review: You all know that I read very few adult books, and that even in YA (or the rare NA) I do my best to read books with none-to-minimal romance - and even less sex. I made an exception for Smith-Ready's novels though (well, this one and the WVMP Radio series so far, plus her YA standalone This Side of Salvation), because the premises were awesome...and the books lived up to them.
Fun fact: Jeri also writes romance under the pen name Avery Cockburn.


I went into this book with a thirst for the strange and deadly, so to speak. Some of my favourite books are the ones where characters defy natural laws (whether as undead, time travelers, alt-reality explorers, or supernaturally-powered entities) - so I didn't even mind that I had to sit through a love story to get that 😅. Now, on the one hand, the very idea that the Devil, after ten billion years, would fall in love for the very first time is preposterous. Plus, while Gianna is remarkable in more than a way, she didn't strike me as so unique that she might be the only creature in the whole world (and time) Lucifer could love. And yet...in the context of the story, and in Smith-Ready's capable hands (though this one was her very first book!), it worked for me. Yeah, me, the ultimate romance shunner. Of course, it helped that the prose was strong without being purple, and that the author made her research, delving into both the religious and the mundane visions/interpretations of the Devil's story (see the Acknowledgments section). And of course, novel-wise, the times were probably ripe for Lucifer to fall in love, since early on we're given hints that he's starting to get bored with same old, and deep down, he's itching for something more (not going to elaborate because SPOILER). So, you might infer that Gianna is the right woman at the right time in his ten-billion-year-old existence. Even though (or exactly because?), oops, she's catholic. [...]


In a different author's hands, maybe Gianna could have come across as a manic pixie dream girl - only with more depth than your usual ones - and Lucifer as your typical brooding (anti)-hero. But there's something in both that elevates them over trope status, and I think it's the mixture of introspection and humour which Smith-Ready endows them with - plus her firm handling of theological issues (or what I believe is a firm handle, because I'm not very knowledgeable when it comes to religion, so feel free to disprove me on that...though the author often weaves religious themes into her books - in the most open-minded of ways - so I'd bet she knows her stuff). I have to admit that parts of their relationship must be taken with more than a grain of salt (i.e., suspension of disbelief), and not only because he's the Devil (something Gianna is not even privy of till later in the story). There's an incident during their visit to the Grand Canyon that would probably have put an end to any sane relationship (at least, sane as far as the woman was concerned). And when Gianna finally faces the truth, there's another string of awkward moments (I can't be more specific because, again, SPOILER). Plus a lot of angst...for more than a reason. But, once again, the author manages to make you care for these two, and (except in a couple of instances) BELIEVE in them.


RFTD is not just a romance between the Devil and a mortal. There are a number of side characters, whether human (mainly Gianna's family) or taken straightly from Christian mythology (you could say they're Lucifer's own family), who get the story going and/or provide most of the comic (if evil-tinged) relief. Beelzebub, Mephistopheles, Belial, Moloch, Michael, Raphael - it's like watching an extended episode of Supernatural (except the show wasn't even on air yet when the book came out). I can't say if this novel would sit well with a true Christian (though, as I said, the author knows what she's talking about), the same way as I don't know how the show is received by observant viewers. I do believe that in the book there's at least an incident (so to speak) that would be hard for them to swallow, although it involves Lucifer and one of his comrades, so maybe they would overlook it.
On the whole, RFTD is a solid, well-written fantasy that you can enjoy whether you believe or not, oscillating between depth and humour, with an unconventional (if bizarre) romance and a satisfying (if not totally unexpected) ending. Which the author penned with a light, but beautiful touch, so there's that 🙂.

For more Adult books click here.


Note: this post is part of the Back to Black - Beating the Halloween Backlist series, an all-month event taking place every Tuesday of October 2018, featuring:
Thirteen Tales to Give You Night Terrors (Adult, Horror, Supernatural, Afterlife) by Troy H. Gardner et al. (Oct. 10th);
Shallow Graves (YA, Afterlife, Supernatural, Horror) by Kali Wallace (Oct. 17th);
Spellbound (YA, Supernatural, Thriller, Contemporary) by Christopher Pike (Oct. 24th);
Requiem for the Devil (Adult, Supernatural, Urban Fantasy) by Jeri Smith-Ready (Oct. 31st).


  1. Literally have just left a comment and blogger crashed and ate is smh. What I said was that this is the first time I'm hearing of this title and author, but I love the sound of them both! I love romance and the fact that you, someone who is not the biggest fan of romance in novels, enjoyed this makes me all the more excited. Fantastic review!

    1. Thank you hon! and yes, it's unprecedent that I like a romance title, but this one was SO twisted 😂 - plus I love Jeri's prose!

  2. I read this so long ago but I remember it being on the more explicit side sexually than I was used to - which is hilarious because I read way more explicit than this now lol

    But anyway, I enjoyed it a lot! And good choice for a Halloween read.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

    1. The fact with this one is, the sex is at the same time heavy and NOT graphic. That dream scene of Lucifer's (which pretty much is the more explicit one in the book, though there's another one with Gianna) is more on the horror/supernatural side than on the sex side LOL. And later, in her WVMP Radio series, Jeri would write more explicit sex for sure.

  3. The premise of this sounds SO good! Haha, definitely a bit different than what I've been reading lately!

    1. I assure you, a LOT different from what I read at any given time myself LOL. I hope you'll give it a chance!


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