Another great series from Zoe Archer. The concept to the story is quite simple, 5 friends, as close as brothers, unwittingly release the devil from his imprisonment. The grateful Devil gives each man his heart desires at the cost of each man’s soul.
For Whit, his gift was the ability to control odds (chance). Whit’s character is a lost risk taker, always upping the bet in order to feel the rush. He has ignored everything else in his life, his estates, his sister, and most other responsibilities.
Zora is a young gypsy girl who is not afraid to speak her mind. She too is a wandering soul searching for excitement.
Like most of Archer’s books, part of what drives the story are the character flaws of the hero/heroine, and her knack at isolating them. In this story, Whit save’s Zora from the Devil by claiming her himself (as she is also part of his heart’s desire) but it comes at a high cost for Zora loses everything she holds dear, freedom, her family, her ability to be seen by anyone but Whit. Whit is blinded by everything but the rush of power he feels from his gift and cannot see through that to understand what he has done to Zora, even as he falls in love with her. Through the use of his gift, Archer again isolates the Whit. Zora, on the other hand, uses the isolation to become stronger herself and overcome her fears and biases – about gorgies, about herself, and to focus on what is truly important in life – love.
It is not until Zora escapes her imprisonment that Whit understands what he faces and does one of the hardest things for him, he turns his back both on his gift and his friends. They both discover that they can draw strength from each other to overcome even themselves.
In the end, Whit uses the gifts he naturally has, his intelligence, gambling skill, love and trust of Zora, to beat his own demon and take back his soul (and all the other souls his own personal demon had collected). Some may find this part seemed to develop quickly and way to easy, but main point of the story is first battling and defeating the devil within you. After that, defeating that demon in real life is supposed to be easy (I adore the symbolism used)
For those that like the Blades of the Rose series, Zoe Archer has created another series that may surpass the previous one in it’s detail and character pairings.