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Monday, February 8, 2016

ARC Review: The Deepest Well by Juliette Cross

The Deepest Well is supernatural tale that starts in historical London about 200 years ago. The action travels to several places, including an alternate plane of existence, possibly hell, skips forward in time, and even includes a stop in New Orleans. I was expecting a paranormal/historical novel, but I got a bit more.

Lady Katherine Blakely and Lord George Draconis meet at a party. It was one of those intense attraction-at-first-sight meetings. There are two problems. Katherine is married and George is a demon slayer. Katherine's husband is a monster, figuratively only, so George can't slay him. In a time when husbands control everything, women have no rights and divorce is practically unheard of, there is little Katherine can do. But George plans to do everything he can to get Katherine into his arms.

When everything George can do entails going up against some of the most powerful demons to save Katherine, desperation and hope are constantly battling each other. Both Katherine and George experience these extremes. One will succumb to desperation and the other will force hope to win out.

Katherine is not a well developed character. She is beautiful and rich. So what. I could not empathize with her despite the fact that her husband was less than ideal. So when she got into real trouble, I had a hard time feeling her pain. I think my main issue with Katherine is that she seem to have no real purpose in life. Other than to be George's love interest.

On the other hand, George is the great dragon slayer (really). His life has purpose. To protect the world from demons is a noble cause. Saving Katherine is just another task in his daily routine. Okay, maybe she is a bit more than just another task. What I am getting at is, George is a nicely developed character that I could root for. So when his love was in trouble I ached for him.

The first two thirds of this book seemed to drag for me. I blame that on my lack of interest in Katherine. But the last part of the book was just the opposite. It felt extremely rushed. In that time, Katherine goes through some key psychological changes and she gets some purpose in her life. In short, she becomes a more interesting character. However, the path to those changes is very short. You don't get much detail. It felt like a few chapters got left out. This could have been the best part of the book, but it fell short.

Despite my complaints, The Deepest Well is a good story. I see The Age of Gray series as having a good deal of potential, what with all the fighting of demons leading up to an apocalyptic battle at the end of The Deepest Well. With any luck, subsequent books in the series will have many characters with depth and purpose.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

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