Review of Death’s Hand by SM Reine

Posted October 14th, 2011 in book review / Leave a comment

Death’s Hand

Book 1 of the Descent Series

by SM Reine

Published: Oct. 21st 2011 – Red Iris Books
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 288 (ebook)

Purchase at:

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Rating: ★★★½☆ (3.5 stars)


Policing relations between Heaven, Hell, and Earth is messy and violent, but Elise Kavanagh and James Faulkner excelled at it– until coming across a job so brutal that even they couldn’t stand to see one more dead body. Now they’ve been pretending to be normal for five years, leaving their horrific history a dark secret. Elise works in an office. James owns a business. None of their friends realize they used to be one of the world’s best killing teams.

After years of hiding, something stirs. Bodies are vanishing. Demons scurry in the shadows of the night. A child has been possessed. Some enemies aren’t willing to let the secrets of the past stay dead…

The Good
Wow. I was very surprised by this book. It had interesting characters, great action scenes, and a unique world that I haven’t seen before.

The beginning of Death’s Hand was outrageous. It grabbed my attention and made me want to read more. There were so many facets at play throughout the whole novel. There were exorcisms, creepy demons, magic, fiends, witches, and goddesses. Each had a role in the fantastical world Reine created.

The protagonist, Elise, was hard-core in every way. She knows how to fight, she fights for what she wants, and she can fill out a mean tax form (she’s an accountant). But this accountant is good with a sword and will gut the bad guys without a backwards glance.

James is still somewhat of a mystery to me. He is a powerful witch and tries to do whats right. But I can tell there is something deeper about his character, something that will surprise us all when it comes out. But he and Elise are a pair to be reckoned with. They will fight for each other no matter the consequences.

I also really like Betty, Elise’s roommate. She is loyal, almost to a fault, and she can always bring a smile to your face. She’s optimistic and loves Elise, no matter her failings.

The action in the second half of the book was non-stop. As things start to crumble under Elise’s feet, she enlists the help of Betty and Betty’s cousin, Anthony, to pretty much save the world. But it’s just not that simple. Too many things want Elise either dead or out of the way.

The writing was well-done. Not too much description but enough to give the reader a great visual. The pacing was on spot and the plot was well thought-out.

The Bad
The first half of the book was somewhat slow. Though I enjoyed reading it, I felt the second half was so much more enthralling.

More than anything, I wish Reine had spent more time on world and character building. I found myself sometimes lost in the expressions used for demons, magic and such. If these things were explained, I felt I would have had a better understanding of the world Reine had created. Maybe even a little more backstory to set the scene. And though I liked all the characters, I would have loved to know more about a few of them. There seem to be some gaps in character history that left me a little disappointed.

The Snuggly
There is some slight sexual content but it was pretty mild.

I think Reine is a great writer that has a very successful future in store for her. For most of the book, I didn’t stop reading until I was falling asleep from exhaustion. I just had to know what was going to happen next. If Reine would just supply a fuller backstory for both the characters and the world in which they live, I would be one of her most devoted readers. I would for sure recommend this book to anyone who loves urban fantasy.

book review

, , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply