It’s been a while since I last posted, thanks to a crazy start to the year. Lots of changes at work have made it tricky to balance my own hobbies. D&D has taken up a large part of my free time thanks to the creativity and social aspect of the game. However, I am slowly making progress on The Art of Falling Sequel when the inspiration strikes; writer’s block has been strong lately. I’ve also started a bullet journal to keep my creative juices flowing! Keep track of that and the rest of my life over at my Instagram.
That being said, I have been missing the relaxation of picking up a good book. I’ve recently joined an Urban Fantasy Writers Facebook group to not only keep me fresh with what’s releasing, but to also get some good reads in. This week, I wanted to share with you a swap that I did with fellow Urban Fantasy author Percival Constantine. He is a veteran who has released several books for his Luther Cross series. However, his newest release Lucifer Rising was the one I was interested in shouting out.
I will preface that I wasn’t able to read nearly as much as I had intended. See: “crazy start to the year” and “D&D has taken up a large part of my free time” as reasons why. However, I did get the chance to read the free sample on Kindle and intend on purchasing the full novel. At this time, my review will be limited to the first few chapters and will focus on character, world building, and writing style. So let’s get into it!
The story follows Lucifer, who has left ruling over Hell to enjoy his retirement in Chicago. It gives me major Lucifer vibes, which is one of my favorite TV shows, so I’m not complaining. In the first three chapters, we’re introduced to the Prince of Hell, given a picture of how he’s perceived vs. how he perceives himself, and shown just how powerful his is.
I’ve always found Lucifer as a protagonist very compelling, and I’m a sucker for a “good Lucifer.” It’s shown early on that Constantine’s Lucifer doesn’t want to be worshiped or praised, but his pride comes from knowing that he’s doing the right thing. (Again, Lucifer vibes.) We are given two very different sides of Lucifer at the start. We first meet him in a nightclub indulging in sins, but by the end of the night he forgoes a potential threesome with two women to punishing a rapist and saving a drugged woman. I’m eager to see what else he will do to show he’s not evil incarnate, as he seems unfazed of showing off his powers in a very public setting – which is a major catalyst for the rest of the story.
What I do find challenging to believe is Lucifer’s powerset. Within the first two chapters, we see him use four different powers: the ability to review the memories of those he touches in an almost telepathic or psychic style, the ability to control light and heat (which he uses to punish the sinner), super strength, teleportation or flight, and the innate skill to know the name of every mortal and whether they are lying to him. As a Prince of Hell, being overly powered can be expected. However, I wonder how that will affect the drama of the story. Are there other demons or angels that are more powerful than him? If not, I worry the story will lack the tension needed to keep the story interesting.
Constantine does a great job of world building, even in the first three chapters. I felt comfortable being dropped into a world that was clearly centered in an already established lore. Throughout the beginning, there are several references to characters and events that require the reader to be familiar with the Luther Cross series I haven’t read any of the Luther Cross books. For example, angels are searching for “the Nephilim boy” and mention a “Cambion” is ruling over Hell with Lucifer’s absence. I assume both are references to Luther, but I can’t confirm.
However, Constantine is very smart in his use of reference to his primary series. He doesn’t bog the reader down with exposition to try to explain everything; he trusts that the reader will be able to put the pieces together on their own while simultaneously enticing them to pick up other books in the series for more context. I wasn’t turned off from Lucifer Rising knowing it was a side story to the Luther Cross series, and you shouldn’t be either.
As a note: I love the subtle references to biblical and mythical origins, whether they were intended or not. Calling the nightclub “Lust,” and having Lucifer climb several flights of stairs to go to a different floor was reminiscent of the nine levels of Hell. His light mark on the rapist reminded me of how Cain was marked for murder as punishment.
As for the writing style, I am very pleased with Constantine’s storytelling. I prefer third person point of view over first person – especially if it’s an omniscient point of view. As readers of my own novel will know, shifting perspectives between chapters or even within the same scene doesn’t bother me at all. I want to know all the details as a reader! I was very happy with how Constantine gave me the perspective of Lucifer, the sinner he was chasing, and then started a new chapter to focus on the angels at the Embassy.
Overall, I highly recommend giving Lucifer Rising a read. It’s currently available for Kindle on Amazon for $2.99. The Luther Cross series is also available on Kindle, so you can indulge in a longer paranormal detective series.