Posted March 22, 2012 by The Captain in All Series

Review: Hellsbane (Hellsbane #1) by Paige Cuccaro

TLDR Recap:

Emma Jane Hellsbane usually leaves out the middle name. Dirty limericks and all, you understand. She’s been raking in dough using a little somethin’ extra in her brain pan. That is until the morning hottie from high school Tom shows up on her doorstep. He’s got a big problem hot on his heels and Emma does the dumb thing and tries to help him. That choice sets into motion an action packed roller-coaster of forbidden desires, demon slaying, and a pesky recurring problem of having a big psychic bulls eye on her ass that leads demons right to her. Hellsbane is a GraveTells Recommended Read!

  • Title: Hellsbane
  • Series: Hellsbane Books
  • Author: Paige Cuccaro
  • Prominent Characters: Emma, Tommy, Eli
  • Recommended Reader Age: 16+
  • Genre: Urban Fantasy
  • Sexual Content Level: light (No actual sex, but she thinks about it. A lot. Can’t blame her either. 🙂  )

*** This review is SPOILER-FREE! Read on with confidence! ***


Emma, oh Emma, did you think that helping Tommy would lead to the things it has? I bet not. You poor dear. The fights, the atttacks, the smokin’ hot angelic presence who calls himself Eli, the heartache, the loss, the conspiracies, the cute cop, kisses that taste like cinnamon…..

Hellsbane is rollicking good urban fantasy. Rather than revisiting tired tropes in regard to angels and demons and God, Cuccaro spins things on their head with just enough religious mythology to help you ground your feet and then she builds on it. This book is a page turner from the get go, and Emma is a heroine that you’re going to enjoy seeing evolve into the ass kicker she needs to be.

There is loss, terrible loss, that I caught the foreshadowing for and hoped that it was a red herring. *Sigh* Twas not. It was a ballsy move by the author, and I have a feeling she’s going to get reviews that don’t rate this book as high as it deserves because readers are going to be pissy about it. But make no mistake, by not following a tired path, by forcing the heroine up a rocky ass hill, Emma is going to come out of her books as so bad ass and yet wonderfully, vulnerably human that fan girls are going to be lining up for future installments.

A good author isn’t afraid to do the hard things. Some people, although we love the character, become cannon fodder as a natural progression of the plot. We just don’t get to keep everyone.

I loved the story arc of this book, and it tied up nicely in the end with enough of a cliff hanger to have me begging for more without feeling gipped. It took a little bit to find its traction to where the real action started, but this is a series starter. And as series starters go, it’s definitely one of my favorites.

Memorable Quotes:

Meet Emma Jane. A girl with closer ties to the Almighty than she realizes.

I would have gotten my own Bible for him if I had one. I don’t. I’m waiting for the sequel to come out. I’m not an atheist. Actually, I’m not sure what I believe. I just need more to base an opinion on than a bunch of old stories.

You tell him girl!

“Yeah, I don’t really know what about all that garbage, but I do know you’re wrong about one thing. God has raised a finger against you.” I shrugged. “Here I am. Guess which finger.”

And here’s where our girl gets her groove on…

“You’re not an angel,” I said. “You’re an escaped con, and I’m Heaven’s bounty hunter.”

If you liked Hellsbane (Hellsbane Books #1)…

I think you’d also like the Rachel Morgan series starting with Dead Witch Walking. Kim Harrison has a new installment out in that series, and while the first book didn’t wow everyone, it’s a fantastic romp through urban fantasy goodie land.

This book almost straddles that fine line into YA and so I’m going recommend the Heir Series by Cinda Williams Chima. Start with the Warrior Heir and then keep right on going through book three. A fantastic urban fantasy treat. With sword fights. And witches. And a dragon. 🙂

Final Thoughts:

With its new exploration of angels, demons, and the humans caught in the crossfire, Hellsbane is an urban fantasy lover’s treat. The sizzle of forbidden desire and the thought that maybe, just maybe in coming books there might be deeper emotional ties developing, paranormal romance junkies may find themselves pulled in by the tractor beam as well. I really liked this book, and while I felt like the first half was a little bit predictable, the downward slope of the plot arc had me with both hands in the air screaming in glee. 🙂 Hellsbane is a most definitely Recommended Read!

Rating: Hellsbane


The Captain

When not in pursuit of two small children, a sausage shaped black lab, workaholic husband, crazed hermit crab, bachelor's degree, Jensen Ackles, or editors, I spend time writing and reading PNR/UF as fast as my overtaxed eyes and fingers can read and type. I'm busily writing a series with plenty of Smex Beam deployment and the occasional short story. I am susceptible to bribes involving chocolate, peanut butter, and interesting combinations of the two.