A welcome return to form for the Demon Squad series.
Exit Wounds by Tim Marquitz is the seventh book in the Demon Squad series. If you have made it this far, you are probably a fan and will pick up this book regardless of what I say. If you had the same issues that I had with Book 6, then I can tell you that I think Marquitz did a great job of fixing them in this book. If you haven't read a Demon Squad book before, this is not a good place to start because Book 6 finished on a big cliff-hanger and many of the events that take place in this book require prior knowledge to add context. Oh and by the way, the next paragraph has a few spoilers.
Exit Wounds begins immediately after the close of The Best of Enemies, with Frank and friends being cast through a portal to land in a strange world - God's prison for creatures who are messed up or generally misbehave. The group are immediately set upon by the inhabitants of this world including strange green tree dwellers, dragons, and those nasty devourers who showed up in the previous book. The goal is simple - survive first, then find a way to get back home. In the meantime, the old Angel of Death Azrael has taken charge back on Earth and is starting to flex his muscles. Scarlett, who was one of the few to miss the portal to God's prison, has taken a direct route to Heaven and is trying to rally support from the arch angels so that the threat being presented by Azrael is taken seriously.
The first thing you will notice about this book is that it’s a lot more straight forward than previous books, and that it finally resolves a bunch of threads without introducing a heap of new open-ended threads. One of the problems that had been creeping into the series was that things were starting to get really messy with multiple parallel universes, multiple plot threads spanning a handful of books, and sometimes no clear goal in sight. In comparison, the goal for this book is relatively simple, find a way back home, but the reality of this goal is not so simple as Marquitz sends complication after complication against our tired and beleaguered heroes. This straightforward storytelling meant that I had a pretty good idea about how the story was going to end, but I didn't mind because Marquitz really nailed the whole "journey" aspect.
One of the changes Marquitz has made in this book is the addition of a second viewpoint character, Scarlett, and I have to say I think it was a fantastic idea. The Scarlett chapters were some of my favourite chapters from any Demon Squad book, it allowed us to remain aware of the events that were happening on Earth while Frank and friends were stuck in God's prison, they were a means by which Marquitz was able to add some depth and complexity to the story, and they were a lot of fun. If there was a downside to these chapters, I would say that Scarlett's story could have been its own book, and that the few chapters we got were not enough to fully appreciate what was going on. But that said, I would much rather have the Scarlett chapters we got than none at all.
Exit Wounds is a welcome return to form for the Demon Squad series, ranking right up there as one of my favourite in the series. Marquitz managed to take some really out there ideas and mesh them with some tight plotting and a solid resolution. We were given a tiny cliff-hanger at the end of the story, but I loved it because it presents a sign of things to come for Frank rather than cutting us off halfway through a story. I'm really happy that we got so much resolution in this book, and I'm excited to see what happens next.
Review by Ryan Lawler
FBR favourite Tim Marquitz is back, only this time it's to promote the anthology he edited called Fading Light. Tim was able to attract a number of high profile authors to anthology, and fantasy readers are likely to be f [...]
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