Review: If Found, Return to Hell by Em. X. Liu
Being an intern at One Wizard sounds magical on the page, but in practice mostly means getting yelled at by senior mages and angry clients alike. And so, after receiving a frantic call from a young man who’s awoken to a talisman on his bedroom wall—and no memory of how it got there—Journeyman Wen jumps at the chance to escape call-center duty and actually help someone for once.
But the case ends up being more complicated than Wen could ever have anticipated. The client has been possessed by a demon prince from Hell, and he’s not interested in leaving.
I purchased this book on impulse, because somebody on my tweeter feed retweeted the review by KJ Charles. I don’t follow her myself, but the review hit several of my buttons, and I said to myself why not.
First of all, this is not a long read. The author calls it a novella, it has 165 pages on my kindle and it took me few hours to finish it.
The writing was on another level. I am not capable of analyzing the finer details, but I wanted to stop and taste every word and every sentence. Also, since I have not read any other reviews, I need to nod in agreement with KJ Charles’ one. Most of the story is written in second person present POV. The author does infuse some other tenses from time to time, but the vast majority is second person present. Let me tell you, I dislike first person present, but I certainly have read the books in that POV that I liked.
Second person present? I usually run away from the book when I see it. This book however I inhaled.
Now let me tell you what this book is not in my opinion – it is not a romance, at most it is a beginning of the romance and at the end of the book I was still not completely sure between which characters the romance may start (or NOT! and NOT is a very real possibility when the story ends). There are certainly emotional attachments formed between all four main characters, but where it will go, who the heck knows.
I also don’t think that this book is actually about magic, even though the settings are described very accurately in the blurb – the main character works in the magical agency and the actual magic is part of this world, but we dont see much of the magic at work. I mean, very real possession is at the heart of the plot, so magic should be involved, but I think the unhelpfulness of magical bureaucracy is what we see more than actual magic and dont get me wrong, the portrayal is very on point.
And main character trying to help to the best of his abilities and getting his heart involved too, was lovely and the client possessed by Demon Prince from Hell was wonderful, too. Oh and there was Nathaniel too who fit very well…
Read it… A-