Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Book Review: The Devil's Metal by Karina Halle

The Devil's Metal

Karina Halle

Publication Date: September 20th 2012

Publisher: CreateSpace

Pages: 329

Genre:  Horror, Paranormal

It’s the summer of 1974 and 21-year old Dawn Emerson has only three things she wants to do: compete one last time in the Ellensburg Rodeo, win back her ex-boyfriend Ryan, and become the best damn music journalist at Central Washington University. But all her plans are left in the dust when she’s contacted by Creem magazine to go on the road with one of her favorite groups, the up-and-coming metal band, Hybrid. 

At first the assignment reads like a dream come true. Not only will Dawn land some much-needed credibility as a female music journalist, but she’ll finally get to experience life from the other side of the stage, and maybe crack the drunken, enigmatic code that is guitarist Sage Knightly. Instead, Dawn finds herself on an aging tour bus filled with ego-maniacs, band politics and a whole lot of sex, drugs and rock n’ roll. When monsters start showing up in dressing rooms and some of Sage’s groupies become increasingly strange and dangerous, Dawn discovers the band is not only going places – they’re going straight to Hell. 

And Dawn has a backstage pass

Now, I'm a huge Karina Halle fan from her Experiments in Terror series. She has a knack for horror mixed with romance and characterization that I don't see often. The Devil's Metal is her first foray into something different. Halle calls up from her own experiences as a music journalist, mixed with a historical point of view and all of those bits and pieces she does best.

The Devil's Metal starts a little weak, mostly due to the fact that we're trying to put ourselves into this 1970s world of the characters and so many issues that they're dealing with are still not really all that different from today. It's not until we are shoved into the backstage music scene that the era really becomes one-hundred percent cemented in our minds. The other weakness is trying to get a hold of where Dawn (or Rusty as she is lovingly called) as a character is in her life and what goes on in her head. In the end, for me, Dawn was a character who really was naïve about a lot about life, but tried so hard to put on that cool façade. She's a character who doesn't even know who she is right now (which at her age is perfectly normal I think).

Once everything in the book got settled in, however, I was hooked hard. The supernatural elements were introduced slowly at first, almost like going up a rollercoaster and then everything starting hitting terrifyingly hard and fast. For me, it was the perfect transition from historical novel about a music journalist following a rock band, to demons and devils and insane groupies.

The world is partially borrowed from Experiments in Terror, but explores a whole other part and issue with it, and scarily enough believable among all the sex, drugs and rock'n'roll.

I also would like to tip my hat to Halle for the epilogue/ending, due to the cyclical nature of it. For me that is one-hundred percent classic horror, I honestly wouldn't care either way if there was a sequel. It is of course open to the possibility, but at the same time I love just wondering and wondering.

Overall this book is highly enjoyable. I wish there were more books that catered specifically to my age range (19-27) which still had the lightness of the young adult novels of today, (just a little more mature). This book will make you make faces in horror (and not because of the horror), remember the days where rockers died young and hard, scream in frustration and yes even cry. I enjoyed it tremendously. 



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