Book: The D'Evil Diaries by Tatum Flynn, Illustrations by David Shephard
Source: Purchased paperback at The Book Depository
Summary (on Book Depository): A hilarious, crackling, original debut about an unlucky demon, perfect for fans of Derek Landy and Eoin Colfer. Twelve-year-old Jinx is hopeless at being evil. Which is a bit of a problem when you're Lucifer's youngest son. But when Jinx runs away from Pandemonium, the walled city he's lived in all his life, he bumps into dead girl Tommy - who's been sent to Hell for accidentally feeding her nasty uncle to a circus lion - and unearths a conspiracy that could up-end the entire underworld. Cue shenanigans involving carnivorous carousel horses, death-trap-riddled libraries and hungry quicksand. Now the fate of the realm rests in the hands of its most unlikely demon and a girl who shouldn't be in Hell at all...
In a year of many books left unfinished (thanks a lot 2015) D'Evil Diaries was a book I could finish in an evening because of how engaging it was. Yes it is under 300 pages but that has nothing to do with the good writing and beautiful illustrations. Tatum and David collaborated to bring us a book that showed us a different side of hell and boy was it one 'hell of a ride'.
The novel starts with Jinx son of Lucifer who can't seem to do anything right in the evil department. Which is very bad for a demon. As his father gets more fed up with him and all other attempts at being evil fail...Jinx runs away and meets up with Tommy, a girl who should not be in hell. What ensues afterwards is a crazy adventure that brings to light a secret coup and puts the entire balance of good and evil in jeopardy.
I really enjoyed this book. You had an engaging story, wonderful illustrations, a main character that you could identify with at some point in your life, a mischievous girl that might remind you of a friend at some point in your life, hair raising adventure and the reminder that no matter how evil you might there is someone that you care about and if not even being evil, that is not necessarily a good thing. There are also secondary characters to love including Loiter who you have to get the book just to find the essence of this guy. How a lazy being can command a scene is shown in spades. While there was an issue of the book getting a bit cliched with the overly awkward boy and then this strong personality girl just happened to be named Tommy. Tatum made up for that quick with an attack of crazed 'horses' and the story quickly got back on it's amazing track. Plus it was nice to have strong characters no matter their gender being shown and not flung in your face. A strong female character is great but I don't want a 'Katniss' flung in my face. Nor a 'Gayle' either, it goes both ways. Tatum was able to balance the strength and weaknesses of her characters very well and any falter made was quickly made up for with engaging storytelling and a novel that flowed and kept you engaged from start to finish.
Rating: 4 Stars
Purchase: The Book Depository
Funny enough I met Tatum last year on Twitter via a hashtag dealing with refugees. After chatting with her I decided to check her twitter account, discovered she was a writer, checked out her website and saw a book I knew I had to buy. Plus she has Calvin as her Twitter avatar. Major cool points.
Today is the debut of the second book in the series and I couldn't be happier for her. Of course I pre-ordered my copy months ago and it has already been dispatched. Also late last year I bucked into the illustrator David on Twitter as well and he is a cool chap. Definitely a great artistic talent and the only illustrator I check on who is not doing Teenage Ninja Turtles. Priorities. Congrats to you both and thanks for helping to bring such an awesome book into the world. Oh and the publisher.
Tatum Flynn: Website, Twitter
David Shephard: Website, Twitter