So we’re up to the fourth Corine Solomon book, and it’s definitely the darkest. I admit, I have a propensity for torturing my characters. I dangle the potential for happiness and then wreck it, just to see how they stand the pain. Yes, in kindergarten, I knocked down block towers (and occasionally hit other kids in the head with sand pails). I grew out of the latter, but not the former, apparently, as I’m still obsessed with destroying what I create.
But for the first time in this series, I invented a world that runs parallel to our own, a whole dimension full of demons. It was a colossal undertaking that required a lot of preparatory work, copious amounts of note-taking and rummaging through obscure mythologies to cherry pick the bits that would make it into the final cut. The end result is, I hope, a robust society that feels complete while having lent various legends and lore to our own culture over the years.
Many books take the approach that demons are an unmitigated evil. I chose another path; over the course of Devil’s Punch, Corine comes to the uncomfortable realization that demons are just folks, like humans. Some are wicked beyond imagining and do terrible things. Some collect knickknacks. Others are just trying to make it through the day. Their lives, like ours, are full of magic and destruction, miracles and confusion. There are no magic beans, even in Sheol. During her stay in Xibalbathe demon cityCorine is confronted with her worst nightmares and profound loss.
Yet there is an essential beauty in chaosin seeing how people cope when their existences have been pared down to the bone. Therein lies the potential for tragedy… and for heroism. It’s impossible to predict how a protagonist will react until you strip them down in just such a way. Will they break? Or will the fires of adversity temper them into a strength previously unimagined? For Corine Solomon, it is the latter.
I hope you enjoy the fourth installment, but if it’s too grim and it makes you cry; take heart. There is one story yet to come, wherein to paraphrase a gentle Puck: if this author has offended, read the last book and all is mended.