For What It's Worth

Friday, March 9, 2012

Review: Devil’s Luck (The Disillusionists #3.5) by Carolyn Crane


No wager is too outrageous for Simon Fitzgerald, the most reckless of the Disillusionists. His dark secrets drive him to take increasingly extreme risks, but he’s never lived so quite so dangerously as when he hooks up with Midcity’s most powerful prognosticator.

Fawna Brady is tormented by the destinies she sees for those around her. To Fawna, knowledge of the future is a cage she’d do anything to escape. She’s stunned to discover a taste of the freedom for which she yearns at the side of Simon, the one person in the world who despises everything she is, everything she stands for.

Simon’s defiant attitude toward destiny captivates Fawna, but will her love destroy him? And will Simon rush headlong into the delicious doom she offers?  (e-book novella)

Note: No spoilers for Devil's Luck or the Disillusionists Trilogy (this is a spin off novella from that world) but the review probably won't make sense if you haven't read the trilogy. You can read my review for the series here.

I'm late to the party in discovering Carolyn Crane's amazing Disillusionists Trilogy. I read all three books in three days but now it's over. *sad panda*

I was already in deep withdrawals when I read the news that one of my favorite characters from the series, Simon, was getting his own novella.

I don't think you need to have read the Disillusionists series first to be able to understand Devil's Luck but you’ll get more out of it if you have. Plus you really really really should read it for like 100 reasons including that it is one of my all time favorite UF series.

Despite my excitement for the novella, I was afraid. Simon is different. He's larger than life, over the top, snarky, brash, reckless. I didn't want him to turn into one of those heroes that finds love and loses his "Simon-ness".

Not only did that not happen but Carolyn Crane packed one hell of a story into a very short timeframe.
When Simon Fitzgerald and Fawna Brady cross paths at a carnival it's anything but love or even attraction. They know each other from working on Packard's Dislllusionists team but don't really respect each others "gifts". Fawna is a long-term prognosticator while Simon zings his victims with recklessness. Simon likes to look at Fawna's predictions of death and say F*ck you! I make my own future.

At the carnival the two get caught up in a ring toss game. Fawna gets frustrated watching Simon lose over and over and tries to help him beat the odds using her gift of sight.  After a lifetime of being studied, used and abused for her gift, she is at first happy then horrified, then insulted that Simon really doesn't give a shit about what she has to say to help him win the game.

"Her eyes widened. he would ignore her? Surely Simon was aware of her accuracy. Everybody was. People begged her for news of the future. They used it, ran from it, built fortunes on it, but they never, ever, ever ignored it."

I just have to halt my summary right here to say how much I love Carolyn Crane's writing. This is such a simple scene. It's two people tossing rings. The revelations….the character development….just everything with this scene. Perfection.

Crane has a flair for exploring about the human condition. I don't think there is another series with characters that I sympathize with and relate to more. The writing, even in this short novella, makes me think, question my beliefs or sparks a new way of looking at things for me.

I can see crazy, beautiful, broken, bad ass Fawna in her flowing coat with doll heads, buttons and scraps of fabric attached. Her wild beaded hair. Then there is Simon. How do you explain his reckless behavior and still make him likable without losing his edge? Carolyn did it. Of course she did. Why did I ever doubt it?  The surprising thing about Simon for me was how deep he loves. Once he takes the plunge he goes full in. I didn't expect the kindness and warmth that he displayed.

I would have never put these two together based on what I read from the series but they work. They compliment each other perfectly and their relationship is not based on lust. What's even more beautiful is how the relationship slowly develops while they constantly struggle against their fears. They fight to make it work.

A few downsides: It's a novella - so things felt a little rushed at times but we're getting a lot of story packed in here so I can live with it.

I wish it was longer. These two could have easily held their own in a full length novel. Again. I was going through trilogy withdrawals so I'll take anything from this world. Anything. A few words jotted on a napkin. I'm not complaining just pointing it out.

I'll leave the rest for you to discover. You'll find plenty of action, some sexy lovin and the best Packard/Simon conversation evah!…..involving magic wongs and pre-teen elfin king's.

"Fawna'a a big girl, Packard. I promise you that she'll greatly enjoy her stay in my evil web of debauchery, and I'll release her unscathed."

RATING: 3.5 out of 4 A must read for any Disllusionists series fan.

*Check out this really cool guest post by Carolyn Crane about world building over at Smash Attack Reads - World Building Wednesday's where she discusses world………ruining. lol Great post!

Carolyn Crane: website | Twitter | Facebook
Buy the book: Devil's Luck $2.99
Source: Free sneak peek for newsletter subscribers


  1. I've read quite a lot of reviews of this and it seems to be one of those books that people love or hate in equal measures so thanks for sharing your thoughts. Perhaps one I'd read if I was to come across it in the library, I don't think its one I'd buy though.

    1. This probably isn't the series for you but I would give it a try if you come across it.

  2. Oh my gawrsh. I gotta read this. Yeah, Carolyn is to you what Ilona is to me. :-D But I think Carolyn is to me what Ilona is to you, or maybe more--I obsessed over her trilogy a bunch while reading it, and I still rank her among the top 5 UF writers out there on the market.

    Simon! Fawna! Yargh, it sounds so good.

    1. hehe - Ilona is to me what Carolyn is to Ilona is to Tiger is to Karen....I'm confused now.

      I think you will likey. She's definitely at the top of my author list. I will read anything she writes.

      Read girl! I want to discuss Fawna with you.

  3. I do have this one, but first I NEED book 3. Sighs, waiting for the print sucks

  4. I'm not reading this review, but I wanted to tell you that I did get Mind Games from the library and I'm going to start is SOON! ;) Maybe my next book!