It was supposed to be an easy, stress-free week when Callie’s mother left to accept an award for running one of the best escape rooms in the country. Everything was supposed to run smoothly. The rooms were well laid out and decorated. The clientele mostly made up of bachelorette parties and frat bros. Nothing should have gone wrong.
Which, of course, means it did.
When a group of cultists shows up, everything goes to hell… almost literally. The cultists believe that one of the props in one of the rooms – a tome Callie found at a garage sale – is the real deal. And they want to use it to summon a literal demon. Except the person they summon doesn’t look very demon-like. In fact, he’s kind of hot. His name is Luke and he’s on a mission of his own.
Not Your Average Hot Guy is a fun, light paranormal romantic comedy. And it’s not trying to be anything else. It’s pure cotton-candy and popcorn fun and sometimes that’s just what you need. In a way, the book reminds me of a mashup between Buffy, The DaVinci Code, and Lucifer. There’s lots of lampshade hanging and pop culture references a la Buffy. A hunt for a lost religious artifact before a cult can use it to end the world a la The DaVinci Code. And a good person teamed up with a literal devil to solve the mystery/save the world a la Lucifer. I liked it.
There’s a lot of funny lines, and the series is very rooted in modern day pop culture. The characters feel young, early twenties, which makes this more of a new adult paranormal romance rather than some of the staples of PNR which features older heroines. Callie is a bit naïve, but it makes sense for her character especially considering how much her mother and brother have sheltered her her whole life. Luke is a bit more jaded… which also makes sense. He’s older and he’s the literal son of the Devil and Mother Nature. His perspective is skewed because he grew up in Hell surrounded by demons and sinners.
The supporting cast is fairly small. Callie’s Brother; Her NB BFF, Mag; Luke’s mentor, Porsoth, her dog, Bosch; and of course the antagonist. I especially liked Mag who was both a voice of reason but also a source of conflict. It was nice to see a well-rounded transgender character who wasn’t completely horrible but who also wasn’t absolutely saintly. It’s nice to have a grounded human. And no queers were buried in the course of this book.
The writing style is very light and readable, which could seem juvenile to some but is actually harder than it looks. It’s a book that is meant to straddle the line between YA readers and Adult PNR readers. The book is written in first person present tense with alternating points of view. Which may be why some readers felt that it felt like fanfic or YA fiction when it isn’t. It isn’t typical genre convention, but that isn’t a bad thing.
I didn’t love everything about this book. There’s a weird truncated sex scene partway through that both goes too far and not far enough. Basically it starts out open door but then the door slams closed partway through. It didn’t land for me. And I’m not sure it was needed, and if it was it either needed to be fully realized or go to fade to black a lot earlier in the scene. It was an odd choice.
But in all, I did like this book. It was fun. It’s a solid start for what appears to be the start of a series.
Four and half stars rounded up to Five
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I received an arc of this book via NetGalley.
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