Book Rating: ★★★★☆ (3.75 / 5 stars)
Can love heal a demon filled by lust? It sounds cliche, but for Asmodeus, King of the Demons, bearer of the Gift of Lust, he never believed in love. He saw his life as a constant circle: meditation, bestowing his gift, and repeat. But when Jophiel, Beauty of God, shows up in a veil of light, he is drawn to her in more ways than one. But is it just lust again, or something else? And does it put his reign at risk?
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. To be honest, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect as it is outside my usual reading realm. With the title “Gift of Lust”, I was worried that I ventured into erotica which is one of the few genres I don’t read. While there are of course a number of vivid sex scenes in the book, as expected with the word “Lust” in the title, the story’s plotline was far more than that.
We are taken on both Asmodeus and Jophiel’s journey as they learn more about one and other, as well as about how lust can lead to love, and lust in the act of love is not a sin in itself. The story does well to paint the demons in a different light: the “Seven Deadly Sins” are only deadly when acted up deviously. Sex is not bad. Pride is not bad. Envy is not bad. These are a part of the human condition, after all. Asmodeus does not mark every person who fulfills their sexual desires, but only those who have the intent of doing wrong. Jophiel is thoughtfully used as evidence in this, show naivety, generosity, and curiosity as she navigates through the complicated feelings around lust and love.
Since romance is not my usual genre (although I read it from time-to-time), I was most drawn to the external conflict brewing outside of Asmodeus and Jophiel’s infatuation with one and other. With the knowledge that more books about the Sinful Seven remain, I anticipate seeing how this battle for power will play out through different the eyes of different characters…and I definitely look forward to it!
With all that being said, I do offer a warning to some people who may pick this book up. I did end up enjoying the story ultimately, but the beginning you are seeing Asmodeus as a true demon. He acts with nefarious and selfish intent, with his gift of lust as his guiding force, and it causes him to perform acts that might make some readers uncomfortable. These decisions are needed to foster Asmodeus’s growth, as well as kindle the relationship between him and Jophiel, but they are demonic…so be wary of that, at least.
But with that being said, despite that initial moment, I did enjoy the story. It’s more than I expected, and I am really looking forward to Beezlebub: Gift of Gluttony! Definitely worth the read.
What’s it about?
Once an angel, Asmodeus has earned the position of King of Demons, crawling his way up after leaving Heaven. His job, for all eternity, is to tempt humans with his gift, the sin of Lust, marking the weak, while still maintaining control over all other demons. After several millennia of fun, the pleasure he’d once gotten from his existence is gone. Or it was until Jophiel, Beauty of God, shows up at his place unexpectedly. Now, for the first time in a long time, he’s enjoying himself again—at her expense.
Jophiel, Beauty of God, angel of illumination, wisdom, and perception, has been tasked with the most challenging job of her long existence, a task that may just end her life. She needs to bring a demon home, to Heaven. But not just any demon. Asmodeus is one of the Royal Seven, the King of Demons. She knew going in that he’d fight her at every turn. But as prepared as she believed herself to be, she soon finds out that she’s no match for him. Because demons fight dirty.
To make matters worse, there is one among them who demands more power. In a world full of evil, where human souls are at stake, can they work together to defeat a common enemy and restore balance?