Title: Hell Takes a Holiday
Author: Kiernan Kelly
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: December 7, 2016
Page Count: 48
Reviewed by: Kristin
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.6 stars out of 5
Despite a major setback, Lucifer has no time to feel sorry for himself. Running Hell is a monumental task, even though he’s taken steps to modernize it with technology like closed-circuit cameras and security systems.
As he struggles with his infernal issues, an unannounced visitor threatens to break his black heart. Lucifer hasn’t seen Uriel since his Fall, but he remembers how much he loved Uriel and how betrayed he felt when Uriel didn’t stand with him during the War.
Uriel has been sent to inspect the changes Lucifer has made and report back to Heaven. Lucifer has no choice but to give Uriel a guided tour of the Nine Circles, and all the feelings come rushing back.
Uriel hasn’t forgotten Lucifer either, and they pick up where they left off—with enough sizzle to rival the hottest of hell’s fires. But their reunion will be short-lived, unless Uriel relinquishes his halo—which Lucifer is unwilling to let him do.
First Edition published by Torquere Press, 2008.
This was a delightful read.
The Blurb above summarizes the story fairly well, and in the interest of not being repetitive nor dropping spoilers on a short story, I’ll not re-summarize.
What I particularly enjoyed about this story was the commentary – it never ceases to amaze me when an author can subtly and succinctly slide in tidbits that make the reader go…hm, I hadn’t thought of [idea] that way, or Huh, that’s an interesting observation.
Case in point – Lucifer is up to his little red horns in souls, but it’s not because God won’t let them into heaven, it’s because Man keeps changing the definition of sin. This is one example from Lucifer lecturing Uriel on the overcrowding problem:
Don’t you remember it was once a mortal sin for Catholics to eat meat on Friday’s? Please… since when is taking sustenance for the frail human body a mortal sin, Uriel? That one wasn’t the Boss’s rules: it was Man’s. For centuries, otherwise pure souls were condemned to my Pits because they ate a piece of meat on the wrong fucking day. Then what happens? The Church rescinds the rule, and I’m stuck with a ton of souls condemned for something that isn’t even a sin anymore! What was I supposed to do with them, Uriel? That wasn’t the only time something like that’s happened either.”
The reader gets a slightly different view of our brimstone burning devil; a reminder that he once was an angel who loved another angel, and because Lucifer stood against the Highest authority, was cast asunder. It was also an interesting reminder that God and Lucifer are not necessarily equals, but despite that unequal power Lucifer provides a needed balance for souls.
Lest I keep gushing about the interesting concepts so well presented, I also liked the re-connection between Lucifer and Uriel, the little reminders of what they had before the Fall and their enduring feelings for each other. The ending is not surprising, sweet without being saccharine, and everything combined made for a fun afternoon read.