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Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite
Jennifer Juvenelle dishes up a devilish delight with the supernatural conspiracy thriller Daughter of Belial, the newest edition to the crossover genre's under-represented alternative to cults and secret societies. Sophie Greer doesn't see herself beyond being lucky enough to live in Paris but so unlucky that everything goes wrong all the time. What she does not know is that a legacy of power has evolved to its apex and she is central to its awakening. The Order has only ever produced gifted men, puppeteers to every facet of how the world runs, from the top down. That is until Sophie is born. She has been protected her entire life by ignorance of her lineage and it comes as an earth-shattering blow when she is told the truth. Everything until the second she gets into the car of the young, handsome and wealthy Edward Hughes has been a sham. Her life was a ruse and her destiny was more cataclysmic than she could have ever imagined.
Daughter of Belial by Jennifer Juvenelle is unapologetic in using taboos to create palpable struggles for Sophie and the reader. From start to finish, Juvenelle harnesses the best aspects of inherent power, female agency, romance, and the ambiguity of family secrets. The agency Sophie wields even though she does not recognize it is a standout theme to me. Sophie is the key to smashing the patriarchy of a deeply and obsessively male Order. She is constantly having men beneath her trying to control her so they can extort her power but she's the only one who has the power, and it is exciting to witness her grow in it. The spine-tingling moment comes with the declaration, “I don’t belong to you. Lay a hand on me and watch how fast your world crumbles.” The romance comes with baggage and an 'ick' factor that is eclipsed only by Edward's father, Friedrich. I have a pun here about halves and half-nots that, sadly, only readers will get. But do read it because Juvenelle is a writer whose work is worthy of a whole bucket of stars. Alas, I only have five...but I give them all to her.