Daughter of Belial

Fiction - Thriller - Psychological
544 Pages
Reviewed on 08/08/2022
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    Book Review

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.

K.C. Finn

Daughter of Belial is a work of fiction in the psychological thriller subgenre. It is aimed at mature readers and was penned by Jennifer Juvenelle. The book follows Sophie Greer as the challenges in her life deepen suddenly and drastically following her kidnapping whilst on a business trip to Russia. Not only faced with a dangerous secret society, to which her family has an unshakeable and upsetting connection, but Sophie also becomes the target of her former employer as she flees for her life and tries to work out how to tell friend from foe in this new world in which she must learn how to survive.

This book was a rollercoaster of dread and terror as the illusion of peace in Sophie’s life is shattered after her kidnapping, as well as the search for answers in the wake of the Hughes family targeting her. Every chapter I read featured some new and engaging yet disconcerting twist from the mind of Jennifer Juvenelle, who masterfully spins a web of deadly intrigue for her protagonist to be caught in. The characterization of Sophie is particularly strong as she evolves throughout the adventure from the grounded and relatable woman we meet in the opening chapters to a hardened and wiser figure shaped by trauma and fighting for survival. Her character arc is deftly delivered page after page and feels like a completely organic response to the events of the narrative. Daughter of Belial is poised to be the beginning of a series, and with a start to the saga as strong as this, I can’t wait to read the next installment.

Jamie Michele

Daughter of Belial by Jennifer Juvenelle is an occult thriller that revolves around an arcane force with all of the power in the world, and a young woman in the very eye of the storm, Sophie Greer. Sophie is an American living her best life in Paris, until she walks in on her boyfriend cheating on her in a bathroom, makes out with a stranger, and then falls to her knees in front of her boss, Edward Hughes, then ends up kidnapped as soon as her jet sets down in Moscow. Two brothers, their father, Sophie's uncle, and her connection to three of the four are smacked down onto her diamond studded-hand with the electric force that only a true Daughter of Belial, a Greer girl, a descendant of The Order, and one who has a really incessant and kind of annoying voice that follows her everywhere can tackle.

Daughter of Belial is beautifully written, completely captivating, and extremely, extremely bizarre. But bizarre in a way that seems perfectly wonderful, if that makes sense. It doesn't, not even to me, but trust me when I say that Jennifer Juvenelle can write the Hades out of a story. Sophie is an incredible character. She is hilarious and real and, whispering voices aside, her internal quips are the stuff of legend. I love her. Then, there's Edward. I don't love Edward, he's really a mixed bag and when you come to know what I know, there's going to be a conflict with how each reader approaches him with their literary feelings. There's also Wyatt, who literally twirls his mustache and we can leave that right there. He's not even the super-villain but there's only so much a review can take. The occult portions take their time unfolding but two masterful scenes take flight, one that is fiery red and another that is brilliant and beautifully white. It's magnificent, all of it. The best way to sum up Juvenelle's work is by using her own words: “A life-sized game of chess. A Shakespearean psychodrama. A Machiavellian masterpiece.” Very highly recommended.