Thursday, March 28, 2013

Review & Giveaway - Breaking the Devil's Heart by H.A.Goodman (3/5)

[For giveaway entry and rules, see the Rafflecopter widget at the bottom of this review.]

By Natasha Post

Breaking the Devil’s Heart is the second installment in H. A. Goodman’s Logic of Demon series.  It’s able to stand on its own, which is good since I myself had not read the first book before picking up Breaking the Devil’s Heart.  The book follows the protagonist Stew and his girlfriend Layla through the afterlife.  After being murdered by junkie friends, they opted to become Observers as opposed to angels, believing they’d be able to do more good and have fewer restrictions.  They’re trying to find a cure for the evil Hell dishes out – specifically ‘The Formula.’  It’s an ambitious goal, a great concept for a novel, but the overly extensive dialogue, first person point of view, and muted character development made it hard for me to read it all the way through.  The balance between showing and telling tipped favorably into the telling column making Stew and Layla seem overly self-righteous.  If more had been done through narrative than explanation, I think this novel would have had more of an impact for me.

I had a hard time actually caring about the characters in Breaking the Devil’s Heart.  For me, it was the overall preachy tone, the forced dialogue in some places, and the near-academic writing.  There was no connection to what was going on, and that’s a pivotal asset for a novel.  If the reader doesn’t care about the characters, it makes it hard to care about the story as a whole – no matter how unique the storyline.

As for the plot itself, Layla and Stew go on a tour of hell – which is basically a giant corporation.  I do love how he compared a call center to hell, so points for that.  The problem was that every time they tried to get an answer about what ‘The Formula’ actually was, they were carted off to another section of hell.  It would have been fine if it weren’t just tours and demons talking about nothing while claiming to be telling them what ‘The Formula’ was.  But as it was, the story was kind of confusing.

If you’re a reader who’s more into dialogue than narrative, this is definitely the book for you.  I think it would have had more of an impact had the showing and telling been more balanced, and had the protagonists been more personable. 

I’m giving Breaking The Devil’s Heart three stars.  One for originality, one for comparing a call center to hell, and a one for Adrian – the devil horned, tatted up angel who was better-rounded than the protagonists.  I gave it three stars, but I encourage you to give the book a read and decide for yourself.
H. A. Goodman
About the Author:  H. A. Goodman is a former financial adviser and high school history teacher who grew up reading comic books and playing Dungeons & Dragons. In 2010, he combined his love for fantasy, science fiction and philosophy to write his debut novel, Logic of Demons: The Quest for Nadine's Soul. As a follow-up to Logic of Demons, H. A. created an even more provocative and thought provoking tale entitled Breaking the Devil's Heart. The latest novel is a whirlwind ride through the afterlife and a journey within the human psyche. The plot utilizes cultural mythology to highlight certain peculiarities of human nature tied inextricably to conflict. The story incorporates world history and a bizarre imagination to create a uniquely dystopian afterlife that is both amusing and frightening. With rave reviews popping up daily, Breaking the Devil's Heart is rapidly growing in popularity throughout the blogosphere. H. A. currently resides in Los Angeles and no longer plays Dungeons & Dragons, although he still loves comic books. For more on H.A. Goodman, visit him at

About the Reviewer Tasha has a voracious appetite for books. They are commonly found overflowing on her shelves, littered around her house, in the car, at the work place, and just to be safe, Tasha always has her Nook stashed somewhere on her person. Besides reading, she’s an avid writer. Never wanting to be without pen and paper when inspiration strikes (as it so often likes to smack her in the face when she’s away from her desk) she can always be seen with a mini notebook and pen attached to her wrist. A wife and mother of two four legged pups, Natasha not only works full time, but she is also a full time college student working towards an AA and then to dual majoring in English and Multimedia Journalism.  You can follow her on FacebookTwitter, or her blog, Wannabe Wild Writer.  

The Giveaway:  The author is giving away one physical signed copy of Breaking the Devil’s Heart to one lucky winner.  Will that be you?  Only one way to find out.  Sign up using the Rafflecopter Widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Looks like a very interesting book. I'd love to read it.

  2. I agree, if I can't connect with the characters, it makes it hard to enjoy the book.