Review: “The 53rd Card,” Virginia Weiss

Pros: Unusual and fascinating
Cons: A bit… odd
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

In The 53rd Card: A Dark Tale about Finding Light, by Virginia Weiss, Emma accidentally summons the Devil to her home. She doesn’t make a bargain with him, but she does end up allowing him to take a precious keepsake–an exchange that gives her a taste of power and that opens a permanent doorway between her and the supernatural. The Devil didn’t have to show up himself in answer to her summons–in fact, normally he wouldn’t–meaning Emma has caught his interest. Not the best situation to be in, for sure!

Just so you know, there’s rape and attempted rape within these pages, so if that’s a topic you’d rather avoid, skip this book. Emma has lost each member of her family in turn. Her godfather tried to rape her. Her boyfriend Henry wants “space.” Her job has resulted in her being associated with some truly vile people, making her life difficult in a number of ways. In short, she’s had some very dark times. This makes the Devil’s deal unusually tempting, but she’s determined to do something good with it. Is that even possible, though?

Things get strange. Emma meets a street punk who seems to take an interest in her. The Devil wants… something. She finds a bookstore with grimoires and lectures on sex magic. She goes to a party in Hell. She meets the goddess of Mercy, Kuan Yin, and plays cards with deities. There’s little action and the tale is a bit didactic, with the pondering of unanswerable questions. It’s interesting, but I think you have to be in the right mood for it.

NOTE: Book provided free by publisher for review

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