She Who Destroys: Jennifer Soucy
Reviewed By Ben Walker
In Jennifer Soucy’s sequel to The Night She Fell we meet back up with Coralena, no longer out for revenge after the tragic events of the first book, now more affected by trauma as she tries to live her life without the need for so much magic. This proves impossible as old enemies aim to make a comeback, forcing her to make amends with someone from her past who’d she’d rather have kept there.
As with the previous book, the best way I can describe this is paranormal romance with the odd touch of horror, only the romance side sometimes takes a back seat thanks to the complex relationship Coralena has with her past partner, the man she has to cosy up to again to get close to the family who’s threatening hers (again). This means there’s a lot of self-doubt, as well as that aforementioned trauma for our hero to deal with.
Admittedly, I could have done with re-reading the first book before I dove into this one, as coming in somewhat cold I found myself struggling with the constant reminders of what Coralena had been through. That said, if you happen to dip into this one without picking up the previous book, then these reminders serve as a useful way to get into the main character’s head enough to appreciate what happens throughout. And in fairness, Coralena would absolutely find it hard to forget the preceding events, where she was put through the emotional and physical ringers quite harshly.
It was slow going at first, in other words, but once things pick up they rarely lull. With all those issues bubbling away in the background, and in our MC’s mind, Coralena often finds herself tempted back towards the path of magic –and towards her old lover –which causes plenty of conflict and drama as the plot progresses. I mean, there’s something of a clue right there in the book’s title about what might happen, but this isn’t a tale of someone becoming destructive for no good reason, it’s about fighting to protect those you love, and the lengths you’d go to. On the flip side, the bad guys also think what they’re doing is right, working from a position of privilege which is at odds with Coralena’s more humble roots. Despite sometimes coming across as the epitome of that “rich evil family” trope, they’re not one-dimensional Satanist robe-wearing maniacs (though robes are worn, and demons are conjured).
There are many powerful scenes where the characters –Soucy’s strongest point –get to bicker and bluster at each other, and not only can you feel the evil emanating from the Satanist side, but the anger and determination Coralena has to beat them down crackles with intensity. And there are loads of other moments which will squeeze your heartstrings tight along the way, right through to the end, thanks to some well-drawn side characters and sudden shocks.
Fans of Soucy will be glad to know that plenty of familiar elements come into play, from the mouth-watering details put into any cookery descriptions, to the keen ear for a good soundtrack (Ed Sheeran notwithstanding –sorry! Not my taste!), and the sensuous love scenes. I think I always say the same thing about Soucy’s work, but the human element is always very well realised, so no matter how fantastical things get with evil demons leering at people or nightmarish snapshots of imagined terrors, everything always comes back to how grounded and real the cast comes across as.
Overall, this is another solid read, with all the witchcraft and wonder you might expect, as well as heartbreak and horror, Well worth checking out (but do go and read The Night She Fell first!).
She Who Destroys
The sequel to THE NIGHT SHE FELL is here, a continuation of the saga about witchcraft, love, loss, and the consequences of revenge.
Nearly a year after the night she fell for a monster’s son, Coralena is emerging from a profound depression. She and her mother have fled Greenwich, abandoning everything they cherished most—friends, family, and their beloved restaurant, Cornucopia. As their lives finally settle into a new normal, the man she left behind sends a disturbing message.
Hayden begs for Cori’s help, warning that Lupus Filios has a new High Priestess—his sister, Bronte—and they’re eager to resume their dark plans. He also claims Bronte’s grown as demented as their father, Alastor—a man who’d sold his soul in exchange for earthly power.
When the cult makes their move, Cori and her mama are forced to retaliate. Cori joins Hayden to battle their mutual enemies, but she must also guard her battered heart against his many charms or risk being broken again.
As another Halloween ritual approaches, can Cori and her allies finally defeat the twisted cult, or will they be strapped to the sacrificial altar once more? Only Hekate knows for sure…
Ben got a taste for terror after sneaking downstairs to watch The Thing from behind the sofa at age 9. He’s a big fan of extreme & bizarre horror and well as more psychological frights, and most things in between. When he’s not reading, he’s writing, and when he’s not writing he’s on Twitter @BensNotWriting or reviewing books on his YouTube channel, BLURB.