The Devil Dances (Nick Engelbrecht #2) by K. H. Koehler

The Devil Dances - K. H. Koehler
Nick’s tumultuous relationship with Vivian continues, much to Morgana’s disapproval – and seems to be getting serious. Especially after a mysterious, magical death in Nick’s arms leads him to investigate and gives Vivian the chance to have an almost-honeymoon for them.
But Nick doesn’t have much time for relaxing or partying when he follows the investigation – finding a vulnerable Amish community suffering a truly horrific predation at the hands of a terrible and powerful force. So desperate are they that they’re willing to accept help from him, Nick Englebert, Lucifer’s son and the next Lucifer.
As he investigates and battles the darkness, his own power flows; his father making frequent appearances to urge him towards ascension and one day stepping into his shoes.
I said before that this series is original and that is really well continued into this book. The nature of demons, the retiring Lucifer, exactly who and what Nick is coupled with the old gods, angel eaters, angry angels and an empty Throne all combine to create a really fascinating world with multiple angles and agendas. The idea of humans that ascend to become demons, Lucifer poking his son to do just that, is an excellently maintained one – especially with the very nature of Nick being developed so much more: what it means when people stick holy symbols in their faces and start chanting exorcisms, or their magic improving if people worshipping them – or Nick performing exorcisms simply by demanding demons leave because he’s the boss.
I love the idea of Angels being more than a little lost and aggressive with an empty throne – and I love that there’s been some real research into the nature of angels and not just presented as people with wings (which, if you read the original sources, is pretty divorced from the weird, wonderful and outright alien descriptions of many angels).
The angel eaters – those who eat angelic flesh and seek ascension to the empty throne are also a really good concept. I am torn as to whether they were necessary in this book, we had them in the last book and it was almost a distraction – but I think they maintain the ongoing meta as well as underscoring that just because there’s one thing going on in the world doesn’t mean there aren’t other things going on as well. I like the idea that the world doesn’t neatly line up one problem at a time or that everything else stops while you juggle something else.


I keep rambling on about the world – in fact if this review is disjointed it’s because every time I start writing I leap back up to the world building part to add another element that really appealed to me. But the story is really strong as well- we have Lucifer constantly poking his head in to try and get Nick to follow in his footsteps while Nick is moved to help an Amish community bedevilled by, well, deviltry, out of sheer compassion (I like that the demon is moved by compassion). Of course, when examining that evil we have twist after twist after twist, we have big guns that don’t work as well as expected, cocky demons learning that they’re not all that and the last people we expected turning out to be the big bad, interwoven with Nick’s complicated relationship with Vivian and the other people he invites to his bed.

It’s well written – with a much tighter and more succinct writing style than the first book. The ultra-dark film noir theme has gone, which means it doesn’t clash with Nick’s character any more – his personality now meshes with the books style rather than breaking it. We have a much better marriage of fun and darkness in the book and the story flows faster and easier because of it.