Disclaimer! I got this book from NetGalley in return for a fair and objective review.
Andromeda “Meda” Melange isn’t a very nice person. Frankly, she eats people, well, their souls anyway. She tries to limit herself to the souls of bad people, usually killers whose victims’ ghosts have a tendency to show up and pester Meda until she does something to avenge them. Meda has always believed herself to be unique and invincible (she’s faster and stronger than mere humans, and her skin has a metallic quality to it – plus there’s the ability to see ghosts and eat souls), so she has a very rude awakening when she’s faced with three sinister black-clad dudes, who are not only like her, they’re faster and stronger and want her dead. Lucky for Meda, a handsome young man shows up to dispatch them before they succeed.
Chi is a Crusader in training, called from birth to hunt and destroy demons. Meda pretty quickly figures out that the black-suited men were full demons, while she appears to be a halfling. Pretending to be a weak and confused victim, Meda latches on to Chi as a source of useful information about her true nature, and more importantly, how she can protect herself against demons and crusaders alike. As well as hunting demons, crusaders protect especially important humans, known as Beacons, and because Chi is wonderfully naive and trusting, he assumes Meda must be a Beacon – why else would those demons have been trying to kill her? His friend Jo, who followed him to the asylum where he meets Meda, is a lot more sceptical (with good reason) and doesn’t think bringing Meda with them to the crusader headquarters is a good plan. She eventually reluctantly agrees, and they decide to pass Meda off as Jo’s estranged cousin, who committed the massive betrayal of turning away from the crusader mission and as such has been shunned for years. No one really remember much about her, except that she was a bad girl. Meda trying to pretend to be a sweet, innocent girl trying to be bad is hilarious.
As Meda gets to know Chi and Jo better, while refusing to admit to herself that she actually enjoys having something resembling friends for the first time ever, she also discovers just how much kept from her. She needs to learn quickly, as now that the demons know who she is, they’re not going to stop until they’ve tracked her down. She may pretend that she doesn’t care what happens to the stupidly heroic Chi, the snarky and hostile Jo or the hero-worshipping kid Uriel, but she’s not going to allow them to risk their lives when her demon relatives come knocking.
Whether you like this book or not, is probably strongly dependent on how you feel about the protagonist, Miss Meda herself. If you find her annoying and insufferable, the book is not going to work for you, as she has a very strong and sarcastic narrative voice. I thought she was fun as the hell that clearly spawned her, not that it stopped me from cheering a bit when she was taken down a peg and learned that she wasn’t as special a soul-eating snowflake as she believed herself to be.