Publisher: Foreword Literary
The year is 64 A.D. -- though now A.D. stands for Anno Daemonii.
Demons have crossed a gate into our world, taking the reins of power
from humanity. A new Inquisition has begun, determined to root out any
who stand against the new world order. The holy sites on earth have
been destroyed -- Jerasulem first, then the Vatican, then Mecca -- and
what resistance remains is ruthlessly crushed. Amaranth is a fighter
in the resistance cell based in London. Dham is a Ringer, one of the
few people left able to ring the remaining sets of blessed hand bells
that have power over demons. When Amaranth discovers that her best
friend has been possessed by a demon and is going to be used in the
Resistance's final, desperate mission, she asks Dham for his help in
saving her friend. With the Inquisition closing in and betrayal
threatening from inside the Resistance itself, Amaranth, Dham, and the
demon -- along with Catriona, a new, highly-skilled, highly-blonde
bell-ringer -- decide to head to Rome and the ruins of Vatican City,
hoping to find a way to stem the tide of demonic possessions and close
The Iron Bells is the first in a New Adult trilogy.
I found this little gem on NetGalley during what I'm now referring to as my Desperate Period. It was during that time that I ended up finding You Are Mine and a few others that were shockingly good, despite ugly covers or misleading blurbs.
I'm not saying this has an ugly cover, but nothing about it screams, Read Me! I'm An Awesome Book!
At least, it didn't to me.
Desperate Period thought process:
Red-eyed chick with sword...64 AD...skim, skim...Jerusalem...skim, skim...Vatican...skim, skim...blessed bells...skim, skim...Inquisition...skim, skim...demon...skim, skim,...Amaranth...skim, skim...Rome...New Adult trilogy....
Some kind of medieval demon thing? Probably gonna suck. Damn. I've got nothing else to read. Grrrr.
Now I realize that this is not the way normal people choose books.
Lucky for me, I wasn't functioning like a normal reader. Otherwise, I never would have bumbled my way to this damn fine read.
In this post-apocalyptic setting demons rule the earth. Year ago, a magic user conjured up a demon...and totally screwed the pooch. Guess he didn't really know what he was doing, and it opened up the gate to wherever. This allowed demons to come and go as they please. So did they all fly out of the gate and start eating people, you ask?
They started quietly possessing world leaders, and then destroying religious sites and relics on the down low. By the time people realized what was happening, the demons were firmly in charge. And anyone who tried to speak up was taken by the Inquisitors and killed.
At this point in time, everyone just goes about their business and tries to pretend that things are normal. Except they're not.
Amaranth is an underground resistance fighter in London. Her mother was lost to the demons when she was a child, and she was taken in and raised by the resistance's leader. She only has one friend leftover from her childhood, so when she gets a heartbreaking call from his mother saying he has disappeared, she feels obligated to do everything she can to find him.
In the meantime, part of her job for the resistance includes delivering a package to safety. Turns out this package is a cute bell-ringer named Dham. They form a tentative friendship, but before anything else can develop she finds out a shocking secret about her missing friend. And the deeper she digs into her friend's disappearance, the less she is sure she can trust anyone with what she's found.
In fact, the only person she can turn to for help is a demon that she finds in the resistance's underground cells. He's a prisoner that Amaranth's mentor is planning to use to close the gate. Great plan...except for one thing. The body he's possessed will die when he opens the gate and leaves. And guess who's body he's wearing?
There are lots of other layers to this story, including hints that maybe the demons aren't really demons in the way that the humans think. The plot just kept getting thicker the more I read, and I honestly couldn't put it down.
I also loved that Amaranth ended up saddled with a snarky demon sidekick. It was definitely one of those I-Hate-You-But-I-Need-You relationships, but it looked to me like the beginning of a beautiful friendship!
This book was a totally fun ride, and I'm so glad I accidentally stumbled onto it.