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Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite
In Hierophant by Heather Licano, Gabriella ‘Gabbi’ Hayden is a witch and a hired demon assassin. She receives a request from a priest who runs a parish in Clyde, California, claiming that they are experiencing horrible demonic incidents. A girl was tortured to death and he worries that the town is in great danger. The manner of death piques Gabriella’s interest as it reminds her of the death of her parents. As she arrives in the small town, where everybody knows everybody, she realizes that there’s more to the case, and it threatens humanity itself.
I like the premise, and the world-building is a familiar one for the genre. The story starts with Gabbi in the middle of a hunt. We see her dynamism as a hired demon assassin, or HDA, as she baits her targets into a fight that they lose. One of them states how she doesn’t realize her own ‘true form’ before his demise. It’s a great way to instill intrigue right away for readers. As the story moves on, we learn more about her gift, her family tragedy that led her to became a hunter, and that her dreams are clues to her true origin. Some parts of the narrative are more ‘tell rather than show’. That said, the plot pace overall is satisfactory.
Gabbi is not quite the stoic protagonist that I expected her to be. She has her adolescent moments. On the other hand, it gives her a quirky persona for one that hunts demons for a living. Her fellow HDAs, Jessie and Danny, add more humor and camaraderie aspects to an otherwise gory supernatural tale. All in all, it's an eccentric but enjoyable supernatural fiction from Licano.