The Diablo’s Curse by Gabe Cole Novoa
Dami is a demon determined to cancel every deal they've ever made in order to tether their soul to earth and become human again. There's just one person standing in their way: Silas. An irresistibly (and stubborn) cute boy cursed to die young, except for the deal with Dami that is keeping him alive. If they cancel the deal, Silas is dead. Unless... they can destroy the curse that has plagued Silas's family for generations. But to do so, Dami and Silas are going to have to work together. That is, if the curse doesn't kill them first. . . .
PUBLISHER: Random House Children's
LENGTH: 400 pages
AGE: Young Adult
Queer Rep Summary: Genderqueer/Nonbinary Main Character(s), Trans Main Character(s).
*I received a free review copy in exchange for an honest review of this book.
THE DIABLO'S CURSE is set chronologically after THE WICKED BARGAIN, and contains a few brief references to it early on, but it can function as a stand-alone book. While some of Dami's situation was explained in the previous book, the only thing someone would need to know from that is that El Diablo was killed there, and this is about Dami dealing with the results. This means that someone could pick up this book and have a good time without having read THE WICKED BARGAIN, but I do recommend starting with the first book, for both enjoyment and continuity. Dami is an excellent character, and I enjoyed getting their point of view after having seen them through another character in the first book. This time the perspective swaps between Dami in the present day, Silas in the present day, and some interludes from Dami's past working for El Diablo.
In the course of trying to break Silas's curse so that Dami can cancel their deal and become human, Dami and Silas travel to a magical island where the weather is too tropical for the latitude and everything is trying to kill them. They meet Marisol, who joins up with them to try and find the treasure so they can get off the island. I like the setup, and the worldbuilding is very cohesive. The rapport between the three of them is fun in the face of the dire circumstances, and the mix of antagonists is enough to be an impediment but not so much as to overshadow the deathly effects of the real killer: Silas's curse.
It has a storyline which is almost entirely self contained, save that Dami is making moves based on El Diablo being dead, something which took place in THE WICKED BARGAIN. This means that almost everything important is both introduced and resolved here, save for that. This is unlikely to be the last book, but if it is this is a satisfying enough ending that I have closure. I hope there are more, this has the possibility to be a great series of loosely or tightly interconnected books, and I'd happily read more with any mix of these characters.
Graphic/Explicit CW for murder, death.
Moderate CW for fire/fire injury, violence, gun violence.
Minor CW for sexual content, vomit, pregnancy, miscarriage, excrement.