Fielding Bliss has never forgotten the summer of 1984: the year a heat wave scorched Breathed, Ohio. The year he became friends with the devil.
Sal seems to appear out of nowhere – a bruised and tattered thirteen-year-old boy claiming to be the devil himself answering an invitation. Fielding Bliss, the son of a local prosecutor, brings him home where he’s welcomed into the Bliss family, assuming he’s a runaway from a nearby farm town.
When word spreads that the devil has come to Breathed, not everyone is happy to welcome this self-proclaimed fallen angel. Murmurs follow him and tensions rise, along with the temperatures as an unbearable heat wave rolls into town right along with him.
As strange accidents start to occur, riled by the feverish heat, some in the town start to believe that Sal is exactly who he claims to be.
While the Bliss family wrestles with their own personal demons, a fanatic drives the town to the brink of a catastrophe that will change this sleepy Ohio backwater forever.
To be honest, the beginning did not impress me too much. However, as it progressed and things started to actually happen, OMG! And the ending devastated me. I did not see it coming.
It was actually a really dark, serious book that dealt with issues like racism, extremism, violence, homophobia etc. It alternates between the present, and the summer of 1984, when Fielding Bliss had met Sal, a mysterious boy claiming to be the Devil himself.
The protagonist, Fielding was shown to be a typical confused thirteen year old. Reading from the point of view of a boy so young was an interesting change. I liked his narration, but initially I was not too keen on Sal’s character. I started liking only as the story developed, and his story felt incredibly raw and tragic.
Besides the Blisses’ relationship with Sal,the struggles within the family were also described. Fielding’s mother’s fear of the rain, his father’s struggle with the demons of his past…..they all felt so real. I also loved the way the realationship between Fielding and his brother, Grand was written.
Ultimately, it was a book with a message, one that dealt with the harsh realities of the time, and one that would make you think.
I’m still not over the ending.
When Dresden died, I was like, eh, okay. Her story was really really tragic, but she was not that important a character, after all.
Then……Grand. I loved the relationship between Grand and Fielding, and his story was so sad…it left me with so many feels. I really liked how he was shown to be a bit of a douche in the beginning. Later it was revealed to be his way of hiding from reality and that was so realistic.
And finally, when Sal died….it shattered me. How could the author do this?
Elohim as a villain was scary as fuck.
Elohim means God in Hebrew. Sal claimed to be the devil in the beginning. Well played.