The last couple of weeks have been weird for me. But I have another book review for you! I stumbled across Necessary Evil and The Greater Good by Adam Ingle on my public library app. Between the cover and the blurb, it intrigued me enough to check it out. The book follows the unlikely duo of an angel and a demon who concoct a scheme to force The End to happen because they’re both bored and hate their respective jobs. Of course, chaos ensues.
I loved the story’s base concept. This pairing of a demon and an angel is a very stereotypical trope, but Ingle made it work. Mestoph and Leviticus have a wonderfully contentious relationship that shifts from a “clandestine affair” type feel to a genuine regard for each other as their scheming plays out. That growth feels organic and believable.
I also loved how Ingle wove in so many different religious beliefs. Given the concept for the book is a very Christian based concept, this impressed me a little. The most significant connection is to Norse paganism, though other beliefs come into play at different points in the story.
Some scenes in the book were hard for me to understand. For example, there’s a room Mestoph comes across with various crazy versions of Santas who end up going nuts and chasing him. Because that was really it for this concept, I didn’t understand what it added to the story other than a general sense of bizarreness. Given this scene happened in Hell and Ingle had other scenes that also illustrated the creepy, weird factor, it just didn’t make sense to me in context with the story.
I also was not impressed with the crassness. While I don’t mind cursing, it felt gratuitous at times. There’s a scene where an airplane crashes and Ingle goes on for like a page and a half or more about the number of dildos found in various suitcases for no real purpose. Things like this. Again, I don’t mind weird or taboo scenes on some levels. This just felt over the top and didn’t lend to the story.
Finally, I also struggled some with the ending. It came across to me as a bit jumbled and rushed. No examples because I don’t want to spoil anything. I can’t help but think if some of the extraneous bits earlier in the novel had been edited out, Ingle would have had more room to play out the ending how it deserved rather than this “jam it in quick” feeling.
I have a few mixed feelings about this book. I enjoyed the silliness and poking fun at various Christian doctrines, and I liked how Ingle created a great arc for Mestoph and Leviticus’s relationship. But I struggled with some gratuitousness that could have been edited out while losing none of what made the story fun. In the end, I gave it 2 stars. Not super awesome, not terrible, but somewhere in between.
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