Top critical review
A Solid Work Of Horror Fantasy
February 8, 2018
Devil's Row: A Novel of Werewolf Revenge is a solid enough work of fantasy horror, but one that I struggled to form a deep connection with.
Acting as a prequel to Feral, Matt Serafini takes readers way back to 1700s Constanta and the shores of the Black Sea. In the book's opening moments, a group of Vatican-sanctioned hunters slaughter a pack of werewolves and gravely wound Elizabeth. Presuming her dead, they attempt to make their way back to Constanta. Elizabeth, though, is far from dead, even if the werewolf inside her has been cowed by the injuries inflicted upon her. With her pack dead and her lover slaughtered, Elizabeth follows the hunters' scents, tracking them through the forests and hellbent on revenge.
Serafini certainly doesn't shy away from the violence, and Devil's Row is quite an action-packed affair as the various characters sift through one bloody encounter to the next. I never felt entirely connected to the characters, and there wasn't a lot of room for development in any of the cast between the harshness of the world they inhabit. Despite the plentiful number of encounters between the hunters and their various supernatural foes, the pacing of Devil's Row is rather deliberate, rather than full-on frenetic. I would have preferred a more pacey read, but the slower nature is fitting given the fantasy elements and period setting, which often demand a more leisurely turn of the pages.
Although I enjoyed Devil's Row well enough, it wasn't exactly the perfect match to my tastes I had been hoping for. That said, I'm certainly intrigued enough by the world Serafini has crafted here, and enjoyed his writing quite a bit, that I'll definitely give Feral a read. This particular book makes for a fine starting point to Serafini's werewolf series, but I suspect the modern day setting of Feral will be more suited to my sensibilities.