Title: Idle Hands
Author: Cassondra Windwalker
Publisher: Agora Books
Genre: Contemporary / Literary Fiction, Thriller
Published: 23rd July 2020 (ebook) and 20th August 2020 (paperback)
Idle Hands is a wickedly clever and dark story that will leave you contemplating everything you think you know about the devil.
SPOILER LEVEL: LOW | This review contains minor details about the characters and plot of this novel that can be found on the blurb.
#gifted | I was very kindly sent a copy of this book by Peyton Stableford (@TheyCallMePeyto) from @agorabooksldn in exchange for an honest review.
Before I start, I do want to add some Content Warnings to this book. I don’t usually add CWs to my reviews (it is something I need to do more research on to feel ‘qualified’ to add in), but this book deals with very sensitive topics and I felt it was necessary. I wanted to add warnings for: domestic violence, graphic violence, abuse and death.
This book grabbed my attention from the outset. As soon as I learned it was from the perspective of the devil (who calls herself Ella), I knew I had to read it. It did not disappoint.
Ella, the devil, is portrayed in a way I haven’t really seen before in literature or TV. In some ways I found her portrayal closer to that of Lucifer in the series Lucifer in that they have developed this persona of being evil over many generations, when in reality they are more like thrill-seekers. Ella is not interested in the evil of the world. She doesn’t care for creating sorrow, or tragedy. She does not reveal in chaos, or seek the demonic. She searches for the interesting, the unique, the exciting, that is found in every individual’s life. She can be found at the crossroads of a person’s life, ready to entice them, challenge them with choices, invite them to pick the road that leads to the most pleasure. It is a portrayal that I find fascinating, and was incredibly well done in this book.
This is a very dark story, and does not flinch from discussing the bleakest of topics. The novel centres around Perdie and her three children, and a decision she makes to leave her abusive husband and start over. When a tragedy occurs, Perdie is left questioning the choice she made all those years ago. She wants to take it all back. She wants to make the decision again. And when she does, Ella is there. To offer a second chance. And Perdie takes it. I was gripped from the very beginning of this book and it was difficult to put down. I was consumed by Perdie’s story and her children. I really loved all of the characters, even though you are only given glimpses of them, and those glimpses are from the perspective of Ella. Her voice is interwoven throughout the story, offering insights into their lives and examinations of fate, choice and free will, and somehow it added both to the disturbing aspects of this book, and also an element of humour and wit.
I do not want to go into any details as I think with this book, the less you know the better. However, I will say that the end will probably infuriate you. It infuriated me, but I still liked it. It was incredibly unsatisfying, but in the most satisfying way – I realise that that doesn’t really make sense. It is open-ended, it doesn’t come to neat conclusion, there’s nothing to learn from it, which is annoying, but very in keeping with the theme of the novel. Ella says it best: “I’m not the teacher. I’m the test”.
I loved this book, and I would definitely recommend if you enjoy dark fiction, interesting perspectives and gripping storylines. I will be looking out for more of Cassondra Windwalker’s work.