The Devil’s Backbone is the fifth book in the Wild Beasts Series by T. Birmingham. It is a fantastic paranormal romance with lots of action, danger, drama, emotion, mystery, suspense, shifters, Gods, magic, second chances, and self-discovery. As I have said before through this superb series, I love the way Ms. Birmingham builds the tension and adds a mysteriousness, and suspense to her books. And as I have come to expect from her, she had me on the edge of my seat, anxiously reading to discover where the story would lead.
This book could be read as a standalone, but I don’t recommend it. If you haven’t read the other books, I strongly suggest that you do- because there’s so much back story, character introductions, and other relevant information contained in those books- and having all that information on board will greatly enhance your overall reading experience of not only this book, but the series as a whole.
As with the other books in this series, this has a complex, multi-layered storyline- which Ms. Birmingham has masterfully woven into a quite an engrossing read.
This story focuses on Tess Thompson and Benjamin Oliver- although characters we’ve met in previous book/s also make appearances. I really enjoyed following along on their ‘adventure’- finding out all about them, and what got them to this point. I really felt for Tess and what she’d been through. All that pain and suffering at the hands of the people who were meant to love and protect her. But even after everything she’d been through, and taking her unique genetic traits into account, she didn’t like to see people suffer, and was still kind and caring. But, she’d kind of shut down, wasn’t ‘really’ living- just making the motions really- never revealing her true self, or letting others get too ‘close’. She had a few friends- James (The Lodge leader), Devon (her former student), Annie (an Other), and Ben (a previous resident and trainer at The Lodge)- but even with them she never gave herself completely. This story allows us to see her struggles, what she had endured, and the self-realization and discovery she goes through. She’s a really special character, and was really easy to get emotionally invested in. Add Ben to the mix and I was hooked. I was rooting for them the whole way through. And that ending! I hope that was setting us up for the next book!!
The world-building, legend, and lore was incredibly well done, superbly developed- and entirely believable. The characters are extremely interesting, endearing, and fully developed. There were a lot of emotional factors to this story- moments of extreme heartbreak, as well as other moments that were truly heartfelt, tender, and touching.
My favourite of the series so far. I can’t wait for “Devil May Care” (Book #6).
Thank you, Ms. Birmingham!
Reviewed by @angelahayes