Whew lads. This was one of my most potent thoughts while in the midst of reading Satan’s Affair by H. D. Carlton. I mean I expected this novella to be a wild ride, because you know, Sibby, but dang was it graphic (this is mentioned in the trigger warnings so please make sure to check them if you have any triggers).
I enjoyed this novella for the fact that it gives a deeper glimpse into Sibby’s mind and her motivations, something I very much wanted to see into from her appearances in the Cat and Mouse duet, which I did read first though this is technically the first going by proper order. Another huge draw was finally getting to see her men from her eyes, as opposed to her seemingly interacting with figments of her imagination in Haunting Adeline. It was great to actually have details to put to the men she always talks about, and I loved the relationship Sibby had with each of them, however brief the experience was with such a short book. It very much made me excited to see what more will come and be built upon in Sibby’s duet. I cannot wait to get more depth into both their relationships and the men themselves.
Seeing how Sibby interacts with her men and how she experienced them is one part that stood out to me as interesting in this book. Beyond that, I think the part I enjoyed most about Satan’s Affair was the flashbacks to Sibby’s life before she joins the travelling haunted show this novella is named after. Though it can’t have been that long before the events that take place in this book, it does show how drastically different Sibby’s life was prior to beginning her quest to rid the “demons” from the world that brought her to Satan’s Affair in the first place. It’s dark, and it’s just the kind of background that intrigues me and leaves me wanting to find out more. I really hope this is touched on more in TEOI and its sequel.
Along with these forays into Sibby’s past, the novella also follows Sibby in the present, travelling with Satan’s Affair where she hides in the walls of the haunted house seeking out rotting souls and saving those with innocent smells (usually flowers) from these demons in their lives. Hence the graphic scenes as it shows her taking care of these bad people along with her men, removing them from the world so they can’t hurt anyone ever again. And beyond that, BOY is there spice. This novella is hella spicy.
Besides the memories of Sibby’s past, I didn’t entirely feel like this novella was necessary to the story however. There’s nothing that takes place that isn’t either hinted at in her appearances in the Cat and Mouse duet, or that couldn’t just be left for Sibby’s own duet. I don’t feel like I would be missing anything going into either duet without reading this novella. As someone obsessed with everything H. D. Carlton writes, this wasn’t my favourite of hers. I just kind of wanted to get through it beyond the flashbacks. I will say the epilogue got my attention back again because it was newer territory than the last few chapters which were basically just what happened in Haunting Adeline but from Sibby’s perspective. And I feel the epilogue will lead up nicely to where the events of TEOI will pick up from.
Altogether, I think this was an interesting read, BUT not necessarily dire to the understanding of any other book currently. Who knows, maybe it will play a larger role in TEOI and then it will be more essential to Sibby’s own story, but for now it just feels like a novella more for the Sibby fans who want to know more of what goes on in her head.
For anyone wanting to get their hands on anything and everything H. D. Carlton while waiting for her next release, this might be just the thing to pass the time. I get it, I feel the need for everything she comes out with myself.