Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Review: Devils Within

Title: Devils Within
Author: S.F. Henson
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Release Date: October 31st, 2017

Killing isn’t supposed to be easy. But it is. It’s the after that’s hard to deal with. 

Nate was eight the first time he stabbed someone; he was eleven when he earned his red laces—a prize for spilling blood for “the cause.” And he was fourteen when he murdered his father (and the leader of The Fort, a notorious white supremacist compound) in self-defense, landing in a treatment center while the state searched for his next of kin. Now, in the custody of an uncle he never knew existed, who wants nothing to do with him, Nate just wants to disappear.

Enrolled in a new school under a false name, so no one from The Fort can find him, he struggles to forge a new life, trying to learn how to navigate a world where people of different races interact without enmity. But he can’t stop awful thoughts from popping into his head, or help the way he shivers with a desire to commit violence. He wants to be different—he just doesn’t know where to start.

Then he meets Brandon, a person The Fort conditioned Nate to despise on sight. But Brandon’s also the first person to treat him like a human instead of a monster. Brandon could never understand Nate’s dark past, so Nate keeps quiet. And it works for a while. But all too soon, Nate’s worlds crash together, and he must decide between his own survival and standing for what’s right, even if it isn’t easy. Even if society will never be able to forgive him for his sins.

Like a teen American History X, S.F. Henson’s Devils Within is gut-wrenching, thought-provoking, no-holds-barred look at the plague of white supremacy in contemporary American culture that may have you examining your own soul.

I just knew this book was about Angels, and Demons but I was wrong. I was so conflicted reading this book...I found myself wanting to embrace Nate, you can't help the family or life your born into. Nate is the prime example of this, he life is not great by any means but he lives the life that so many of us have lived and or are living. Our parents teach us what they know or what they were taught, and sometimes like Nate's case it is not ideal. While reading this book, I had many debates with my roommates on if they would feel sorry for Nate...

Nate is trying to escape the neo-nazi compound "Fort" he was born and raised, along with the white supremacy teachings he was taught. Nate is able to escape this nightmare life by murdering his father (the Fort Leader). We meet Nate, in juvie, where he is battling the white supremacy teachings he was born, and raised in. While also dealing with PTSD, and having blackouts. Nate is trying to reinsert himself in the world again, even though he feels that he should just spend the rest of his life locked away. Nate is a young man with anger, and rage inside of him from what he was taught, and the things he was forced to do. Now Nate is not innocent at all he has done things that are shameful, he has hurt people but it's all he knows. Nate is now attending high school with people of all races, and ethnicities, people Nate was taught to hate. Now he's learning to talk these people, interact with them, and possibly become friends with them. 

As of now this book is DNF, I am having a really hard time reading this. I find myself sympathizing with Nate, and I do not like it at all. I was so uncomfortable reading this book, I mean it's so easy to read a twitter thread/ tumblr post about these things, hell even a blog post but an entire book...I found myself wondering should I sympathize with Nate? The answer is yes, and no. I will not fault Nate for how was raised but it is well within his responsibility to take ownership of his life, and not be ignorant any more. I was talking to my roommate saying we cannot help the family/lives we are born into but we can change our outlook/feelings/opinions. It is not Nate's fault that he was raised this way, this is a hard concept for Nate to understand. I do not like when authors tend to use Black characters as bridges or the "accepting/welcoming character". For example the first person to be nice to Nate, and become his friend is the Brandon the Black guy who shows Nate how to open his locker....Nate has issues with two different white girls at school and both rebuff him/are mean to him. Hell one even  as far as to get his school records, and tells everyone that he was in juvie...But there were no consequences for her actions. Eventually she is nice to Nate, after she sees other being nice to him...This book just wasn't for me it was very triggering with all the violence but I encourage you to read it and let me know if you liked it. I'm also not going to rate this book as stated the book was DNF for me.

Bottom line you should check this book out, and let me know if you liked.

Thank you Sky Pony Press for providing me a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

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