I can't believe it is the end of the month already, and with this in mind it must also be time for me to announce what for me was my favourite of the books whose official publication date fell in July. This was a really difficult choice to make this month as my shortlist consisted of three very strong contenders, and funnily enough all of them could be classified as horror. The books that made the cut to the final shortlist were Witch Breed by Alan Gibbons, the fourth book in his Devil's Underground series; Dark Goddess by Sarwat Chadda, the sequel to his debut novel Devil's Kiss; and last but by no means least, David Gatward's excellent debut horror book The Dead. On any other month every one of these would have destroyed the competition, so it is unfortunate that they were all released within days of each other. However, a decision has to be made as I promised myself earlier in the year that I would never cheat and name more than one, and so after much agonising I have decided that my Book of the Month for July is Sarwat Chadda's Dark Goddess.
There is little more I can say about this book that hasn't already been written. Since is was released it has garnered a number of outstanding reviews from professional critics and book bloggers alike. For me, I think Sarwat's greatest strengths lie in the development of his main character Billi SanGreal, but also in the quality (and use) of his research material. Sarwat Chadda has a great imagination and is able to take snippets of folk tales and give them a twist to create his own mythology. I really liked Devil's Kiss but it did have its weaknesses; it is astounding how Mr Chadda's writing has matured in short a short space of time so that none of these weaknesses are present in Dark Goddess. If you're a boy who despairs at the way your sister or female school friends wax lyrical about Twilight then give Dark Goddess a chance - it is the perfect remedy!