Book Review: Swallow You Whole (Swallow You Whole Book 1) by Jasper Black

When demons Henry and James both accidentally claim the same soul, an auditor shows up to determine which one of them has the rightful claim and which will be chained up in Hell. Henry, desperate to avoid that punishment, comes up with a scheme that involves the three of them to work together, along with two humans, in order to get more souls to feed on than ever before. Unfortunately for them, Satan suspects foul play and won't stop until he's figured out what they're up to.

Book Review: Swallow You Whole (Swallow You Whole Book 1) by Jasper Black | reading, books. book reviews, fantasy, urban fantasy, demons
Title: Swallow You Whole
Book Number: Book 1 of TBA
Pages: 205
My Rating: 4 Stars
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon, Publisher


*I received a copy of this book from the publisher. This has not influenced my review.*

This was such an oddly fun book! It was gory and disturbing but also funny in an absurd, irreverent, “I probably shouldn’t be laughing at this” kinda way.

The thing about this book is, it didn’t take itself too seriously. It wasn’t completely ridiculous either though—it just skirted that line between realism and absurdity and did it in a way that worked. So while I cannot say everything in this book was completely realistic, I can say that I didn’t mind because it made me laugh, it made me cringe, and sometimes it made me do both at once.

“Right,” he said. “They gave me a name. I guess they didn’t think I was smart enough to come up with one on my own.” He plunged his hands into his pockets, pulling out an assortment of folded papers, crinkled and stained, as well as an assortment of other objects including a pen, a rubber band, and a lint covered hard candy in the shape of a flower.

“You are the demon I summoned?” Elliot glanced over his shoulder out the window once more, as if there had been some sort of mistake. “I thought you would be less…”



But, while the book did have its comical (and sometimes downright weird and awkward) moments, it also had it’s darker and more somber ones. The book is classified as horror on Amazon, but it wasn’t scary, just gruesome. And there were demons, but they were living out in the world. So I would also classify it as urban/paranormal for those reasons.

Speaking of the demons, one thing I liked about them was that they weren’t too human. They may have been playing human for a while, but they weren’t brooding over their sins and secretly hiding hearts of gold. Nope, they were still demons on the inside who wanted nothing more than the simple pleasure of eating some juicy, bitter souls. But that was also what made it so interesting seeing Henry kinda maybe having feelings and not being sure how to decipher them. *SPOILER ALERT* Then he went and killed his wife, tried to kill two of his children, and forgot that his other two children even existed, so, you know, demon feelings only go so far, apparently. *END SPOILER ALERT*

Henry and James themselves were entertaining characters. (It’s kind of hard to tell from the blurb, but they were the protags.) I feel like I didn’t get to know them that well, but I got to know enough that I want to keep reading about them. At first I didn’t like Henry, but his mischievousness grew on me.

The only real issue I had with the book was that the POV was omniscient but felt more like head hopping and confused me in some scenes. This wasn’t the type of book that had tons of emotion or that required me to get deep in the character’s POVs in order to enjoy it though, so it wasn’t that big of a problem.

One other thing, I’m not clear on how the soul taking/sorting thing works. See, the soul exists as little jelly-like balls inside the chest cavity, and I understand why the author made this choice (I imagine he wanted something visible and tangible in order to add to the gore and gluttony when the demons eat it), but there was all this talk about quotas for Heaven and Hell (they’re like corporations), so I don’t understand how or when that soul gets up to Heaven or down to Hell if it’s not eaten by a demon and how humans haven’t discovered souls yet. I’d just like to know more about that and Heaven and Hell in general since I love seeing how they’re portrayed by different authors.

So overall, even though this book was somewhat slow-paced, I got hooked once I started reading, I enjoyed the gory yet quirky nature of it, and I’d love to see what Henry and James get up to next!


Book Tags:

Basic Info

Book Author:
Genre: , ,
My Rating:

More Info (Possible Spoilers)

Non-Human Type:
Extra Love: ,


Talk to me!

Have you read Swallow You Whole by Jasper Black?
Have you ever read anything that was both gory and funny? Or any other sort of unique combination?


Your Thoughts


30 thoughts on “Book Review: Swallow You Whole (Swallow You Whole Book 1) by Jasper Black

I'd love if you'd share your thoughts, too!


Reading your comments makes me a very happy blogger!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Di @ Book Reviews by Di

    I love this cover!!!

    I saw the first few lines of the synopsis and I was completely curious. I’m so glad that you say that it wasn’t too serious and that it managed to make you laugh and yet it managed to be gory at the same time (not sure how that works! But I’m interested!).

    It sounds completely original which is a huge plus and while I won’t be making huge changes to my TBR I will keep my eyes open for this one. 🙂

    1. Kristen Burns

      I love the cover too!!! It’s always interesting when a book can pull off being both gory and funny.

      I completely understand, I know how TBRs are lol, but maybe you’ll get to it one day 🙂

  2. Bookworm Brandee

    I could tell from your intro this book was fun. It certainly seems quirky as well. It’s interesting that you enjoyed it so well when you didn’t get to know the protags all that well. But the world building sounds pretty well done. And I have to admit that I’m very intrigued. I like that the demons were demon-like more than human-like and that you still got wrapped up in them. 🙂 Ah, another book for your shelf, Kristen.
    Happy Friday!

    1. Kristen Burns

      It is rather quirky! I guess it was one of those books that I enjoyed more because of the story and how the characters’ actions were entertaining rather than because of emotional connections. But maybe I’ll get to know them more in the second book. It was funny seeing the demons actually act like demons though since they were never human to begin with, you know? Thanks!

  3. Dragonfly

    I’ve noticed irreverent books make me very happy ? and it’s GORY too so that would make me VERY happy ? AND there are DEMONS in this one that are real demons so a high level of happiness seems guaranteed. ?? But then… omniscient head hopping is a no no ? so happiness level dangerously descending now with the whole bureaucratic confusing soul sorting thingy threatening a disastrous crashing

  4. Alex @ readstolive

    I really love the art of the cover, even if I’m not a big fan of the font. This sounds pretty cool! Gory and funny isn’t something I think I’ve come across before, honestly.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I completely agree about the cover! I’m not crazy about the font, but I love the art. But then, that’s how I feel about a lot of covers lol. It was a fun book to read though!

  5. Wattle

    *snort* auditors being in hell seems somewhat fitting (*ahem* sorry, we always seem to have auditors around at work). This sounds so amusing, I like demons (uh…fictional ones), this is definitely going on my TBR. Thank you for sharing 🙂

    1. Kristen Burns

      Lol about the auditors. And also lol about your statement of liking demons 😛 I also like fictional demons though (definitely important to make that clarification!). Hope you enjoy it!

  6. Gabby

    I’ve never heard of this series, but anything described as “gory yet quirky” sounds promising! It sounds sort of similar to the Georgina Kincaid series by Richelle Mead. Her most famous series is the Vampire Academy, but she also wrote a series about a succubus, working for Hell, and it’s also set up like a big corporation with too much paperwork and regulation.

  7. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    Sounds like an interesting, if slightly weird read. I mean, I like the idea of demons that aren’t sugarcoated and made to seem nice which is the very opposite of what they are. I know we all like a bad guy turned good but it’s a bit iffy when it comes to demons. I think I probably would have been confused with the POV, but then if written well any POV can work so maybe not. I’m glad you enjoyed it anyway.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Interesting and slightly weird pretty much sums it up 😉 But yes, I agree. I feel like vampires, for example, can act human and it’s believable since they *were* human. But demons weren’t ever human, so they’re different. Thanks!

  8. Lola

    That does sound like an original way to describe a book “gory and disturbing but also funny”. It sounds kinda neat how it doesn’t take itself too serious, but also doesn’t go too far?

    I am not a fan of gruesome though, so i am pretty sure I wouldn’t enjoy that part. The demons so sound well done with how they aren’t human, but still fully demon even though one of them has some emotions. That whole souls sorting thing sounds like it could’ve been expanded on a bit. Glad you enjoyed this one :).

    Also I am always impressed when I look at your list of upcoming reviews, you have to be months ahead with reviews only.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Lol it’s definitely a unique combination. But no, I don’t think it’d be for you with the gruesomeness. I did like the demons though. As I was saying to Becky, demons weren’t ever human, so really they shouldn’t be *too* human, you know? But yes I would like some clarification on the soul sorting. Thanks!

      I’ve reached a point where I have, like *too many* reviews ready lol. I feel like I’m never going to get them all published. But some of those are mini reviews which are three to a post, so I’ve been meaning to just get some of those posted so that my sidebar won’t look so crazy, haha.

  9. Lori

    This sounds super unique! Comical, gory, and quirky are descriptions you don’t hear together too often. Great review!

    Thanks for linking up on Saturday Situation.

  10. Danya @ Fine Print

    I love a good book that doesn’t take itself too seriously, so add in some irreverent humour and I’m definitely intrigued. And that cover! So gorgeous. Usually I prefer a first-person narrative in my genre fiction (is that weirdly picky??) and it sounds like the omniscient narration was a bit of a stretch, but maybe I’ll check this one out anyway!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I usually prefer more realistic books, but I can make an exception for certain kinds of humor. And I love the cover too! Nah, you can like whatever POV you want lol. I actually prefer 3rd person limited, but I still read whatever POV.