I’m a regular reader of Meljean’s blog (though I rarely comment) and I’ve always loved her humor. When May posted that she’d gotten an ARC of Demon Angel, I’ll admit I whined just a little. So imagine my delight when Meljean emailed me after seeing my whine and offered me an ARC of Demon Angel. Okay, I’ll admit part of that rejoicing had to do with poking at May, but also because I was intrigued by the premise of Meljean’s book, Demon Angel, which releases January 2nd.
Here’s the blurb:
For two thousand years, Lilith wrought vengeance upon the evil and the damned, gathering souls for her father’s armies Below and proving her fealty to her Underworld liege. Bound by a bargain with the devil and forbidden to feel pleasure, she draws upon her dark powers and serpentine grace to lead men into temptation. That is, until she faces her greatest temptation—Heaven’s own Sir Hugh Castleford…
Once a knight and now a Guardian, Hugh spent centuries battling demons—and the cursed, blood-drinking nosferatu. His purpose has always been to thwart the demon Lilith, even as he battles his treacherous hunger for her. But when a deadly alliance unleashes a threat to both humans and Guardians in modern-day San Francisco, angel and demon must fight together against unholy evil—and against a desire that has been too long denied…
Who will be the first to succumb?
What worked for me: The characters. I enjoyed both Lilith and Hugh very much. Meljean spent a lot of time (centuries, in fact) helping us get to know both of them, their strengths and their flaws. It makes it easy to keep reading, to want to know what happens and more importantly, how the author writes them out of their problems. I love the worldbuilding Meljean did with Hell and Lucifer as well as the other demons and angels. It’s completely unique and I thought, fun, giving them such great characterizations and making the reader believe it’s all possible.
What didn’t quite work for me: This is a very dialogue driven book. It seemed to me that much of the book occurred through dialogue. For me, this slowed the pace some and I found it difficult to get into the book at first. Another reader who had the ARC had mentioned to me (before I started reading) that they found the beginning slow but that I should keep reading because it was worth it in the end. I think this is very true, but because of the immense story introduced, starting the book centuries ago with the meeting of the characters and bringing it forward to the present, there is a lot to read through and understand before getting to the story happening in the here and now. Additionally, there are times when the action occurs through dialogue. What I mean by this, is that you know something has happened to one of the characters, but rather than experiencing it with them, you hear it retold through dialogue. I accept that this is a necessary way to minimize word count, but I did find this to be a more dialogue heavy book than some and made it move not quite as quickly paced as a more action driven book (I would like to note, though, that not every book can be action driven, I just might have liked a better balance of dialogue, action, narrative)
Overall: This is an interesting book in that the story/paranormal elements are different than some of the current offerings (though it still does have a vampire). And this is a book that makes you think about what’s being written to understand some of the worldbuilding/mythology and how the characters are working within the constraints of that worldbuilding. As a kind of litmus test for books, I ask myself if I’d buy the sequel or wait to get it used. I’ll buy the sequel so that tells me I liked Demon Angel, despite the things that didn’t work for me. I enjoyed the characterization and look forward to more from this world.
This is actually the 2nd in the Guardian series. The first book can be found in the anthology Hot Spell. I haven’t read it and I’m normally weird about reading series in order, so I can say with all confidence that Demon Angel stands alone.
You can also enter her contest, running until December 21st, to win a copy of Demon Moon or Demon Angel.