Sunday, February 15, 2009

DEMON ANGEL (Book 2, Guardian series)
Meljean Brook

Halfling female demon and medieval-knight-turned-guardian battle each other and their attraction over the course of centuries.

Extremely 'meh' compared to the power of the storytelling and the anything-but-boring protagonists.

What Works
So much.

Apprentice Writer is not a vampire person. Consequently, it takes an extraordinary author to make her enjoy a story with vampiric elements. That author is Meljean Brook. AW first came upon her meticulously created and fascinating Guardian universe by picking up the anthology containing Book 1 (novella 'Falling for Anthony', in "Hot Spell") on a whim. It made such an impression on her that she started visiting the author's blog and began working her way through the series - due to her contrary nature, out of order. A mistake: the universe is so multi-layered, the rules of interaction between the races and their overlords so complex, that she suspects even readers who follow in order of publication need to keep all their wits about them to catch all the clues and nuances. Thankfully, for readers like AW Ms. Brook is very gracious about accomodating questions and directing the reader towards helpful discussion threads.

But what works about this specific book? The fascinating, literally kick-ass (and many other parts) heroine
Lilith, who flies, shapeshifts, uses the arts of persuasion to lure evil-doers to suicide, and whips out lethal swords in a flash. The ethically impeccable hero, tormented by his obligation to oppose Lilith's actions while tirelessly seeking to draw her back to her original human nature. The ingenuity with which they seek a way to defeat Lucifer's hold on them. The way their relationship spends centuries galvanizing via intellectual and emotional attraction alone, the physical bond following long after (but all the more intense because of it). The delicious secondary characters of demonic, human, and angelic origin introduced. And, happily unexpected in a dramatic book, two laugh-out-loud moments: one involving 'he-who-must-not-be-named', and one where a character known chiefly for his good looks, vanity and popularity with women encounters a young woman (whom he likes very much) in an unearthly realm and she is at first glad to see him, but disappointed on learning he is not gay because she thinks she might be in love with another character and wanted someone with whom to talk it over.

Basically, it's all good.

What Doesn't
Some readers may not enjoy keeping track of the multiple recurring characters, or paying careful attention to content and under what circumstances conversations take place in order to understand the bargains and counter-bargains crucial to the demonic characters. This is not a novel for someone who wants a quick, breezy, comfortably predictable read. It
demands a lot from the reader - but, in AW's opinion, rewards investment richly.

Unusual, intriguing, well-written - it is not difficult to understand how this author has developed a devoted following in a relatively short time. The last book in the Guardian series will be released before too long; AW looks forward to that as well as the launch of the authors
steampunk series with great anticipation. In the meantime, she'll catch up with the recently released 'Demon Bound'.


Thomma Lyn said...

Sounds like a great story. And I love a kick-ass heroine. The dynamics between the hero and heroine sound intriguing, too! :)

M. said...

Hi TL, you newly-contracted author, you!
Yes, the dynamics between the pair are really well-done, convincing and interesting enough to keep the reader going down through the centuries.
When will your book appear?

Ana said...

YES! to everything that you said. *says the Meljean Brook fangirl*

Julia Smith said...

Wow - this sounds like it was made for me...*sigh* Thanks for featuring it in your review!

M. said...

Hi Ana! How nice to see you pop in! I'm thinking you may be one of the lucky ones to read volume 1 in the new series 'ahead' of us plebians... *g*

M. said...

Hi Julia!
Yes, I remember that you are drawn to torturned heros and heroines. You will get your fill with this story.