Title: Demon Angel
Author: Meljean Brook
Published: 2007, Berkley
Category: Paranormal Romance
I passed on this book back at the beginning of the year when everyone was talking about it because I’m so rarely a fan of paranormals. (I think I'd just read a particularly bad one and was still feeling the pain. LOL) Then a couple months ago, I got the chance to read Demon Moon (the next in this series, which is due out in June) and approached the book rather unenthusiastically. So I was completely blown away when I liked DM. Really liked it. And the hero is a vampire, which normally totally squicks me out. I had to get Demon Angel immediately because I knew I liked the author’s style and the hero in this one? An angel (-like person)! Sweet. I love good guys!
For all that this is a great big meaty book, the basic plot is fairly simple. Hugh is a young medieval knight, full of chivalrous intentions, who (through complicated circumstances I won’t go into here) becomes a Guardian. Guardians are men and women who are given the abilities of an angel; they can fly, they have super strength, they’re immortal, and each has a particular ability (Hugh’s is he can make people tell the truth). Their job is to combat demonic forces on earth and help mortals. But Hugh has a problem: he’s a bit in love with Lilith, who happens to be a demon. Okay, not a bit in love, he’s really in love with her. But Lilith is bound to serve a demonic lord. Obviously this leads to major star-crossed lovers issues. The majority of the plot takes place in present-day San Francisco, when both Hugh and Lilith have “fallen”--become mortal again--but are still separated by Lilith’s links to Below (hell, basically).
Did I say the plot was simple? What was I thinking? LOL.
The book is big (over 400 pages) and the world-building is complex but completely original and really interesting. The word I’ve come up with that I think best describes the writing is vivid. I got these very real images of the world and the characters. And those characters are great—-Lilith is a larger-than-life, powerful woman whose vulnerabilities are made all the more endearing by her (vast) age and experience. And Hugh. *sigh* He is one of my beloved good guys, but he never crossed the line into goody-goody--though Lilith actually teases him about his martyr complex.
Did everyone see the brain icon? Yes, a romance book that gets a brain! DON’T BE SCARED OFF BY THIS! I don’t mean that it’s hard to read, because it’s not. But throughout the book, these little hints and clues are dropped, and you really have to be on your toes to follow everything. Maybe it’s a sad commentary on my reading habits that I often finish a book and feel like I got every little bit out of it that there was to be gotten. With this one I feel like I could read it many more times and catch nuances, character traits, jokes that I missed completely the first time. I finished and kind of munched on it in my brain for quite a while. ;)
I will say that my brain power was not quite up to the ending. SPOILER: At the end, when Hugh’s all ready to sacrifice himself, and Lilith decides, Nuh-uh, I can fix this! I was thinking, ROCK ON, LILITH, KICK SOME ASS!! And then she went off and did . . . something. Fingers . . . warring demon lords . . . bargains . . . wagers . . . Whoa nelly! Huh? I had to go back and read the last couple chapters several times before I really felt like I understood what was going on. So I was little disappointed, because the climax of the novel could have been so much more powerful had it been clearer.
I know that some people complained about the pacing of this book--that it dragged in places. I can see their point and I think that this was done much better in Demon Moon. But these flaws are little in comparison to how much I enjoyed the book.
So I’m looking forward to Demon Night, the third in the series. The hero is another Guardian (woo hoo!), Drifter.