Friday, April 18, 2008

Personal Demon, Kelley Armstrong

Title: Personal Demon
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Published: 2008, Bantam Spectra
Category: Paranormal Suspense
Rating: 7.5/10

New Kelley Armstrong! Yay. She's still an autobuy for me, even though she made the jump to hardcover.

This is the 8th in her Otherworld series, which is a set of books narrated alternately by characters with different paranormal powers. This one is told from the POV of Hope Adams, a half-demon who can sense chaos, and Lucas Cortez, a sorcerer. We start off with Hope getting a request from Benicio Cortez, the head of the Cortez cabal (think supernatural mob, sort of), to go undercover and join a gang of supernaturals who appear to be gearing up for some sort of attack on the cabal. Hope owes Benicio a favor, so she doesn't have much choice. Plus, she knows that it will help satisfy her secret need for chaos, which is sort of like a drug to her--she knows it's not really good for her, but she can't help herself. At first, the gang appears pretty harmless, until they start getting murdered one by one. Lucas arrives on the scene to help figure out exactly what's going on.

This book seems to be getting less enthusiastic reviews than some of Armstrong's others, and I agree that she hit a real high on her last one (No Humans Involved) that's hard to match, but I really enjoyed this book. I think Hope's fascinating -- she's a very conflicted person, from her struggle to keep her powers under control to her tumultuous relationship with werewolf jewel-thief Karl Marsten. It made her a refreshingly complex heroine. She's also my complete opposite -- I am risk-averse in the extreme, so it was great to find a character who was so different from myself who I still was able to relate to. Really, that must be a sign of a good author.

I'm thinking romance readers might be a bit less enthusiastic about this one, though I thought Hope and Karl's story was great. That scene were Karl explains why he dumped Hope? Adorable. Even if he was kind of an ass. But see? Interesting and realistic characters. :)

This is the first book in the series where the story has alternated between two narrators. And I didn't feel like it worked all that well. I love Lucas to death (he's one of my favorite characters of the whole series), but the sections narrated by him seemed to chop up the story a bit unnaturally. To me, it felt very much like Hope's book--she's the new character we're learning about, and I found it jarring to be jumping into Lucas's head, especially since Hope and Lucas didn't even know each other very well. But then, as I say, I love Lucas, so it didn't bother me overmuch.

The next installment of the series, Living with the Dead, is due out in November. Yippee.


nath said...

Hi Jennie!!

I was waiting to see what you thought of the book :) Personally, I enjoyed the romance. I love Karl and Hope!! and I've been waiting to see them get together :P By the way, you konw when Karl was saying how he felt like it was time to mate... do you think Jeremy felt the same thing? That's why he finally went after Jaime?

What didn't work for me was the rest of the story, the intrigue. I wasn't really interested in that part.

li said...

It was the solution to the mystery that had me rolling my eyes. I did like Hope as a narrator - am looking forward to the next book!

Jennie said...

Hi Nath--Yeah, the whole werewolf compulsion to mate is something that I actually thought was a little confusing in the world-building. Because historically it was supposed to be wrong for the men to have long-term relationships, but to make the romance work, all our werewolf heroes are having to mate for life. First Clay, then Jeremy, now Karl. Seems a little contradictory. Not that I'd have it any other way--because I like happy endings. :)

Li--The mystery was maybe a little convoluted. Though I liked it pretty well--it surprised me anyway. :)

Liz said...

Just to comment on a number of your posts, all in one. First of all -- I think I have that exact same Singer machine! It was my grandmother's and then my mom's. She's 81 now; I'm in my early 50s. I don't sew nearly as much as I used to, but I'll still use that one, over my newer one, upon occasion. It is a great machine.

On to books -- you're an eclectic reader, I see, as I am myself. I recently finished "The Osgood Trilogy" by Mary Martin. It's a literary take on legal suspense, with some psychological horror thrown in, too. There are three books, all featured the flawed, yet eminently human, lawyer, Harry Jenkins. All three have fast-paced and really satisfying intricately designed plots. After you're done you'll find yourself admiring the care and skill with which the plots were constructed. The characters in all three (most are different) are unforgettable and you'll really enjoy Harry, who tries hard to always do the right thing.

nath said...

Well if I'm not wrong, I read somewhere that wolf mates for life? I don't know if it's real wolf (sounds a bit impossible) or it was just in the book... but then, when you think about it... Clay is different than all the others, as he has a werewolf as a mate. Jeremy and Jaime, their relationship is stable, but they're not constantly together... and that urge to mate, you could see it in Clay... I guess the closer you are to your wolf, the bigger the urge? Perhaps it's more about karl not having someone regularly? LOL :P does that make sense?