Title: Personal Demon
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Published: 2008, Bantam Spectra
Category: Paranormal Suspense
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.