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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Demon Angel by Meljean Brook

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...

As I said before, I've been hearing wonderful things about this book in particular and this author in general for quite some time. However, I have to be honest and tell you I probably wouldn't have bought this book if I hadn't of won the contest at The Good, The Bad and The Unread, for two reasons:

1) I thought it was a historical, and I haven't been in the mood for one of those in years. Though the first 2/3 or so of the book is set in the 12th Century, it's actually a contemporary. I didn't realize this until after I started reading it, though.

2) I haven't been in the mood for a paranormal..at all. I just haven't been interested in things that go bump in the night.

Since I'm far too lazy to write up a summary of this myself, I'm borrowing Jane's from Amazon.

Lilith is the daughter of Lucifer who has spent centuries getting men to kill themselves at her suggestion. Hugh Castleford is a knight from the 12th Century who has spent the last two years guarding his liege's wife. Hugh has a bit of a crush on the young lady but is much too honorable to ever act on it. Lilith is busy luring men at the baron's home to their death. Upon seeing the purity of Hugh's soul, Lucifer orders Lilith to obtain it.

Unfortunately, Lilith is also intrigued by Hugh's soul and is so moved by his goodness that she begs Michael, an angel, to transform Hugh to an angel. Thus begins over 800 years of battling between Hugh and Lilith. They love, lust and battle until Hugh becomes disillusioned and chooses to Fall. Before Falling, however, he believes he must perform an act of courage that he had been to weak to do and that is to kill Lilith and release her from her servitude to Lucifer.

The Good: The world building was imaginative, sensual and amazing. I was pleasantly surprised by the way Ms. Brooks drew me into her fierce battle for souls and the fight between good and evil. I was also drawn in by the two lead characters, Lilith and Hugh. Though they came from two different worlds (literally) and were on opposite sides of an eternal battle, their connection to one another came across as not just sexual, but very emotional as well, which made their constant conflict all the more believable.

I also enjoyed the secondary characters (well, most of them..I could have done without Lucifer, personally) and the relationships they had with Lilith and Hugh. Colin, the vampire they both befriended despite themselves, Sir Pup, Lilith's hellhound, Savi, Hugh's roommate and even Auntie, the woman who once took Hugh in, were fabulous characters, and while they played a large part in the overall story, they in no way intruded on the focus of the main story.

The Bad:
There were too many questions left unanswered, I think. Part of the appeal of this book is it really makes you think. Nothing is tied up in a nice, neat little bow, there are questions left unanswered and things you have to figure out on your own. Which was good and bad. I felt there were a few too many things left unexplained. However, because this is the first book of a series, I'm willing to wait for the next book before passing judgment.

The Ugly: The pacing. As much as I enjoyed this book, I had a very hard time with the pacing. It took me three days to read this book, and it's only 400+ pages (which is unheard of for me). The story was very slow moving. At times, the pace would pick up and I'd be sucked in, unable to set it down, and then it would get bogged down again and I'd have a hard time giving it my full attention. I understand that a lot of the information imparted was important for the story and the basis of the world Ms. Brook created, but at times there was Too Much Information. I think, in all honesty, the story could have been 100 pages shorter and been better for it.

Overall, I adored the storyline, the world building and the characters. I can't wait for Demon Moon. I do hope, however, that the pacing will work better than it did in this one.

I think I'm going to give this one a solid:

4 out of 5

despite my issues with the pacing. It was that good.

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Blogger Zeek said...

I'm just not sure what I think about trying this. I didn't like the one I read in the anthology- Falling for Anthony, I think it was?- Nath gave this one a good review too thought she didn't like the Anthony one as much either. So maybe I'll try it. I'm kinda thinking I have enough paranormals to keep up with now, though ...

January 18, 2007 at 7:19 AM  
Blogger Bev (BB) said...

I've been dithering over this one for months now. The first time I heard about it I got all excited because I was in the mood for something with angels and not vampires. Not cutsies angels either. Then I realized it still maybe had a vampire? Oh, well. Whatever. Then there were all the flashbacks or all that time being covered. It just kept getting worse and worse.

And to top it all off, seems everyone and their aunt is raving about this one. I hate to be the last one dragged into reading a book. It makes me especially contrary. ;p

January 18, 2007 at 8:32 AM  
Blogger Dylan aka Rowena said...

So wait..who's the Angel and who's the Demon?

I think I'll add to this list for after my 6 month challenge...it looks interesting, thanks for the review sweets!

January 18, 2007 at 11:55 AM  
Blogger Holly said...

If you're not up to investing a lot of time in a read, I'd hold off for a bit. It's good, but not quick.

I heard all the hulabaloo about this one before I read it, too, and wasn't sure. Like I said, it's a good read but it moves really, really slow in most parts. I'd recommend it.

She's the demon and he's the angel. A twist up from the norm, no?

January 18, 2007 at 12:31 PM  
Blogger Dylan aka Rowena said...

Yeah, I like that little biz...I saw this in the bookstore last night and almost got it but then I was like, "Nope, I can only buy the books on my list"

So this one will have to wait, but I am very intrigued though.

January 25, 2007 at 5:46 PM  

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