Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Meljean Brook 'Demon Angel'

My apologies to Stewart, avid reader of this blog, but once again I'm reaching back for a book from an author whose name I see everywhere in very glowing terms. Despite the ridiculous cover and really, not very inventive title, I now get the addiction to Ms. Brook. Her world building is extensive, consistent, and interesting. She has taken the 'show me, don't tell me' creative writing directive to heart, to the extent that occasionally the only way to figure out what's really happening is by being patient. This led me to have a little difficulty getting into the book at the beginning. But for the patient, it's well worth it.

Hugh is so good he gets recruited as a guardian (quasi-angel) after his death. Lilith is a quasi-demon who tries to keep a low profile luring murderers to commit suicide so they will swell the ranks of Lucifer's Dominion. They spend 800 years trying to ignore their attraction while Hugh tries to figure out how to save her from Hell. Finally he breaks under the pressure of watching humans misuse their free will and of not being able to have Lilith, he kills her (he thinks) and he falls from his guardianship back into human form. That's when the book takes off. The sex is late in coming but highly satisfying once they get to it.

Not a light read, terrific characters, meaty plot and good writing.

Paranormal Romance 2007: 4.5 out of 5 hell hounds.


Kate said...

I've heard so much good about Meljean Brook - The Book Smugglers, for example, worship her - but I'm just not into urban fantasy/alt/fantasy/whatever. Do you read a lot in that area? If so (or if not) what did you think, comparatively?

Heloise said...

Have I ever mentioned how I retain almost nothing of what I've read? That'll effectively put you out of the running for an academic career, let me tell you. But I digress. I did some research (thank god I started this blog) and re-read my reviews of all my paranormal books.

So, to give you a way too long answer; my favorite category of romance is historical, hands down. But I've always been a reader/lover of fantasy books; Anne McCaffrey, Robin McKinley, A Wrinkle in Time, and now Patricia Briggs. So when the genres started to cross I was very open to the idea.

That being said, I have tried to read a decent number of non-historical (although I'm falling down in the contemporary area) romance novels for the purposes of this blog, and so far I'm not very impressed. You can check out my other reviews if you're really interested. :)

So comparatively speaking this book is definitely a step above most of what I've read. And I (more specifically) would recommend this book to you (with ten or twenty disclaimers since I hate being responsible for someone trying a new genre. :) It does start in County Essex, England in 1217. I thought the period was well drawn but I know your standards are higher than mine. :) And I'll mention again the habit the author has of not explaining what the hell is going on. Once I caught on (four or five chapters in) to the majority of the 'created world's rules' I didn't mind so much. It's a thinking girl's fantasy/romance novel, if you will.

The other fantasy book that I love and have often seen described as a romance novel, is Archangel by Sharon Shinn. I don't think it has any described sex which is why I didn't put it in this category, but sort of like Outlander, it really belongs here.

If you wanted to try a fantasy writer with even less emphasis on romance, although not devoid entirely, I would highly, REALLY HIGHLY, recommend Patricia Briggs. Her female characters are so down to earth and wonderful.

So what on Book Smugglers do you identify with? They are so (terrifically) fantasy heavy?

Kate said...

Thanks for the loooong update! I've never been much of a fantasy reader outside my obsession with Terry Pratchett (who, let's be fair, is really satire!). I think at a young age I tried to read Terry Brooks and gave up. I've never even read CS Lewis (middle school fodder for all!) and only recently read the Lord of the Rings trilogy - yes, because of the movies. I just don't know what to think of the urban fantasy/fantasy romancey books out there that I see all over the blogosphere. I can't help but to think that I wouldn't like them, seeing as how they don't match much with what I read outside of Romancelandia, but I've seen so much good written about Meljean Brook - and have also seen her commenting on many, many websites, and she always comes off as interested, interesting, well-spoken, polite, and amiable - which makes me want to like her books (that I've never read) and therefore nervous about reading her books since I don't want to not like them. It's dumb, but true.

I still default to the historicals, generally speaking, but have been reading a few contemporaries here and there. I'll buy anything Jennifer Crusie. And...well, that's about it for the contemporaries, but I'm thinking about picking up a Harlequin (gasp!) for my December Unbuttoned, mostly due to laziness and the fact that they're short. (I have a lot of hefty ARCs in my house right now.)

The Book Smugglers cover such a gamut that I usually find something I like over there, and when they're on a streak of something I'm not into, I know it'll come back around eventually! They also read such a wide variety of romances that it's an education for me.

Shannon said...

I really loved this book (and what I have read of the series.) I am an avid paranormal romance and UF reader. Meljean takes the genre and raises the bar. I blogged about it recently. She actually de-lurked and responded! Eeee! Anyhow, I say read it! This is a wonderful example of a genre that is currently glutted with offerings (some not so good as others.)

Heloise said...

Kate, Shannon's right. You should read Meljean. Everybody else is doing it. Don't be afraid, I'll take care of you, I promise. Oh wait, that's what my first boyfriend said.

Seriously, if you're going to dip a toe into this sub-genre this is the one I would recommend. And nothing says you have to review it, incurring the wrath of the legions of her fans out there (or the bad feeling of the author herself. :)

Maybe someone else you trust could recommend one of the novella's? If time is the central issue. I've only read this one book of her's.

Heloise said...

PS. Yes, I'm normally quite long winded and reading Racy Romance Reviews has been inspiring me to even greater lengths lately! Now you know how hard I work to keep my reviews so short. :)

Shannon, CONGRATS on getting so much writing done. I'm jealous (thought of writing, never done it) and impressed.

Kate said...

I suspect I may have to try it, Shannon and Heloise. I will get angsty about the cover - maybe it'll qualify as an Unbuttoned??? - but I've heard too many good things about it. I just really want to like it, you know? And that pressure makes it a stressful read :)

Heloise said...

No question expectations can ruin anything. My Best Friend's Wedding, one of the dumbest movies ever, I liked it. Cause everyone had told me it was the worst movie ever, and it made me laugh once or twice...
Life is too short for stress.

BTW, my mom reads this blog. I was mortified when she told me, and had to ask, "Uh, so, tell me honestly, do you think it's offensive? I mean like the sex stuff?" She was completely nonplussed about it, such a relief. Then she lit into me for referring to my children as spawn. Go figure.