I have to admit Hope is not my favourite Kelley Armstrong character. I've got the anthology with her introductory short story in my TBR pile (possibly another book for TBR day). I think I considered her my Paige Winterbourne. So I was kind of going into this thinking I wouldn't like it, or perhaps I would be disappointed. (This is the second book I've read recently where I've been underwhelmed at the prospect of the heroine, and the second time I'm happy to have been proved wrong.) :)
I know I've said this before, so feel free to skip this paragraph, but as a Kelley Armstrong fan, the thing I love about her writing is how quickly she can get you into a character's head. So almost despite myself I'm sucked into the story.
Kelley Armstrong plays a tight line in this book. Too far one way and Hope loses all sympathy with the reader. One thing Hope proves over and over throughout the story is that she's not the best judge of anyone's character. She makes assumptions about Karl's feelings but is quick to accept other people (the gang members) at face value. So I find what I like most about Hope is how her relationship with Karl is explored.
I've liked Karl since his first appearance in Bitten, so love the expanded role he now has in the series. And he and Hope make a great pair, they are two flawed people who ultimately find a home in each other.
"I've never lived with anyone, Karl."
"Neither have I."
"I drool in my sleep."
"I know. It's cute."
Karl is much older than Hope, and it's his experience of having to deal with his werewolf side that allows him to help Hope with her chaos addiction. Hope is an addict, she suffers from an addiction which she can't get away from because it's genetic. In the same way that Karl can never get away from his werewolf.
Lucas Cortez is the second narrator of Personal Demon. This dual protagonist approach allows us to experience two different sides to the story. I'm always glad when we find out more about the Cabals, since reading Industrial Magic (Book 4) it's a part of this world that fascinates me. So one of the major things that lifted this story for me is the further insight into the workings of the Cabal. You can almost feel the tentacles of the Cabal structure pulling Lucas in. And it's also pretty obvious (to me anyway) that he would be a worthy successor to his father.
This dual narration also allows us to 'see' Karl from both Hope and Lucas's point of view. Okay, it's obvious Karl is my favourite character. :)
Although I think you could read this book and enjoy it if you've not read any of the other books in the series as Hope is a relatively new character and Karl has only played a small role in the other books. There is an awful lot here that picks up on events and characters from the previous seven books. There are references back to events in Books 2,3,4 and 7. There's also a very nice (but brief) update on Clay and Elena.
And once again I find myself counting down the days 'til the next Kelley Armstrong release.