Thursday, 5 June 2008

Personal Demons by Stacia Kane

So following on from The Devil Inside and Personal Demon (no 's' and written by Kelley Armstrong) we have another of 2008's demon books - Personal Demons by Stacia Kane.

Megan Chase has just started work at her new radio phone-in show, where she offers to slay her listeners personal demons. Unbeknownst to her, however, personal demons actually exist (everyone in the world has one except Megan for some reason) and they take her vow to eradicate them slightly personally (excuse the pun).

This one was on my wishlist for a while until I read a review that repiqued my interest in it - on Scoopers blog? I think it's the first urban fantasy I've read which is written in third (allbeit a very tight third) person. It was a book of two parts for me. I found the beginning quite slow, a lot of build up whilst you're waiting for something to happen. It's one of those books where you just have to bear with the beginning whilst it settles into itself. (A rollercoaster (slow build up followed by an exhilarating ride) rather than a roman candle (a brilliant explosion of light but at the end all you've got is a damp squib)).

Having said that, once something does happen and Malleus, Maleficarum and Spud (the cockney demons) turn up on page 89, suddenly the story takes off with a blast. So if you're reading this and want to give up, don't until page 106, when you'll have read a chapter of M,M&S. And if someone could explain to me what's so funny about Mr.Brown I'd appreciate it - feeling a bit of a dunce here for not getting that.

So first person - no, gutsy female protagonist with a mysterious past - yes, sexy demon with an ulterior motive - check. Until M,M&S turn up, it was Greyson Dante the aforementioned sexy demon that kept me reading.
...Do you want to talk or not?"
He sighed. "No. Well, I did, but now I don't. You lied to me."
And from later in the story.
"This is the surprise? Being shot at for trespassing?"
"That would be fun, but no."
It's almost like Dante said to Stacia Kane, I'll be in your story, but I have to have all the best lines.

Megan is perhaps not the most instantly engaging urban fantasy heroine I've ever read. She's not as interesting a protagonist when Dante or M,M&S aren't there for her to spar with. But by the end of the book she'd grown on me. She does have some psychic ability which allows her to hear peoples thoughts and is how she gives herself an advantage over other therapists. And rather than sitting back and letting Dante protect her she does take some proactive steps including receiving some training in how to focus her powers from a somewhat snarky witch - Tera. Admittedly some of her proactiveness stems from her refusal to believe Dante is a demon, but once she's seen his spinelets she changes her tune. (LOL)

Dante on the other hand is sexy, sneaky and as well as keeping tabs on Megan is manipulating the situation to his advantage. He is an anti-hero. This is one of the big plusses of the book for me. He is a demon and Stacia Kane doesn't try to make him something that he isn't. Whilst we're on the subject of demons, what is it with them and the whipping. To be fair in this book it's used as a punishment rather than as an erotic device, but still. It is an intense and disturbing scene, you can feel the pressure that Megan is under.

Favourite quote of the book -
...We're not sending you off to Mordor just yet."
"You read Lord of the Rings?"
"All demons read Lord of the Rings. It's the perfect example of what not to do..."
Quibbles - in a couple of places I felt like we skipped stuff so we could get to the action and that Megan didn't always listen to what people were trying to tell her. But other than that I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to Book #2 Demon Inside January 2009.


scooper said...

I loved the brothers. They were hilarious and sweet in a demony kind of way. LOL Great review!

Sarai said...

Man another book I have to seriously think about. Wait... do you hear that... yeah that would be my wallet groaning!
Great review

LesleyW said...

Scooper - I loved them as well. They really perked the story up for me.

Sarai - I know that wallet groaning feeling well. :)

Stacia Kane said...

Thanks for the review!

You're not a dunce. Megan doesn't get what's so funny about it either. The brothers are remembering some scam they pulled or something like that when they poke each other and laugh over "Mr. Brown". :-) They find human names amusing in general, too.

LesleyW said...

Stacia - Thanks for dropping by and explaining the Mr.Brown thing. :) I don't always "get" jokes, so it's not without possibility that it would have gone straight over my head.

Love the brothers and looking forward to reading more about Megan, the excerpt at the back certainly caught my interest for book #2.

Naomi said...

I really loved this book - mostly because of Megan. I loved that she wasn't a generic urban fantasy tough girl with a gun. Dante (what is it with the name Dante in UF?) was a great character, but for me it was Megan that really drew me in.

kmont said...

Malleus, Maleficarum and Spud?

I'm breathless with laughter already; this I think I've got to read.

LesleyW said...

Naomi - we're the other way round. I did like that she didn't wait around to be told what to do. Even if some of the time what she was doing was the wrong thing. And she did grow on me. :)

KMont - Yeah, you can't help but be on MM&S's side even though they are demons.

Jill D. said...

Hey Lesley, Great review and I will definitely be adding this one to my ever expanding list!

LesleyW said...

Jill - Thanks, yep this is another series I'll be following. If only there were more hours in the day to read. :)

JenB said...

I love demon books. (It's the naughty side of me rebelling against my goody-goody upbringing.)

I've been wondering about this book for a while now. Now I really want it!

Can you tell me something else, though? Is there a strong romance, or is this strictly urban fantasy? Please feel free to kick me if I missed that in the review. :)

LesleyW said...

JenB - no kicking needed. I would say there is a relationship between Greyson (Dante) and Megan, which is important to the storyline. But this isn't a romance in that their relationship isn't the main focus of the story but it is an important part of it.

Unlike some first books in UF series they do get together :) Phew! , and they have a very strong chemistry. So their relationship is moving slightly faster than most UF (Ilona Andrews, Jennifer Rardin, Patricia Briggs). But it's not all tied up at the end with a neat little bow. He is a demon, so there's an obvious source of conflict in their future. I think this is a relationship that will build and grow over the following books.

Has that helped? Hope I answered your question without putting you off.

JenB said...

Lesley--That helped a lot, actually. Thanks! I still really want to read this. Your review is the best and most informative I've read so far. I'll be watching your blog for more great reviews.