Friday, December 23, 2011

The Demon Lover, Juliet Dark

Title: The Demon Lover (Fairwick Chronicles #1)
Author: Juliet Dark (author website)
Release Date: December 27th 2011 by Random House
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Paranormal
My Rating:1 star2 star3 star

The Demon Lover is so not the book I thought it was going to be. Let's face it: the name? The cover? It even has the word 'virile' in the cover copy, for pete's sake! We all know what type of book it's going to be. Except, well, it's not. At first I felt kind of cheated... but I really enjoyed this book.

From Goodreads:
Since accepting a teaching position at remote Fairwick College in upstate New York, Callie McFay has experienced the same disturbingly erotic dream every night: A mist enters her bedroom, then takes the shape of a virile, seductive stranger who proceeds to ravish her in the most toe-curling, wholly satisfying ways possible. Perhaps these dreams are the result of writing her bestselling book, The Sex Lives of Demon Lovers. After all, Callie’s lifelong passion is the intersection of lurid fairy tales and Gothic literature—which is why she finds herself at Fairwick’s renowned folklore department, living in a once-stately Victorian house that, at first sight, seemed to call her name.

But Callie soon realizes that her dreams are alarmingly real. She has a demon lover—an incubus—and he will seduce her, pleasure her, and eventually suck the very life from her. Then Callie makes another startling discovery: He’s not the only mythical creature in Fairwick. As the tenured witches of the college and the resident fairies in the surrounding woods prepare to cast out the incubus, Callie must accomplish something infinitely more difficult—banishing this demon lover from her heart.

The Demon Lover is an odd creature. From 'Juliet Dark', the pseudonym Carol Goodman, it starts off a lush, gothic mystery/horror, with an almost meta-fiction feel to it, which I both loved and loathed. Filled with literary references from Sookie Stackhouse to Jane Eyre, it's at turns funny and witty, and at others painfully self-aware. The Demon Lover knows what kind of book it sounds and looks like, and at times revels in it, and others seems to almost distance itself from it... Like, 'yes, I'm totally your grandma's trashy romance novel... But I'm cool! I swear!' It's almost like a kid trying to fit in at a party by making fun of himself. I really struggle to explain how I feel about it... I'm conflicted, but the more I think about it, the more I feel this slightly conflicted, dualistic start is completely the point: Callie's made a living of the study of gothic literature and paranormal romance. It stands to reason that, finding herself in a gothic romance, she's going to be super self-aware and question what's going on, or write it off as an over-read, overactive imagination.

The thing is, this 'start' to the novel? It goes in for ONE HUNDRED PAGES. That's one hundred out of three hundred and seventy. And it's sloooooow. Very slow. I struggled through, and had basically made up my mind that I didn't like this book. Then it got GOOD.

The Demon Lover comes into its own when Callie discovers that, well, she's not nuts. There really IS something rather supernatural going on in Fairwick. In fact, the whole town has been founded around the existence of the supernatural. Welcome to the Hellmouth, baby. From this point, the book takes on a rather delicious Sookie Stackhouse feel, and only gets better. Demon Lover is like a mash-up of Sookie Stackhouse, the Caster Chronicles, and a delicious touch if its own brand of quirky.

Cailleach (That's Kay-lex, or 'Callie' to you):

Callie is an interesting heroine. Intelligent and independent, she can be really fun to read... at others a tiny bit stupid, careless, and that's not to mention a total snob... not even snobby in a deliciously-fun-to-read way. Nevertheless, past page 100, I liked her, and immensely enjoyed her journey of self discovery (golly that sounds hackneyed), because that's what this is: Callie coming to terms with a very, very strange new world.

I also LOVED her love interest, but let me tell you guys: this really isn't a romance. Romance readers will be disappointed by the open-ended close to the book. The romance aspect, though? It has me clamouring for more. I really want to see how Juliet Dark resolves this, or at least where she takes it in Water Witch, slated for a 2012 release (there's a bit of info on Juliet Dark's Facebook page--there's no website or blog).

The Verdict?

What surprised me most about Demon Lover is just how much I enjoyed it. After a very slow--and slightly awkward--start, it turns into something witty, sexy, magic, sad and compelling. Sookie fans, rejoice: if you can get past the first half of this book, you're in for a real treat. What Dark has done brilliantly in The Demon Lover is set up a tantalizing start to a VERY promising series, and now that set up is done? Oh boy is this going good places.

Want It?

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The Demon Lover was kindly provided by Random House via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Thanks you guys!

13 comments:

  1. I got the same problem as you! I thought Demon Lover was going to be a YA book but yikes, it wasn't at all! The cover was what intrigued me first, it kinda looks like YA book covers, isn't it?

    I kinda dropped the book since I am not interested in 'adult' themed books.

    I am still glad you enjoyed the book though! Great review!

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  2. My blogmate started to read this book and then put it down. 100 pages sounds like WAY too long of an intro (and I don't know how far she made it before putting it down).

    Great review!


    Nerd Girls at Books to the Sky

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  3. Hmm, this seems like an interesting book! On one hand, it seems like it could be a decent book but on other, it seems like a book I wouldn't finish. One hundred pages is a super long intro, I don't think I can take that kind of slow pacing. I guess I'll see if I can get past the first half to the rest, haha. I enjoyed reading your review!

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  4. Hmm, I'm conflicted! I'm not sure I'd have the patience to wade through those first hundred pages, but it sounds like after that, the book gets good. I'll have to think about it. Thanks for putting The Demon Lover on my radar! Great review. :)
    Lauren

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  5. Oh, it definitely sounds like a mixed feelings book that ended up not disappointing. I've been quite curious about this one but I just haven't dared adding it to my to-read list. There's just something about it that has me doubting I'll like it! Which is probably a good thing because I truly suck at struggling through a book for over 100 pages. I can manage 50, but after that I have to put it away and move on. As the mood reader I am, I'm badly affected my bad struggling sadly.

    I'm so glad you ended up really enjoying it though and I'm curious about the love interest. I really hope the rest of the series turn out even better. Gah. I might just have to re-consider my decision of not picking it up... Lol. Great review!

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  6. So basically.... slog it out past the first 100 pages and you're in for an awesome read? While I haven't read the Sookie Stackhouse books, you have sold me on this for all the good points you mentioned! While it's a shame the first part of the book doesn't quite live up to standards, you say it turns into a, "witty, sexy, magic, sad and compelling" and I say, "When can I read this?!"

    Definitely interested in giving it a go now thanks for your fantabulous review! :D

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  7. As tempted as I am by the Sookie comparison, I just don’t think I have the patience to make it through the first hundred pages. But that cover! I get what they were going for, but... oh dear.

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  8. Oh wow I'm glad i read this review! I'm reading it now and I think I'm finally past the slow drawn out beginning of 200 pages (my book - paperback- has 420 pages). It's starting to pick up so I'm glad it keeps going and I'm really enjoying the characters though. However there are a lot of them and I sometimes forget who's who haha. But that may just be me! o_O

    Giselle
    Xpresso Reads

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  9. It sounds like a nice read. I'm glad it changes after the slow part and so you enjoy this one. I really like the cover, it's really nice. Great review

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  10. Sorry for the delayed replies you guys! I was offline yesterday :/

    @Celine: YES. I TOTALLY agree with you about that cover. I'm thinking Lauren Kate's Fallen books? I *am* into adult books (as well as YA, off course) but seriously... it was a weird little beastie.

    @Nerd Girls: 100 pages *IS* too long. It's only because someone told me on Twitter to stick with it, as half way through it gets good. It did, but still... I have this problem with not finishing books... it's like letting them 'win', somehow? hehe :D

    @Elena: It's kind of... hmmm. I mean, honestly? I wound up liking it. I'm actually excited for book 2, but the beginning? UGH. I'm not sure I could recommend it to anyone isn't *really* into the genre... which is confusing, because I'm kind of not sure on how to genre categorise it :D

    @Lauren: Yeah, I'm not sure either :S
    I mean, glad I read it, but I'm realling unsure about recommending it if you know what I mean? You're MOST welcome, and I hope if you pick it up you actually like it. It *DOES* have a lot going for it... you just have to be patient... I was gonna say like a fine wine, but I'm going with cheese. It has a bit of cheese. And an AWESOME mouse :D

    @Rebecca: It totally wasn't dissapointing. I totally liked it, and I'm excited for the sequel, but... hmmm... you know? I'm a total mood reader, too, but I"m stubborn, and I hate letting a book that isn't working for me 'win', if you know what I mean. I hate the feeling of not finishing a book >.<
    It *does* get better, but if you have up around p.50, seriously, you've got 50-75 pages of the same to go... and you *still* might not like it. I'm so SO CONFLICTED. I want to see where the sequel goes. I think I'll make up my mind proper with it. This one has a sad ending :/

    @Brodie: Yep, pretty much. But it's still a bit... odd. I'm saying odd. Thank you for fantabulous self and READING my review XD I totally think Frostbite is next. I KNOW it's gonna be good :D

    @Lux: I SO understand that. I'm kind of reluctant to recommend it, because as good as it wound up getting, nearly a third of the book was a totaly fizzer for me. Honestly. It could've been removed from the book, and it still would've made sense, and been better!

    @Giselle: Aaaah! I saw you were reading it. I'm with you on, well, basically everything you've said. I *really* hope you enjoy it. It was a reall touch read, but I seriously did end up liking it :)

    @Melliane: The cover is SO pretty. I'm with you on that. TY for reading! xx

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  11. great review my dear!! So sad it was sooo slow! I hate that T_T... sometimes I even give up when books are that slow @_@. However it seems to have potential for the upcoming books! Im glad of it! =P

    have a Merry Christmas my dear!! Wish you the best!! yay!
    Dazzling Reads

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  12. Glad you ended up liking it after the slow start!

    Shelleyrae @ Book'd out

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  13. I've been seeing the same type of warnings about the beginning, but I'm glad to hear it gets really good. I'm very excited to read this one, hopefully soon! :D

    Angie @ Pinkindle Reads & Reviews

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