Title: Demon Night
Author: Meljean Brook
Review number: 33
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Stand alone/series: Third full-length novel in The Guardians series.
Charlie Newcomb worked hard to get her life back together. But all that is shaken when she’s set upon by three vampires desperate to transform her beauty into something evil. Because Charlie is the vital link to something they want—and need. It’s Charlie’s flesh and blood sister, a medical scientist whose knowledge could be invaluable to the predators.
But to get to her, they must first get to Charlie, now under the intimate protection of Ethan McCabe. As her Guardian, Ethan is attracted to her vulnerabilities—as well as her strengths. The closer he gets, the more protecting her becomes not just his duty, but his desire. But will it be enough to save Charlie when the demon night falls?
You know when a writer has a very distinctive style that you can recognise anywhere and that is completely different from anything that there is out there in a specific genre? I believe Meljean Brook is one of them. In a league of her own amongst Paranormal Romance authors, not an obvious writer – she drops one word here, one sentence there, a glimpse of a thought later on and then pieces come together and the puzzle is finally complete – it is the work of an artist; I would say an impressionist: if you see each stroke from very close you are not too sure of what you are seeing, but if you only take one step back, the whole becomes clear and then you get it. And it’s beautiful.
I am extremely impressed at this world that she is building and how it appeals to me in so many levels: in a mixture of old religious themes with classical literature (Polidori, Milton) and a dash of pop culture (a guardian jokes: First Rule of the Guardian Fight Club is….) she re-creates something that is original and which intertwine perfectly with the more emotional aspects of the romantic story each book relates to.
She has now written three full length novels about three couples with conflicts that could have not been more distinct. Her characters are extremely complex and Demon Night is no different.
In fact Charlie Newcomb is likely to be one of the most complex heroines I have seen in a long time. Extremely flawed and with a pathological neediness which has led in the past to such a destructive behaviour that has completely destroyed her voice and a promising career as an opera singer and her self-esteem, landed her in jail and has almost ruined her relationship with her sister. She is a recovering alcoholic who works as a bartender – as self-punishment and as a reminder. She is self-aware that her needs may take over at any moment and fights her natural instinct to rely too much on other people, specially her sister. And is indirectly because of her sister that she gets into something that will change her life forever. Jane works at a lab doing Blood research and the lab is covertly taken over by Demons who want to investigate further about the paranormal qualities of vampire blood. Some of the vampires that work for the lab are sent to capture Charlie in order to use her as leverage for her sister to keep on working, but the attack fails because Charlie has been watched.
Ethan McCabe or Drifter, used to be an outlaw in the Old West. He has become a Guardian when he sacrificed himself to save his brother’s life. When he is given the task to look after Charlie he is wary to start with over her neediness even if his protective instincts scream for him to help her. Right at the start he lays out straight to her in what a I thought was a blunt, uneasy and unusual conversation in a romance novel: that he is there for protection and that is all, she is not to rely on him, because she may do so too much: this is a moment of utter humiliation and hurt for Charlie for she stands there with her soul bared in front of him, and he sees through her.
And that is how these two start out: with a line that is not be crossed. But the line is faint and it shifts and once things start changing between them, it is with awe that Ethan realizes that Charlie is much stronger than he ever thought and is with some despair that he understands that he will give anything she asks for but she will not ask anything of him. Even it all she wants now is for him to need her – because you see, Charlie may come across as a revoltingly weak person, but her strength lies in knowing herself and how she functions and now on the path to becoming whole again she is more likely to chop her own arm off than to succumb to her own needy instincts.
Even though each book has its own central couple with their struggle for happiness the overall storyline that began in Demon Angel is still unfolding: Hell is still closed, Demons are still on the lose, Guardians are being trained by the SI. Most of all, there still a lot of unrest in the vampire communities all over the world as a new threat looms in the horizon and which goes by the name of Nephilim. To say more about them would be major spoilage , so I will refrain myself and only say that I have a gut feeling that Meljean Brook is preparing us for a major showdown in the future by laying out with every book, the players on both sides.
As for the rest, we get a glimpse of Hugh and Lilith, of Colin and Savi, see a bit more of Michael and get to know the ULTRA cute novice Guardian, Jake who is about to become protagonist in Meljean Brook’s next novel. Charlie’s relationship with her sister is very sweet, and her sister’s relationship with the Demon Sammael is all kinds of awesome as awesome is his character – he is one of the demons that follow Belial, Lucifer’s enemy number one and who believes that they can regain their place in heaven. The dichotomy of good x bad inside each character is still present and I can’t wait to see what will happen when things start to get more complicated.
And of course, even with all the serious stuff going on around Charlie and Ethan, there are lots of funny and endearing (“You hush, Miss Charlie”), hot and steamy moments.
Ultimately, I believe her stories benefit from the fact that her novels are long, with almost 500 pages, unlike many of the romance/paranormal books published recently. It certainly allows for the development of better stories and characters with such emotional depth that I am left in awe as my guts twist and turn with theirs.
If I have one grudge about the book is that I became a bit impatient with the way Charlie dealt with her insecurities about Ethan in the end but I am aware that other readers were very satisfied with the way the book ended – I was too but thought it took too long for them to get there but that does not signify; for in the grand scheme of things, it has been over two weeks since I finished reading this book and it is still with me. The books that remain are the important ones, right? THIS is what I look for as a reader and what Meljean Brook has given me three times in a row.
Notable quotes/Parts: I love the action sequences and the fight scenes with the Nephil. I particularly loved the scene where Charlie is taken by Sammael and is locked inside the car behind the locking spell and Ethan goes apeshit crazy trying to get inside to rescue her and the outcome of that scene was VERY unexpected , I did not see it coming. My heart was racing like crazy – these scenes are very well written , very well thought out, very easy to picture, almost cinematographically.
Additional Thoughts: The next book, Demon Bound comes up in October 2008. The hero is Jake, the cute, funny, novice guardian that appears quite a lot in Demon Night. I can not wait for it.
Verdict: If you haven’t started with this series yet, hurry up and get Demon Angel ASAP.
Rating: 9, Damn near perfection. It is not a 10 only because I thought in the end, the emotional resolution was dragged on a bit too much. But other than that, again another fantastic book in the series.
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