This is our brand new segment in which our delightful buddy Harry, from Temple Library Reviews will be joining us once a month to review paranormal romance from a guy’s perspective. But we will let him introduce himself, please let’s give a warm welcome to Harry!
Harry: I’m the newest honorary addition to the Book Smugglers team [honest to God, I smuggle books home and then lie straight to my family’s face about it]. I get the chance to play here at their blog once a month and my small spot will be called ‘A Dude Reads PNR’. The idea came to be in December, when I posted my Sherilyn Kenyon review and people were interested to see the male POV about Paranormal Romance. The public demands, the attention whore (that’s me) begs, and the smugglers comply.
Author: Jessica Andersen
Publication Date: April 6th 2010
MMP: 448 pages [in the Uncorrected Proofs]
Stand Alone or series: 4th Book of the Novels of the Final Prophecy
Lucius is an Indiana Jones wannabe who never quite measures up, until a twist of magic brings him powers beyond belief… and reunites him with Jade, the one-night stand he never forgot.
Despite the sizzling chemistry between them—and the added power that comes with a love match—Jade is determined to prove that she’s more than a researcher … she can be a Nightkeeper warrior in her own right.
But as the two race to rescue the sun god himself from the underworld, they learn that kicking ass isn’t enough. They’ll need all their brains and skill—and the long-denied love that burns between them—to foil the dark lords’ plot.
Why did I read the book: Ana [of course] e-mailed with some brainstorming to do about my next public event and this one popped in the discussion. I remembered that once, distant in the past, but not so long ago, I had come across this series. There was a good déjà vu [the warm sort] about the choice, even if I did plunge while the series had gained momentum.
How did I get the book: This pink-bound book possibly traveled more than I ever did or will in my entire life. Judging by the post-it note saying ‘Forward to: The Dude’, I say that it flew all the way from Jessica herself [gasp at my Sherlock Holmes deductions] to Ana and then to me. It almost came too late [the Bulgarian Post is plotting against me and my schedules, for they are so awesome], but I managed.
Review: I did not know what to expect, when I opened that parcel and saw a PINK book. I am a non-pink person so that posed a certain amount of tension. Call me racist. I don’t care. But I opened the book, started reading and *cue geek moment soundtrack* I was enthralled. I admit I had a little help from ‘Florence + the Machine’ as the official reading music for this novel, which heightened the experience for me. Call it enhanced reading.
As I am typing, I am literally using my last available minutes before my deadline manifests as reality, so I am dropping the silliness [blame the POST OFFICE] and will cut straight to the chase. Jessica Andersen is a name you should remember and then scout for in the bookstores, because her Paranormal Romance is unlike most of the books slotted in the category. First, I was hooked immediately and it has a little bit to do with the ‘booty call’, but a whole lot more to do with Andersen’s ability to built a character, who feels tridimensional. Conveying a real person right from the get-go, one which I have not met [because I have not read the previous titles] is a trait I admire in an author. Then of course another strong trait I reveled in was the language itself. Thank you, Miss Andersen, for giving your characters a broader vocabulary, because if I had read another PNR/UF spunky dialogue scene 101, I would have imploded in a dust of sparkle dust.
Demonkeepers reads like a character study, which is, both, a good thing and a not so sweet of a deal. All the Nightkeepers, saviors of the Earth from the Mayan Apocalypse in 2012, read as if they are all real, flesh and bone, complex and full of contradictions, honest-to-god human beings. With sex, mating and sacred bond between a man and a woman being integrated into the rituals and culture of the Nightkeepers, the interactions between the characters as well as the relationship dynamics read a bit differently. They pose different challenges and problems, which lack in the standard PNR mold. The new setting, mythology and angle, with which the romance is treated, cardinally change how Demonkeepers feels as PNR and in the good sense at that as well. In the end, if you take away the speculative out of the book, this would read as one of those drama series that get done and win Golden Globes, but still do not come close to the original books.
On to the not-so-sweet aspect, I have to say that this is slow paced. Internal monologues ran a tad too long for my patience. While I am rooting for Jade and Lucius, after page 200 I grew a bit tired with how one tenderness scene triggered several paragraphs of personal introspection before, during and after. Yes, Lucius and Jade do not have it easy and their predicaments with Lucius having flirted with the dark side and Jade wanting to be an A-lister predispose for these moments. Yes, the human mind is brimming with thousands thoughts, sensations and memories, which is clever for Andersen to capsulate with a kiss. And sure, active sexuality is the trigger to both characters’ magic and intimacy is tied with power. But in the end, the effect bogs down the pacing [despite adding depth and layers to the story] and the number of pages, where something adrenaline and dynamic happens is slimmer than the character growth through conversations and internal analysis. Is this bad? No, but unusual for me as a reader.
Also, for anybody, who would like to start this series from the middle: First, it is doable and Andersen does a fine job of raising key moments that transpired in previous installments or I would not be doing this review in the first place. Make sure you read the Glossary in the back, because this will be your guide, if you are new to the series. For those that are following it, I suppose this is a pretty strong sequel in what is a very refreshing series.
Verdict: Demonkeepers is an introverted novel. It doesn’t rely on a staccato pacing. Nor does it have many confrontations and assassinations to act as a catalyst for the characters’ growth. It is fresh, different without being outlandish and out-of-place within the genre. I recommend it, because the quality of characterization and motivations is above average and memorable.
Rating: 8 – Excellent
Reading next: The Shattered Sylph by L.J. McDonald