Blood of the Demon (Kara Gillian #2)
February 23, 2010
BETWEEN HEAVEN AND HELL, MAN AND DEMON, SHE’S ABOUT TO FACE THE ONE THING SHE MAY NOT BE ABLE TO SURVIVE.
Welcome to the world of Kara Gillian, a cop with a gift. Not only does she have the power of “othersight” to see what most people can’t even imagine, but she’s become the exclusive summoner of a demon lord. Or maybe it’s the other way around. The fact is, with two troublesome cases on her docket and a handsome FBI agent under her skin, Kara needs the help of sexy, insatiable Lord Rhyzkahl more than he needs her. Because these two victims, linked by suspicious coincidence, haven’t just been murdered. Something has eaten their souls.
It’s a case with roots in the arcane, but whose evil has flowered among the rich, powerful, and corrupt in Beaulac, Louisiana. And as the killings continue, Kara soon realizes how much there’s still to learn about demons, men, and things that kill in the night—and how little time she has to learn it.
*book provided by author
*slight spoilers for previous book
Thanks for coming by today! This book was good. No awesome. You should read it. Yeah! Thanks and have a great day. Don’t you ever feel like saying that? It’s most difficult, it seems, to do reviews for books we reaaally love and the ones we really, really don’t. Today, we er on the side of good. Boo yow.
Now, I mean this in the most flattering way possible, but opening and delving into this book was like finding my most favorite comfy slippers after my feet have been aching from a pretty crappy day. Finding them and slipping into them is like coming home and feeling appreciated. And that is what reading Blood of the Demon felt like. As a sophomoric entry, it’s melding with the first book, Mark of the Demon, was seamless. Eight months between books felt like nothing at all thanks to the author’s consistent use of character development. Since I was pretty impressed with book 1, I was ecstatic to see by the end of chapter 1 this go around that the goods were still a-flowin’.
What I like most about this series is it’s one of those that has a good plot as well as a resolution to said plot in every book so far, in addition to the overall arc of Kara and Mr. Demon Lord, or Rhyzkahl. Dogging those heels insistently is character development. One thing that irked me a little with Kara in book 1 was how little respect she seemed to have for demons. Summoning them is rarely a volunteer effort on the part of the demon in any urban fantasy and so is the case with Rowland’s versions. Don’t get me wrong, compared to some baddies in the first book, Kara’s got loads more respect, but she’s so fresh at the whole summoning gig that her ignorance was hurting her a little. I was glad to see her gaining a lot more insight into demons this time, even if she remains a bit naive about them at the same time. At least at some intervals.
On other levels, Kara is as endearing, funny, and kick-butt a heroine as ever without being pretentious or perfect. She’s definitely not a seasoned, experienced demon summoner (and she still makes a mistake or two that I knew would come back to bite her, things I felt were a little obvious but worked out in the end), but circumstances aren’t allowing her to be either. The aunt she loves dearly is in a kind of coma due to events during book one, and that’s pretty much Kara’s only ticket to learning the arcane, unless she can strike a deal with a demon to teach her. When a new series of murders plagues her small Louisiana town after she summons a lower level demon, (and the arcane is all over them again like stink on a skunk) Kara steps up to solve the crimes, all the while balancing her job as a cop – one not out of the summoning closet so to speak.
Thankfully she still has the support of her FBI counterpart, Ryan. He knows about her demon summoning and we find out he’s not without his own Interesting Paranormal Secrets. I don’t know if we’re setting up here to do a little X-Files type action, but I like it. The two have amazing chemistry and Ryan displays more than one adorable instance of caring for Kara. She waffles a little predictably on whether it’s something more than friendship, and while this can seem juvenile and tired in other cases I think it worked very well for them. Not only does it ratchet up the sexual tension in the book, but it’s so sweet compared to Kara’s direct, ball-busting cop demeanor. To see her fall this way for Ryan only makes her more of an enjoyable character, often flustered and painfully aching where he’s concerned. It aids in sympathizing with her, even when she seems to make a boneheaded move or two.
Bring in Lord Rhyzkahl and we have one interesting love triangle. And I honestly don’t know who I like more for Kara! Normally love triangles drive me batty, one love interest clearly being more favorable than the other. Rowland does a good job of enticing while also keeping the romance waters just murky enough. You’d think it would be as easy as: one’s a demon, the other’s human. Nope, Rhyzkahl is every bit as intriguing and praise-worthy at this point. Not to mention he throws in a dash of moral ambiguity, which I love to gnaw on in urban fantasy. Yes, he does good things for Kara, but like most demons, he’s not entirely honest with her and he clearly serves his own interests more than once. Well, every time, to be honest.
But Ryan isn’t exactly 100% honest with Kara either, and he’s not without some judgmental aspects that hurt Kara (But with which I actually sympathized with Ryan for. Hello, you’re involved with a demon. No matter what, that’s just gonna sound freaky deaky to anyone at first.) I found Ryan’s reactions to Kara’s intense relationship with Rhyzkahl to be more believable than Jill’s, a new friend of Kara’s who’s on the forensics team. Jill reacts amazingly calmly, sympathizing with Kara completely and even provides the two with ice cream to round out their girl talk about demons. It was good to see her with a gal pal. Sweet, but yeah, I’m with Ryan, actually.
However…holy sweet hells is Rhyzkahl one sexy mofo, and even if he is morally ambiguous, it’s one hell of a fun ride between him and Kara. Rowland, I can’t wait for more of that particular aspect. As contrary as this is going to sound (or maybe not…), I could have used more Rhyzkahl in this book. That just means that what we do learn from him…and “see” of him with Kara was thoroughly engrossing.
Plot-wise, I felt the book moved along at a nice, evenly dispersed pace that worked from beginning to end. No middle sag and flab here, so siree. If there had been that comfy feeling wouldn’t have been touted so much at the beginning of this review. Rowland writes with a perfect balance of magic and reality for my urban fantasy tastes. Her world isn’t overly complex. It’s easy enough to grasp while also presenting the reader with scenarios and situations that make one pause and ponder.
We get to see more demons this time and a bit more insight into their world. Kara grows in confidence as a summoner while still knowing she has a lot of learning ahead of her. Her magic and its descriptions are just tangible enough to be believable and understandable, as well as coalescing well for her experience level. Not only that, but her life as far as demons are concerned will never be the same after events in this book. Needless to say at this point, I felt it all progressed amazingly well and in a good direction series-wise as well as character development-wise.
I’ve been asked a couple of times if it’s necessary to read book 1 before this one. I’d say yes and no. No, if you just don’t feel you want to. Blood of the Demon reiterates adequately what happened in book one to glean an understanding, and the book does have its own standalone plot in addition to the series arc. I would say if you want to learn who all these characters are more specifically, though, how they met and why they react to each other as they do in this book, then YES, read book 1. If nothing else, you’re still getting just about as good a story there as you would here, and both are very fun/easy reads, easy being a compliment to the fun-ness. It turned out that I enjoyed this book even more (with a few small quibbles, .i.e the seemingly obvious clues Kara missed at first), but that’s only for all the reasons I mentioned already, but mainly because Rowland has delivered a fairly solid second entry that had me yearning for book three immediately. So much so that I wasn’t really interested in other books for a few days after. Is that the fictional equivalent of the proverbial post coital cigarette?
Rating: Four and Half Scoops
- Mark of the Demon
- Blood of the Demon
- Secrets of the Demon (date TBA)
- Sins of the Demon (date TBA)