This is something I’ve pondered off and on over the years since I’ve been reading urban fantasy and some paranormal romance that features hell spawn, or demons as we commonly know them. Like it or not, they are pretty much the primo elite in terms of paranormal character types. How often have we seen vampires or werewolves or witches or anything paranormal period referred to as demons or hell spawn? Well, uh, I actually don’t have an official count, but we know it’s a lot. Take that figure to the bank, man.
So I think it’s safe to say that demons are what every other paranormal character type wishes it could be. The fictional air is rife with the sweet smell of envy. And it should be.
Because demons are sexy as hell.
Or maybe just sexy, after all, who’s to say Hell itself is sexy. But I digress. I have a feeling there will be a lot of digressing as I keyboard barf my thoughts on this.
So where were we? Oh yes: Demons are sexy. We know this thanks to copious examples in paranormal romance and urban fantasy these days. The covers of these demon love fests are labeled with cover after cover of hawt, chesty men (well, maybe more so the PNRs) and cover blurbs all but tossing out the lurid looks and hawt, ahem, demon action.
There is often another part of these demons, though, rippling beneath the surface. Yes, yes, sure, sometimes that’s a pectoral muscle flexing its way into your heart, but I’m talking about the true nature of these sexy fiends. The fact that – gasp – they don’t actually even have pectoral muscles rippling beneath handily crafted human-like skin!
Look, I’m as hooked on these pseudo human bags of hawtness as the next avid UF and PNR reader. Didn’t we all gust a sigh of relief when authors really started writing less vampires and more demons in as potential love interests? Oh yes, you did, I heard it a few million internet miles away. Didn’t we secretly cheer for yet another creature parading as a sexy man ready to sweep us – I mean the heroine – off her size sevens?
What was that? Yeah, I said parading. As in, pretending, or dressing in human drag, if you will. Uh, yeah, you didn’t know that’s not what they really look like? I mean, you just never know. That firm, oiled and hairless chest the heroine is grasping might actually be the demon’s hairy extra elbow. For reals, man! He doesn’t actually look like this century’s Fabio/Nathan Kamp. He looks more like Gollum, precious!
Let’s use a fictional example as I go get some more tissues for yall. Rachel Morgan/Hollows series by Kim Harrison. Yes, I know I talk about that one a lot, but never like this, trust me. A lot of folks wish Rachel would get it on with a demon. Some thought Mineas would be the steed. In the books, Harrison shows many sides of her demons, but when it comes to appearance, the suckers take on whatever form they thing will appeal most attractive to Rachel. It’s camouflage, baby! I knew he and the rest of Harrison’s demons weren’t really anything remotley sexy – and Al proved it for me.
In the latest installment to the series, we do finally get a detailed description of what Al looks like – and it ain’t remotely man-chesty drool human, not that he ever tried to be, but still. And yeah, he would like to get it on with Rachel, this we know thanks to reasons I won’t spoil here. Don’t you, as a reader, secretly yearn for that, too? What? Only when he looked somewhat human? Heh.
In Diana Rowland’s recent Kara Gillian series, the head demon in charge, Rhyzkahl (whose name I only recently realized I was mispronouncing), is one hot mo fo. He brings the sizzle to the salsa, if you know what I mean. What am I saying, of course you know what I mean! These are HAWT! Demons!
Anyway, Rhyzkahl is a tall, muscled and…equipped hunk of man. Er, demon. Er. Either or, who cares, he. is. hot. And curiously, he’s the only human-esque hot one of Rowland’s particular demon pantheon. Hmmmmm! I wonder why….well, I wonder when I’m not drooling over him. Roowrrr.
In Jenna Black’s Morgan Kingsley series, well, demons are always hot thanks to their proclivity to only use actual human hosts that are drop dead gorgeous. But even when Morgan dreams with her particular demon, Lugh, he is a tall, dark-haired vessel of hotness. He chooses this appearance to make himself – and us readers – more comfortable and appealing. I know I like it. You do too, don’t try to deny.
But if we look beyond the human-like appearances of these always gorgeous beings, we’ll usually find that they are in fact quite monstrous looking. Why else would they need to don an appealing, You Want to Do Me male body? There are often allusions to this true nature in the books, yet we cannot seem to get enough of sexy demons, even if they aren’t “for real” within the pages.
I find myself at odds with the idea of demons as any kind of hero, or even a side love interest. On the other hand, they often make the human love interest seem decidedly pale in comparison, as is my feelings on the human male love interests in both Rowland’s and Black’s series. Even if I know what the motivations are behind the demon (and they’re usually never for the good of the person they’re wooing), I still prefer the demon over the better, safer human choice. Why IS this? I really can’t figure it out, unless it’s the tried and true, yet tired, mantra that demons could be the ultimate bad boy. Eh. I’d prefer something more original.
Demons are usually all but alien in their philosophies, morals, etc. They don’t value things the way humans do. How could they possibly work as a HEA of any kind for a primarily human hero or heroine? I think that in a lot of case, we only want to believe that the demon is sexy, when in fact its true form isn’t, not in terms of the human beauty that drew us in as readers.
What say you? Why do demons appeal to you (if they do indeed) when reading? Unlike me, can you actually pin down why?