Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Book Review: The Demon Lover by Juliet Dark


I gasped, or tried to. My mouth opened, but I couldn’t draw breath. His lips, pearly wet, parted and he blew into my mouth. My lungs expanded beneath his weight. When I exhaled he sucked my breath in and his weight turned from cold marble into warm living flesh.

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 her having written the bestselling book The Sex Lives of Demon Lovers. Callie’s lifelong passion is the intersection of lurid fairy tales and Gothic literature—which is why she’s found 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: Her incubus is 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 demon, Callie must accomplish something infinitely more difficult—banishing this supernatural lover from her heart.

Random House | December 27, 2012

My Review

4 Stars

Although I'm generally not a fan of paranormal romance novels, Juliet Dark's The Demon Lover, with its small town setting and a main character interested in the linkages between fairy tales and Gothic literature, seemed to be a book I would enjoy.  I was right.  

At the heart of this novel is Callie McFay, a young college professor who accepts her first teaching position at a small private college in upstate New York.  Soon after Callie arrives in Fairwick and moves into an old Victorian mansion that was once the home of one of her favourite romance novelists, she begins to experience what she at first thinks are only erotic dreams but quickly realizes are visits from an incubus, or demon lover.  Faced with a life-sucking demon in town, some of Fairwick's residents, including the college Dean, intervene to help Callie, who learns that, as home to witches, fairies and other fay, there is much more to Fairwick then meets the eye.  While Callie is seemingly able to banish her demon lover from her life, soon after strange things begin to happen to her students and colleagues, which lead her to question what is really going on in the quaint college town.

The greatest strength of The Demon Lover is that the novel's principal character, Callie, portrayed as an intelligent and independent woman, is a heroine most readers will be able to identify with (demon lover notwithstanding) and, given her strength of character, is also one readers will find easy to root for.  The inhabitants of Fairwick are an eclectic group of people whose actions and antics help to make the book an enjoyable read.   The story itself proceeds at fairly quick pace and while many of the mysterious aspects of the plot can be figured out relatively easily before their resolution, this doesn't diminish the conclusion of the novel.   While not a prominent feature of the book, Juliet Dark's incorporation of mythical legends, including how some of these tie to Gothic literature, is interesting.  My only criticism of the novel, and it isn't a significant one given that it didn't have an impact on my enjoyment of the book or my rating, is that it at over 400 pages the novel is a little too long.  I'm looking forward to reading the next book in this series, The Water Witch, which will be released in February.    

Recommended to fans of paranormal romance or fantasy novels, or to those readers looking for something a little bit different.   

Note: I received a copy of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.