Friday, June 29, 2007

Demon Moon by Meljean Brook

Demon Moon by Meljean Brook
Every once in awhile a book comes along that makes you think the author may have written it just for you, so well does it push all of your buttons. Demon Moon was such a book for me. It's hard to write a review of a book you really liked. I don't want to sound totally gushing and fangirly. But I swear, this book had so many of the things I love, which is tough to find. An unusual (yet hot) hero, an intelligent, fully realized heroine, loads of internal and external conflict, as well as great emotional and sexual tension. It wasn't a perfect book, but I loved it. It just got the angsty romance bit so right, while still having a nice wit to it. It was a genuinely smart book, with a fast moving plot. Let's get to some specifics.

The Hero: Colin Ames-Beaumont is the oldest and strongest of his kind, after many vampires were wiped out in an attack. He is different from other vampires though. He can't feed others because his blood carries a taint. Thus, he has to drink from different human women each night. He also carries a curse which makes it impossible for him to see his reflection in a mirror. Instead, he catches a glimpse of Chaos, the horrifying realm above Hell. Colin is cursed, isolated and tormented, for sure. He can also kick ass, owns a nightclub, and wears leather pants at at least one point in the book. But this is where the similarity to other vampire heroes end. He doesn't particularly sweat who he is. He's still the handsome, indolent second son of a nobleman, after all. Colin is unashamedly vain and arrogant, sarcastic and superior. He is very smart and witty, and can come off like an asshole. And I loved him. I think it's the influence of too much Elizabeth Peters/Barbara Michaels, PBS Mystery and British mysteries (in general) growing up. Nothing revs my engine like an arrogant, witty, overbred Englishman. I think the reason I love heroes like this is because when they fall, they have far to fall, and the fall is hard, and it's bewildering to them (and highly entertaining for the reader). Colin just adores Savi, and is amused and fascinated by everything about her. There are a number of reasons they can't be together, but it's clear that's going to be a losing battle. He tries to keep away, and acts like a douchebag, and it's almost like he can't help himself, which I actually found kind of endearing. I just loved how in love he was. A great flawed hero.

The Heroine: Sometimes in romance, "geeky" or intelligent heroine are rather annoying and TSTL, but I really liked Savitri Murray. The techno-geek (and Hugh from Demon Angel's "sister") who invented the video game based upon Hugh and Lilith's past, she genuinely seemed like a smart, slightly eccentric twentysomething woman. She lacked the other characters' supernatural abilities (to start with, anyway) and fighting skills, but in her own arena she was very confidence. I liked her curiosity as well. Too often these human chicks just get swept off her feet by some sexy otherworldly dude, and don't ask enough damn questions! Her strong sense of responsibility to her Grandmother was another interesting trait. Having some close friends of Indian heritage, the doing the whole matrimonials bit, and the pressure to marry a fellow educated Indian rang true to me.
And man, she had it bad for Colin!

The Conflict: She's a human, and mortal, and he's not. Plus, even if she was turned into a vampire, Savi would not be able to feed from Colin because his tainted blood will kill her. He can't feed from her to often without seriously weakening or draining her. Savi would have to deal with Colin feeding from a parade of other humans. In Brook's universe, the need for blood and sex are tied (called "bloodlust"). After a certain point, the lust for sex as well as blood overtakes the vampire. Not surprisingly, Savi doesn't think she can handle Colin screwing other women. All this makes for lots of lovely angst, because these two are just so head over heels for each other, and they know it won't work, but they can't stay away from each other. They have a fun relationship, a real battle of wits. They can make each other laugh even when bad shit is going down. I liked the sense of friendship and appreciation that came through, as well as the desire.

Oh man, I'm sleepy. I had more I was going to write, but I have a feeling I'm just babbling and not doing the book any justice. But hopefully this expresses a bit of why I gave Demon Moon an A. As I said, it's not a perfect book. The worldbuilding is pretty intricate, and sometimes I had to stop and mentally review who was who and what was what, when I just wanted more Savi/Colin loving. Pesky thing, that plot, although I did enjoy the plot as well. This series is definitely worth a try, especially if you enjoy good characterization, writing that actually assumes you're intelligent, and something a bit out of the ordinary. I'm going bye-bye now.


Mailyn said...

I borrowed the first in the series and couldn't get past the first or so chapter. I know, I'm the odd one out. LOL.

Jennie said...

Every once in awhile a book comes along that makes you think the author may have written it just for you, so well does it push all of your buttons.
What surprised me so much about this book was that I was so sure it wasn't going to push my buttons---I generally don't go for the dark angsty vampire-y thing. But the fact that I loved it despite that made me realize what a good book it is!

Great review. ;)

Anonymous said...

This book keeps popping up on my recommendations list at B&N and Amazon but I've put off reading it. I've been badly disappointed by other books that appeared on the list. I think though that I might just give this one a chance.

Devon said...

Mailyn--it's funny, I lurved the first half of Demon Angel. I would think you would like this one. Hmmm...

Jennie--The banter, the angst, the sexual tension. Delish! I'm glad you liked it even though it wasn't you're usual fare.

Joana--Try it. The worldbuilding is a bit complicated, but the writing is intelligent, the characters are good, and the romance is hot.