Book Review of The Demon Lover by Juliet Dark

Posted December 20, 2012 by Kara in Uncategorized / 18 Comments

Publisher: Ballantine
Release Date: December 27th, 2011
Pages: 450
Genre: Paranormal Romance (I guess…though this is debatable)
Source: I own it.

Summary from Goodreads: 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 writing her bestselling book, The Sex Lives of Demon Lovers. After all, Callie’s lifelong passion is the intersection of lurid fairy tales and Gothic literature—which is why she finds 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: He’s 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 incubus, Callie must accomplish something infinitely more difficult—banishing this demon lover from her heart.

Review: Originally, I had no intention of reading this book. It was one of those books I was on the fence about. And unless a book sounds really intriguing to me these days, I usually pass. But because I accidentally requested the sequel not knowing it was the second book in the series, and then I got approved, I felt guilty and forced myself to read The Demon Lover. Oh, I am so glad I have a guilt complex because I would have missed out on a fantastic storyline. 
It’s not a perfect book by any means. The writing leaves a lot to be desired–more on that a little later–and the characters are pretty flat. (Incidentally, I have been finding almost every book I read lately has flat characters. Maybe it’s me?) What it does have though is a great plot written by an author that excels at rich storytelling. I never thought of upstate New York as a place that could harbor a town full of fantastical creatures, but the author can make you believe it’s true. The town of Fairwick is loaded with fairies, demons, brownies, witches, and many other species you can only find in your dreams. And it felt like a real town. That I wanted to live in. The plot itself is moderately paced with a few slow spots, but for the most part, because I was so fascinated by the goings on in this town and all of its inhabitants, I kept turning the pages. 
As for the writing, well you can’t win them all. It is rare that you find an author that excels at weaving a story but can’t write their way out of a paper bag–and well, this is ALMOST one of those cases. The writing wasn’t quite that awful, but there was a lot of word repetition and flow issues that managed to yank me right out of the narrative. It’s like she wasn’t privy to a thesaurus while she was writing. For me, this is one of the things I notice right away when I am reading because I look for those spots when I am editing. In some ways, this has affected how I read now, and I try not to let it when I read for fun, but once your brain is set to do something, there are some things that are impossible to change. At any rate, I don’t think it is something that someone who is a casual reader would notice. And even if you do read as often as I do, you may even not notice it then. Because really, it’s not that bad. 
So now we get to the fun part. Our lovely protagonist. There were a few occasions while reading where I just wanted to BRAIN her with a baseball bat. She wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed, and while I didn’t hate her, I did think she was a moron a couple of places in the book. Unfortunately, I cannot talk about those plot points because what I have to say is spoileriffic, but just know there may be occurrences where you will be annoyed over the heroine’s stupidity. 
Still though, even with the few complaints I have, if you are looking for an atmospheric story in a town full of wonder–with a little romance and steamy sexytimes thrown in–this may be your book. Just don’t go in expecting this to be loaded with love scenes. I did. Ha. If you do, you will be disappointed. Because while there are some, they are short and not very often. With a title like Demon Lover you would think otherwise, but this book really caught me by surprise with how different it was from my expectations. Look for a review of The Water Witch soon. 
4/5 Dragons

18 responses to “Book Review of The Demon Lover by Juliet Dark

  1. Huh, so I requested this one back when it was on NetGalley, read a few boring chapters and DNFed. Looks like that might have been a bad decision?

    …or maybe not. You really enjoyed it, but I think I can see why I DNFed. I care more about characters and writing than about plot. Oh well, glad it turned out well for you!

    • I don’t know. I really liked this one but I can understand why it might not work for some. The writing had issues, but I really liked the plot and was pleasantly surprised by how more in-depth it was than what I thought it was going to be.

      The protagonist was a moron sometimes. But there were a lot of other characters to like. And there were a lot of them. It was fun. 🙂

  2. You know, I’ve read a lot of mixed reviews for this, but a couple of people whose taste I trust have really liked it, and now here you are, too! I’m with Christina in that I haven’t been able to get into the beginning, but now I think I’ll have to give it another go. Nicely reviewed!

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

    • Thanks, Wendy! Maybe the beginning is a bit slow. I’m not sure. I’ve been trying to be more patient lately, and it’s helping in my reading too. Hah! I definitely am eager to hear your thoughts if you ever get around to it!

  3. I must say that I was attracted to this book, because I like the cover. Now I’m not so sure if I want to read it, despite your high rating. Flat characters and the flaws in the writing-style are enough to DNF this book.. So I think I will stay away 🙂 I hope that the next book is as good as this one for you.


    • I am VERY picky about my characters. What may be flat for me may completely work for someone else. But the writing DID have issues. I can’t pretend like that didn’t happen. LOL.

      I hope the next book is great. I will be reading/reviewing it VERY soon.

  4. Amy

    I haven’t really heard a lot about this, but it sounds like a good book. I tend to be more geared towards characters than plot, but if the plot is engaging enough I can overlook character issues to a point. I don’t know if this would be a book for me, but I’m glad that you enjoyed it. It’s always nice when you are pleasantly surprised by a book.

  5. Well, I have heard alot about the second book in the series, but I have not heard of this one, though. it is pretty interesting the idea of the novel, but i dont feel any spark or creatvitiy in the main portanogist. I think that it should have had more romantic scenes. But i am adding to my TBR
    GREAT review, Kara!
    Your reader,

  6. I remember reading this book and really enjoying the Gothic feel and lush descriptions but I also remember saying that you have to go into it without any expectations, otherwise you’ll be disappointed 😉 Love that you found it enjoyable, Kara. Also, the adorable mouse? I loved him!

    • Yes, That is what I loved most about it. The atmosphere was brilliant. You are totally correct. I did go into it without very many expectations. I think maybe it was incorrectly titled? I don’t know. The MOUSE WAS AWESOME!!

  7. What the heck is with the bimbo protagonists?? GAH!!

    This one looks good, your review is spot on, I might give it a shot one day. My to-read pile is going to bury me.

    • Haha, my to-read pile is looking ugly these days. It will continue to grow exponentially, I am sure.

      I don’t know. She was just not very bright in the common sense area. LOL.

  8. Brownies? What are brownies? Are there chocolate squares walking around upstate New York in this?!?!

    Anyway, happy that this one worked out for you. I am so bad at getting sequels and then having to read the first book. Glad I’m not the only one!

  9. I hadn’t heard of this one before but when I saw the title in my blogroll I clicked the link to read your review. The cover is pretty too. But I love what you said about the world. Tucked away in upstate NY and a world that feels believable sounds like a great book for me to check out.

    But thanks for the warning that the title isn’t exactly a perfect match for the book as it does imply something altogether else.

    I’m guessing your editing eye does change the way you read and view things. I know it does for me and I pick up on way too many things I wish I didn’t, as if I was just reading I probably wouldn’t obsess quite as much. There’s not a lot you can do about that.

    And it is too bad about the flat characters, but that could either be your mood or that you’re extra sensitive to that right now and expect more OR the books you’re reading lately just have flat characters. Either way that’s so unfortunate. I love dynamic characters even if they drive me crazy I love when they have life and personality.

    But thanks for sharing your thoughts and I’ll definitely be checking this out just to discover the world!

    • I do think this book was abysmally titled. It doesn’t match the contents at all. It is so not erotica or anything close to it which was the impression I got.

      There isn’t a lot I can do about the way I read now, you are right. I’m just always looking for flaws and ways I think the book could be better. I still read for enjoyment too, but it’s really difficult to let the technical stuff go. Sometimes if a book is REALLY blowing my mind I can, but it is rare.

      It totally may have been my mood. It’s so easy for me to read something now and feel differently a few months from now. Tastes change so easily and it does has a lot to do with how we are feeling at the time.

      Thanks so much for leaving such a thought provoking comment!

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge