Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Two Aspirin And A Bottle Of Whiskey

It's always a crap-shoot reviewing books that are parts of series when you personally have no previous knowledge of said series. A few things I look for:
  • Don't info-dump
  • Don't assume that every reader who picks up the latest book is familiar with the previous novels
  • Make me want to find the other books in the series.
In other words, I want to be hooked. I'm a sucker for series, even when I moan about how there are too damn many of them nowadays.

Christine Warren's The Demon You Know is the third book (for St. Martin's anyway - I have a sneaking suspicion that there are other books in the universe via Ellora's Cave but her web site sucks big ones and hasn't been updated in forever) in the Others series. The author does a very good job with the world building and plot. Too bad I was wishing a slow, painful death for the heroine.

Abby Baker is completely unremarkable. Her job at a local TV station is that of glorified gopher, she hasn't had a date since the Clinton administration, and she's plain with a capital P. So how does she find herself in the middle of a riot in New York City? By stupidly agreeing to do a favor for a friend.

Two months previously humans found out that the paranormal exists. Demons, werewolves, vampires, witches etc. are real and walking around amongst us. Naturally everyone is not terribly happy with this, and rioting breaks out. Abby is looking for an escape route when she sees three thugs accosting an Other. She ends up in the middle of it and WHAM-O, she's possessed by a fiend.

Rule is a demon. His job is to keep the fiends in line. Fiends are like rogue demons. Demons = good. Fiends = very, very bad. Rule's above ground looking for Louamides, a fiend underling that he was using as an informant. Word on the street is that Lou is hiding out from Uzkiel, a very bad fiend set on doing very bad things. Rule wants to capture Uzkiel, and to do that he needs to find Lou. Imagine his surprise when he finds him hanging out in Abby's body. Oh well, he's just going to have to kidnap the girl.

Try as I might, I could not for the love of all that is holy figure out what Rule saw in Abby. Here it is folks, the condensed version of Abby's character in order of appearance:
  • Dumbfounded
  • Too-stupid-to-live
  • Shrill
  • Too-stupid-to-live and shrill
And because of this you just know there's a half-assed escape attempt don't you? The first 100 pages are Abby screaming and whining about being kidnapped and held against her will. All she wants is to go home to her nothing life. Never mind the fiend possessing her body. She wants to get away! Far, far away! And what? Just walk around with Lou in her empty head for the rest of her life? So she kicks, she screams, she argues ad nauseam. Rule is a demon, why he didn't perform some demon magic to glue her gums shut is a mystery to me. I mean, the guy has lived for a 1000 years and he picks this girl? Yeah, it's nice when the hero falls for the plain girl, but when the plain girl has the personality of a banshee? I'm sorry, that makes no sense. No amount of good sex is enough to overcome that. Of course I'm not ruled by testosterone either, so what do I know?

I totally get what Abby saw in Rule - he's hot. There's a lot of lust here, but in the end that's all there is. All Abby and Rule seem to do is bicker, have sex, and oh yeah - defeat a fiend, but I'm just not convinced they'll have a happily ever after. They'll need to spend their entire relationship in bed if it has any hope of succeeding.

Despite the subject matter, this story is actually very light. It's like one step away from MaryJanice Davidson and Katie MacAlister. Not quite that light, but nowhere near dark either. This was a quick read for me, and the author has a breezy style. That said, it was the kind of book I needed to take frequent breaks from. Abby annoyed me that much.

So it's not as bad as a D, but an annoying heroine is a pretty big sin in my book so Final Grade = C-. Maybe fans will go for it, but I just don't see many newcomers being converted.