The Demon Lover (Fairwick Chronicles #1)
By Juliet Dark (pseudonym for Carol Goodman)
Published December 27th, 2011
Urban Fantasy | Paranormal Romance
Source: Received from Ballantine Books (via NetGalley) in exchange for an unbiased review – Thank you!
About the book:
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.
How many times have you read reviews about this book that said, “…this story is not at all what I was expecting…”? Well, there’s a reason for that! I think this cover is slightly misleading. Oh, yeah, that classic girl-in-the-big-beautiful-dress is perfect! The crows flying up and the reference to the time of day being twilight all fit the story. So okay, you got me. The cover fits… but I swear I had absolutely no clue what I was in for when I started this book. Here’s what I got…
Setting / World Building and all the Characters
Ms. Dark starts our journey in present day New York City. Yes, this is an urban fantasy / paranormal romance; I’d say about 50/50. I wasn’t expecting that! The title screams love story to me. I really enjoyed sitting back and getting settled into the small town of Fairwick and the big huge old house Callie moves into. She’s ordering new furniture online (wish I could order my bed from Anthropologie *sigh*) and shopping the local antique stops to furnish it. She’s meeting her eclectic neighbors preparing for her first day of work at the college. And she’s having crazy hot dreams just about every night (not that she’s really complaining about them). More about those in a moment. But it’s a whole “world” Ms. Dark is building here, not just a love story.
During all this world building / setting up of the story, we are introduced to a ton of characters who will become a part of Callie’s new life in Fairwick. We’re meeting neighbors, co-workers, not to mention the old best friend from New York City, and a cold, distant grandmother you want to throw sticks at to get her to feel anything like a grandmother to Callie. You would think this would be overwhelming and hard to keep track of but it really wasn’t for me. Maybe it was because almost all the new characters were some really cool species of supernatural being and had such fun, endearing personalities. Ms. Dark went in absolutely every direction to pull in characters and quirks. I was happily surprised and completely not expecting to enjoy this whole world being built for me.
My only complaint? It took until about 53% into the book for the story to start moving away from world building and into full-on plot. But with the originality and sheer enjoyment of the characters in the book, the story was well worth the wait.
Story / Tempo
You may be noticing that I’m not mentioning anything about “the demon lover” himself or anything about the romance in the book. I’m sooooo doing that on purpose because the story surrounding that is so cool I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone. I felt a little like this book was spoiled for me because I had inadvertently read the synopsis for the second book in the series, The Water Witch. If you did the same thing I did, just know that The Water Witch‘s synopsis doesn’t really spoil the first book for you. Just keep an open mind. And be prepared for an unconventional love story with love scenes the likes I’ve never read before! Very cool…
There are multiple sub story lines occurring throughout the story and they all wrap up nicely into each other at the end. The reason why I gave this book 4 stars and not 5 stars is because I saw the story and all it’s twists coming a mile away. The story and it’s base plot was just a bit too predictable for me. I think I’ve become a tad bit too cynical or something – I’m starting to think like the bad guys, apparently.
But it was the strength of the cast of characters and the crazy awesome (I have no other words to describe it and I’ve looked for 15 minutes!) love story that really had me hooked after 54% and all the way to the end. This series has a ton of potential if not for just Callie’s story but for any of the other character’s tale.
Other book in the series:
Heidi at Rainy Day Ramblings
Barbara at Basia’s Bookshelf
Christy’s Love of Books