Reviewed: April 7, 2010
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Megan Chase, Book 1
Rating: 5 Stars
Length: 335 Pages
Formats: Print, eBook
Ya rolls the dice, ya takes your chances...or something like that. Trying a new author is always a crap shoot, regardless of the quantity of positive reviews, regardless of summaries, blurbs, and testimonials. Sometimes you get lucky and sometimes you don't. Luck be Stacia Kane's Personal Demons tonight! I've read some really good books this year, books I was pleased with, books I even loved, but I have to admit, this is the first book in a while that I got really excited about while reading it. The story is unique, the mythology - while not completely fleshed out yet - intriguing and original, and the characters definitely interesting (and sexy).
Megan Chase, PhD., is a therapist with a bit extra who's just recently started a weekly radio show with a rather auspicious tag line about helping to slay a caller's personal demons. Innocuous enough for us, but if you're a demon...
Soon Megan is seeing all manner of crazy things and the tall, dark, and handsome (if a bit smokey) Greyson Dane is showing up on her doorstep warning her not to make any deals with the devil, so to speak. She's confused and perplexed...right up until full-on terror comes knocking. As it turns out, it seems the demons of the world have taken her tag line rather personally and someone has decided to do unto her before she does unto them. Grey, a fire demon himself and not exactly prone to fear a singular human psychologist, steps in to lend a hand - and three demonic bodyguards - to keep that from happening.
As the plot unfolds and a murky past comes back to taunt her, Megan is drawn further and further into a world she had no idea existed and yet somehow isn't totally surprised about...but maybe that's because some part of her, perhaps the psychic part, always sensed something else out there. Now that something is trying to kill her and all she has to trust are demons who aren't exactly interested in selflessness.
Admittedly, Personal Demons is by no means a technically flawless book. The beginning is a bit plodding (until one night-of-the-living-dead moment) and I never totally bought Megan as a therapist with a PhD. She seemed through the book to be a bit more layman than therapist, and there were a couple of moments where I saw some less then astute behavior in dealing with things. I also question a couple of the plot devices that introduced the reporter Brian Stone and kept him in the sometimes foil, sometimes friend position. I also can't say that I totally buy into the connection between events in Megan's past and her present. I thought it seemed just a bit too ...something...convenient maybe - though definitely not for Megan. There were also some weird time jumps, where scenes got skipped over, and some of those scenes I think I would've preferred seeing written out - like the dinner with the meat pies, for one. I think if those had been written out it would've given the book an added dimension and let the reader get more familiar and comfortable with the characters.
All that being said, there was a bunch of positive stuff, too. I loved the Misters Brown! Malleus, Maleficarum, and Spud - three cockney demons with hearts of gold! I thoroughly enjoyed the slow development of the relationship between Grey and Megan and was pleased where they stood at the end of the book, given the week or so they've known each other. Much more realistic than some love-at-first-sight thing while acknowledging that lust at first sight with some affection is far more believable. I thought the opportunity for future development and continuing mythology including Tera and the witches, as well as the psychic reporter Brian was fantastic. On the plot side of things, I was very pleasantly surprised by the successful maintenance of tension and increasing danger, and there's a scene towards the end (without giving spoilers) that was written well enough that even I was feeling a little ill and very threatened. The story progression was increasingly intricate and the blending of a couple of separate plot points flowed together organically.
I certainly am aware the sum of the critical aspects could very easily bring down my rating of this book, but in this case, it didn't. I admit, I submitted five stars based on emotion, not on technical superiority. I loved the book, even with it's flaws, and I'm very interested in continuing this delightful urban fantasy series.
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