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Kelley Armstrong is a Canadian fiction writer, born in 1968.
She favours supernatural fiction (my favorite kind).
"Personal Demon" is part of Kelley Armstrongs "Women of the Otherworld" series.
Other books in the series include;
~Dime store magic (2004)
~Industrial Magic (2004)
~No humans involved (2007)
~Personal demon (2008)
The ninth book in the "Women of the Otherworld" series, "Living with the dead", is released later this year.
Whats lovely about Kelley Armstrongs "Women of the otherworld" series, is that whilst each book generally has a different narrator, all the characters are linked. This means that familiar characters are mentioned in each book, yet you still read a fresh story, from a fresh perspective.
"Personal demon" is narrated by both Hope Adams, a fairly new character,although sheis also mentioned in "No humans involved" and Lucas Cortez, a more familiar character, featuring in "Dime store magic", "Industrial Magic", "Haunted" and "No humans involved".
Hope is a tabloid journalist. She has inherited her beautiful looks from her Mother, and her demonic side from her father.
Lucas is son of company owner Benicio Cortez (more on Benicio later), but is reluctant to follow in his successful fathers footsteps.
The shared narration is useful. It means that we get to see a more rounded version of the story, from all angles.
Hope Adams is a half demon.
Whilst she doesnt have horns (phew) she gets off on destruction and chaos.
She tries to satisfy this craving (chaos to a demon is like nictotine for a smoker) by working for the interracial councel....but its just not enough for her.
When Benicio Cortez, big daddy of a supernatural type mafia, offers her a job infiltrating a group of rebellious supernaturals, she sees her chance to satisfy her craving, without going over to the dark side.
Unfortunatly for her, the job is not as easy as she thought, and the destruction she finds pleases her more than she would like.
This book centers around the Cortez Cabal, and its dirty underbelly.
Ok. So, whats a Cabal.
Basically, a Cabal is a large company....except the workers are all supernaturals, and the companies are run by families.
Think of them like the mafia.
The families are dangerous, powerful, incredibly rich, and obviously there is conflict and competition between each of them.
The Cabal has its plus points. Supernaturals dont make a habit of advertising their abilities to humans. The Cabals give them a family. Stability, healthcare etc.
The downside is that the Cabals are ruthless.
Benicio Cortez (see, I told you I would give you more info) is CEO of the Cortez Cabal.
Benicio is a sorcerer. Only blokes can be sorcerers, and amongst all of the supernaturals, they tend to be the most powerful, at least money and success wise.
Blimmin men getting all the perks.
Benicio has four sons.
Hector, William, Carlos, and Lucas.
All of his sons, except for Lucas, are eager to follow in Daddys powerful footsteps. All of his sons, except for Lucas, are power hungry, ruthless, and heartless.
Benicio knows this, and therefore is eager to leave his empire to Lucas as an inheritance.
Lucas however, is uninterested. He is an anti Cabal activist, and a lawyer and private investigator.
Lucas is a do gooder basically, and doesnt see how he can do good, whilst working for the money power hungry Cabals.
Unfortunatly for Hope Adams (our heroine), she owes the Cortez Cabal, and a debt to a Cabal never goes unpaid.
Hopes job as an investigative journalist helps her chao cravings. For example, if visiting a murder scene, she can feed off the chaos, without commiting an evil act. Good huh?
Hope however owes Benicio a favour (in a previous book he did her a good deed). The details Benicio gives her are sketchy...but it involves posing as a young supernatural, and joining a group of youngsters that are causing trouble for the Cabals.
I shall stop giving plot away now. If I can.
This story is really about Hopes internal struggle. She wants to be good, but finds it rather easy to be bad. Hope has to try very very hard not to embrace her demonic side, and its this conflict that makes "personal demon" realistic. We dont really find out until the end whether Hopes humanity or her demon win out.
One thing I love about Kelley Armstrongs books, is her character descriptions. Each character has a backstory, and plausible motivation for their actions.
The history she has created is impressive.
Her books introduce us to several *races*.
Half demons, Necromancers, shamans, sorcerers, vampires, werewolves and witches are mentioned. The mythology is consistent, so its easy to forget that this is fantasy.
Whilst Hope is an interesting, and conflicted character, I found that previous narrators in The Women of the Otherworld series were more interesting. Im sure this is down to personal preference, and it wouldnt have been something that would have occured to me had I not read the previous books.
I much prefered reading about the witches and the werewolves in previous books. The whole half demon thing didnt really do it for me...mainly because I feel like Hope got the short end of the stick. The only power she really has is to feed from chaos. I would much prefer to be able to move things with my mind.
There is a lot of backstory in this book...which is fine and dandy, and serves a purpose. Very useful if you have not read previous books. I however found this all a bit drawn out and tedious. This is fair enough though. Armstrong mythology is fairly complex, so its understandale that some of this needs to be explained for new readers, or to refresh old ones.
The climax of the book is wonderful, but it helps to have read previous books to fully understand it. References are made to previous revelations, and they might confuse or disapoint new readers.
Another problem is that whilst the dual narration is interesting and fresh, it can also sometimes complicate things, which leads to the story becoming a little choppy. Again, its down to personal preference, but I find it easier to read when a plotline flows, rather than swaps and changes from perspective to perspective.
This book, whilst not a cliffhanger, sets up interesting events for future books. There are revelations in this novel that will highly impact future novels, and I just cant wait for the next one to see how all of this pans out.
There is lots of lovely romance in personal demon. There are two particular love affairs, involving both narrators, but not with each other. Its always nice to have a bit of love and lust in a book like this, and "personal demon" doesnt point.
Hope and Karls (a previous character) relationship, reffered to in previous books, is resolved. which is nice. I like it when loose ends are tied.
We also get to read a fair amount about Lucas and Paige, familiar and favorite characters.
This book is somewhat more violent, and scary than others. This is a plus point for me, but perhaps not for other people. The murder count is high, and whilst this is not a gorefest, in places its quite chilling.
This is a proper page turner. I finished it all in one go, over a few hours. The action was consistent, and generally fast paced.
If you are interested in reading this book, my biggest tip would be to start with the very first "Women of the otherworld" book, and start from there.
Whilst this isnt compulsory, I think "personal demon" is far more enjoyable when you have a grasp of the backstory.
For more information on Kelley Armstrong, visit her website.
"Personal Demon" can be bought for £7.74, brand new, on Amazon.
To buy, go here.