This guest review is brought to you by Jill Myles, author, friend and blogging partner of Meljean Brook. We will have a review of Demon Forged by Janet (aka Robin) next week.
Dear Meljean Brook:
I’ve struggled to write this review a little. In fact, this is the second time I’ve tried to write it on paper, and probably the ninth draft from my head.
Disclaimer – you and I blog together and we are friends, but…I was a friend to your series (does that sound lame? Can I say that?) long before we’d ever said hello. I was first introduced to the Guardians when Jane Litte of Dear Author raved about DEMON ANGEL. Hello, angel story? I am there. It wasn’t until much later that we became friends, but I wanted to throw this out in the open lest someone think I have bias, and I guess I do.
Some of your books I have loved more than others. DEMON BOUND was my absolute favorite, and some of the others were less…favorite… (I’m looking at you, DEMON NIGHT) but were still excellent reads. For me, your books are a consistent treat – when I want dense, layered storytelling, an epic plot and damn hot sex, I reach for one of your books. And when I told Jane how much I loved your new book and how groundshaking it was as a faithful reader, she invited me to come do this review.
I’m not so good with reviews so I’ll try and hit a laundry list of things. I like lists, you see. (Editorial note, lists have numbers or letters, Jill, or at least bullet points).
DEMON FORGED is the story of Irena and Alejandro, both Guardians. Irena can control and sculpt metal, and Alejandro can control fire. 400 years ago, they were lovers until a demon broke them apart. And naturally they are thrown back together again for the storyline of the novel. (I’m not going to recap the entire plot because I am really, really really bad at recaps. Honest. What you need to know is that Irena kicks ass, and Alejandro kicks ass, and at some point they both get together, kick other people’s asses, and then do hot, nasty things to each other. End recap.)
I know you have gotten crap in the past about your dense storylines. And it’s true – there is a ton packed into every Meljean Brook novel. This is no fluffy bunny tale that you can breeze through in an hour. Your novels are complex, detailed, layered in plot. The worldbuilding is incredible. I think you’ve thought of everything, and it shows. Can you pick up DEMON FORGED if you haven’t read the other books in the series? I think so. The story starts off following Irena closely. Will you be completely lost? Maybe for a brief while.
I have a small confession to make: I suck at remembering ongoing storylines. While I recall characters, I never remember what happened in the last book, so I basically start fresh with every novel as well. So while I do think some readers will be initially confused, trust Meljean Brook that she will lead you through the story and hook you in. (And if you need a bit more help, there’s always the Primer here: http://meljeanbrook.com/books/the-guardian-series/primer )
If you’re someone that has followed the Guardians series for a while, though, I have two words for you: HOLY CRAP.
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If books in a series were playing cards…you just played your ace, Meljean Brook. DEMON FORGED takes everything you knew about the Guardians and their world, shakes it up, breaks it, and then leaves you begging for mercy. This book was impossible to predict, and breathtaking with the way it steamrolled me right to the very last page.
(For those of you worrying, worry not! There’s a definite happily ever after and it’s a good one – it’s just everything else that goes BOOM.)
So I won’t spoil it for you, but just want to say that it was pretty awesome. And I probably cried 3 or 4 times at the end (one scene in particular between Colin and Savi left me breathless) but it was a good cry, not a devastating cry like I did at the end of the Disney’s Pocahontas movie.
(Forgive but never forget, people. Hero sailing away at the end? FAIL.)
I’m going to take a different angle from some of the other reviewers I have seen. While I fell in love with Alejandro from the first (and really, all of your heroes punch my buttons), I found Irena hard to love. She is stubborn like a mule, impossible to please, and tends to snarl at everyone. But by the middle of the book, I understood what made her tick. And by the end of the book, I was rooting for her, even though she wasn’t my favorite heroine of yours. Some people go for the anti-heroine and some people go for the pretty princess heroine. I’m a pretty princess heroine girl myself, but if I have to go for a nail-your-nuts-to-the-wall-and-make-you-like-it heroine, Irena does the job admirably well.
To be honest, the thing that stuck out in my mind the most in this book were the supporting characters. Michael and his hinted-at-heroine had me riveted. I lived for when Jake appeared on the page. And Rosalia won me over the moment she appeared on screen. Not that the rest of the book wasn’t good, mind you. But I really love some of your quirkier characters, and was just crazy about Michael. CRAZY.
Oh, and one more thing to mention. You write some really sexy stuff. Demon Forged is the hottest book so far. The scene with the forge is ONLY surpassed by the scene with the statue. Barely. Hot stuff. So, there’s my review for Demon Forged.
If you are a fan of the Guardian Series, you absolutely must pick up this book. Absolutely. In fact, go pre-order it right now.
If you are thinking about trying the Guardian Series but not sure if this is the right book to pick up, I say YES, but with a note of warning. You will be doing a little catching up in the beginning, but I feel that Brook is an author you can trust to bring everything full circle and make sense of things.
A solid A- from me. And the minus is because I have to be objective. Or something
This book can be purchased at Amazon or in ebook format from Sony or other etailers starting tomorrow, October 6, 2009.