Some of my favorite book buddies pushed me hard toward this series, but I can’t say that I’m sold. I had a really hard time connecting with this story. It had its moments, but there were times I really had to push myself to keep reading. The world-building is interesting and the sex is satisfying, but the pacing is a real problem. There were big chunks that lagged… and the major time jumps in the first third of the book made the story very choppy and kept me from forming any real attachment to the hero or the heroine.
Here’s the setup: Back in really olden times, Hugh was a good an idealistic knight. Lillith, meanwhile, was about a thousand years into her deal with the devil. She was a human-demon hybrid with a mission to hasten the deaths of hellbound souls. And if she could point a good guy down the wrong path, all the better. At first, she sees Hugh as an opportunity to garner another soul for her master, but she quickly becomes taken with the young knight. He doesn’t fall for her tricks, but he also unpredictable and unflappable. When her plans to corrupt him go awry, he actually ends up fighting on Team Angel, as a Guardian.
Thus begins the next 800 years of their bizarre courtship. They are on opposite sides, but there is an undeniable pull between them. It never manifests beyond a little wordplay and few bartered kisses, but the longer they play their game, the more they become truly bound to one another. Until the present day, when Hugh falls from grace and chooses to live out the rest of his mortal life. He tries to free Lillith the only way he knows how, but he really only sets up the final chapter of their battle. Ultimately, she must choose between saving Hugh or her own soul — a tough call for anyone, much less someone so jaded by centuries of service and torture.
Clearly, Meljean Brook has a lot to cover here… not only in the very long running relationship between Hugh and Lillith, but in this vast world of Guardians and Demons. There are also vampires, nosferatu, hellhounds, and some high level badguys all named after some incarnation of the devil. It was hard to keep all the players straight, much less all of their plots and schemes and alternative identities. I got confused more than once. Frankly, I thought the book was too long and too complicated. I lost focus on the romance, which kept me from being very invested.
It wasn’t all bad, though. I liked both the hero and the heroine and believed in their struggles, as well as their true affection for one another. The sexual tension was great and the love scenes were hot. (Virgin Hero alert!) Brook did a good job laying the foundation for future books. Obviously, the vampire Colin’s story is next. I am curious enough to give it a try. I am only hoping that it will be less disjointed with a smaller scope of time and without the need for so much foundation-building.
Click to purchase: Amazon
by Meljean Brook
Release Date: January 2, 2008