Review: Demon Marked

demon markedReviewed by Jen

I’ll say this for the Guardian series: as much as these books are woven together, Meljean Brook does an amazing job of giving them all their own identity.  Each romance is vastly different from the one before. Each hero and heroine is extremely well defined, with unique histories, motivations, and hang-ups. There is no cookie cutter anything.  And yet, they remain cohesive and engaging…. building to a coming crescendo that promises to be fan-freaking-tastic.

Brook shakes things up with a halfling demon herione here.  You might think that she’d be reminiscent of Lillith, but she’s not.  Ash doesn’t have centuries of manipulation and subterfuge under her belt.  In fact, as the book opens, she has no idea who she is –or what she is, for that matter.  She is a patient in a psychiatric hospital, and it takes three years there before she even cares enough to seek out her identity.

She quickly finds out she bears a striking resemblance to a woman named Rachel who went missing several years back.  Her research leads her to Nicolas St Croix (who we met in the last book.) Nicolas was raised by a demon mother and is on a mission to find her and kill her.  Rachel was his girlfriend, and he she died saving his life from his “mom.”  So when Ash shows up wearing Rachel’s face, he figures out she is a demon pretty fast.  Given his history, he expects the worst of her, but they end up striking a bargain: Ash will help Nicolas track down his mother and he’ll help her figure out who she is.

The romance here is slow in coming.  Nicolas is incapable of seeing anything but the worst in Ash.  It’s understandable, given his history.  But she is so fresh and charming.  She has absolutely no ulterior motives or hidden, well, anything.  When she became a demon, she became essentially a blank slate.  She says what she means and she means what she says.  Her emotions take time to form, but once they do, they are pure.  She is funny and blunt, sincere and likable. Then there is Nicolas.  He is all about creating an impenetrable exterior; about getting his revenge at all costs.  But the best part of the romance was in watching his humanity poke out, despite his best efforts to suppress it.  He wanted to so much to hate Ash, yet she wins him over so utterly!  It’s great.

As much as I rooted for the romance and the fantastic sexual tension, I wasn’t sure that I believed in the love 100%.  It felt like it happened really quickly and these two were apart more than they were together.  The pacing was also a bit slower this time around (especially when compared to the last installment.)  Those issues notwithstanding, I still really enjoyed the book. This was thanks largely to Ash, but also because of the peeks at Taylor and Michael… and a big finish to set up the final book.

I’m really excited to see how this is going to flesh out.  But I am very sad that the series is drawing to a close.

Rating: B/B+

Click to purchase: Amazon

Demon Marked
by Meljean Brook
Release Date: September 6, 2011
Publisher: Berkley

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