Tuesday, July 9, 2013

#ParanormalRomance #BookReview: DemonFire by Kate Douglas

DemonFire is the first book in Kate Douglas's 4-part DemonSlayers series. Based on the series name, you might expect the heroine, Eddy Marks, to be the tattooed, leather-jacketed, tough-as-nails heroine typical of urban fantasy. Actually, she's a reporter in a small northern California town near Mount Shasta. Her life is pretty normal, expect for the fact that her father, Ed, believes in a lost continent of people who live not under the ocean like the Atlantians, but inside the mountain.

In accordance with The Legend of Chekhov*, which states, "When the heroes of a story are told a legend, myth, or fairy tale, you can almost guarantee that the story is true and that the heroes will have to deal with it at some point," the Lemurians who live in Mount Shasta are real. When you think of the Lemurians, think of the elves from the Lord of the Rings books/movies. They're a tall, placid, beautiful people with long, flowing hair and are immortal. 

Although the Lemurian crown prince, Alton, is a major character in this novel, he is not the hero. The hero is Dax, a fallen demon (not a fallen angel, but a born-demon who has rejected The Abyss to become good) who must prevent the escape of the other, much more malevolent demons, which threatens not only the earth but also the paradise dimension, Eden. Dax is able to take on human form for seven days only, and borrows the body of a young American man killed in France in World War II. 

Although they know they can only have one week together, Eddy and Dax are destined to fall in love. 

Note the unflattering haircut on the female cover model. It looks like she had a cute pixie cut, and then someone badly Photoshopped longer hair in behind her head.

I enjoyed the "we only have one week together" twist on the traditional paranormal romance; it helped make this novel more suspenseful. The final chapter is especially suspenseful. It was one of those books that had me flipping to see how many pages were left to see if the story could be wrapped up before the pages ran out. 

Thus far, the DemonSlayer series is not nearly as sexually charged as Kate Douglas's ultra-erotic Wolf Tales series, although this book is an erotic romance.  Eddy and Dax are reluctant to have sex at first because their impending separation will be so painful, but their bodies are drawn to each other. A common theme in many of Kate Douglas's works that I've read is the healing power of love - and, yes, of sex as well - and this book is no exception. It's a nice twist that Dax has never been in a human body before and is really discovering physical pleasure for the first time, which makes for some really hot and emotionally charged sex scenes. I did enjoy those parts of the book. 

The next book in the series promises to introduce a potential romance for Alton, with Eddy's friend who's a 9-1-1 dispatcher. 

I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads

The Folklore: Dax's true, demon form is sometimes a six-limbed, dragon-like creature, sometimes a snake-like creature, and sometimes a black mist. His human body has a living tattoo of a snake in which his demon powers are stored. The tattoo seems to be alive independent of Dax, and sometimes it tries to attack him. Eddy has the power to calm and soothe it. 

Dax has as his earthly companion Willow, a name that stands for Will O' The Wisp. Also called a sprite, she takes the form of a small blonde woman with blue wings who sparkles with blue energy. Her job is to pull energy out of her surroundings to funnel to Dax. With the energy Willow provides, Dax is able to shoot fire and ice from his human hands, an ability he'd normally have in his demon form. 

The will o' the wisp is a fascinating feature of Northern European and other world folklore. (Rural Argentinians have a strong folkloric tradition of them - they're called Luz Mala in Spanish - as do aboriginal Australians.) You can read quite a bit about it on Wikipedia. That encyclopedia entry associates the will o' the wisp with the hinkypunk of English legend, which of course we all know from the Harry Potter series. Professor Lupin taught Harry and his classmates to battle hinkypunks - which Rowling describes as having the appearance of smoke - in their third-year Defense Against the Dark Arts class. 

The appearance of "ghost lights" or will o' the wisps in graveyards and marshlands is explained scientifically by photon emissions produced from the oxidation of methane and other gases produced by decaying organic materials. The Enlightenment-era physicist Alessandro Volta, for whom electrical volts are named, was among the first scientists to study the phenomenon. 

Literary Aside: Volta is credited with discovering methane. As an interesting literary aside, Volta was a vocal opponent of anatomist Luigi Galvani's theory that electricity was what made living things alive. Galvani could show experimentally, using a rudimentary battery cell, that electricity could cause muscular contractions in dead frogs. His experiments are some of what inspired Mary Shelley to write Frankenstein - sometimes considered the first science fiction novel. But I digress. If you want to know more, you could read An Entertainment for Angels: Electricity in the Age of Enlightenment by Patricia Fara.

What I'm Reading Next: The third book in Jackie Kessler's Hell on Earth series, Hotter Than Hell

Disclosure: I purchased DemonFire with my own funds - I believe I bought it several years ago while Borders was still in business. I was not compensated for this review in any way, shape or form. It represents my own honest opinion. 

*You can thank, or blame, Jinni for introducing me to TVTropes.org

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