Thursday, April 23, 2009

Debut Graduate: The Trouble with Demons

The Trouble with Demons (Amazon USA, UK, Canada)
by Lisa Shearin
Ace Books - MM Paperback
Excerpt

I can't imagine anyone who enjoyed Magic Lost, Trouble Found and Armed and Magical being disappointed by The Trouble with Demons. For this novel, Ms. Shearin turned up the darkness, turned up the romantic tension, and turned down the snark. All without sacrificing action or fun. Plus, it's thicker!

Raine's chaotic world gets even more so in The Trouble With Demons when someone opens a Hellgate, releasing a legion of demons on the Isle of Mid. They want something, and naturally, Raine is at the thick of it. The sentient rock known as the Saghred is also up to some unexpected tricks, and is snaring all of Raine's friends in its clutches. Talk about piling on the problems!

I was glad to see the reduction in snarkiness. Armed and Magical bordered on being a bit too snarky for my taste, but in The Trouble with Demons, Raine doles out the sweetness as well as the snark. I was afraid that my Raine was going to turn out to be a bit too sharp-edged, but happily, it is not so.

Ms. Shearin has been teasing her blog readers (myself included) all year with hints about the triangle between Raine, Tam and Mychael, which she brings to a new level in this novel. It wasn't what I expected, and I was pleasantly surprised. I was also glad that there aren't too many sexual things going on, or too much rivalry. After all, only two weeks have passed since the events in Magic Lost, Trouble Found. And I think I can see Raine developing a preference between the two men.

I'll get my nit-picks over with. When there isn't mind-reading going on, a surprising number of characters are able to not only guess Raine's thoughts, but respond to them as if she said them aloud. I think this sort of thing should be done only occasionally, otherwise Raine will start to seem too transparent. Also, the timing in the ending seemed a bit off. The tension seemed drawn out over too many pages. If you imagine the novel's tension as a hill, it rose up to a plateau and then stayed there for quite a while before the final resolution. At one point, it seemed like a certain female demon waited around until Raine was finished with what she was doing before continuing with her evil schemes.

Enough with the critiques. The action is nonstop. When you have a demon infestation, it does tend to keep you hopping. Especially when they start popping out of the toilet. The actual ending was great, including some very welcome developments with Sarad Nukpana, Rudra Muralin and Raine's father, Eamaliel Anguis. Raine also has a new determination to focus her efforts on parting herself from the Saghred. The novel is very racy, but not at all sexy. Does that make sense? Map lovers will be thrilled with the new map at the front of the book. Now all it needs is a appendix full of names, concepts, and foreign words and phrases. Hint, hint!

Some fun speculations: I think--THINK--I know how the Saghred storyline will resolve. In this novel, two new concepts are introduced, which I won't give away here. I can imagine how Raine can bring these two things together to destroy the Saghred. I love being able to guess at these things, but I also like it when I'm completely wrong. One thing I hope to see in the next volume--a return to Mermeia, the canal-city locale of the first book. I just loved that setting, with all its districts, each having its own mood and character. Especially the Ruins.

The Trouble With Demons delivers shovelfuls of fun, which is exactly what we have come to expect from this series. This series is great for urban fantasy lovers who might need a vampire break. It's Jennifer Rardin meets Terry Brooks, but substitute sexy goblins for vampires. The action is nonstop, the relationships are deepening, the ending was satisfying (for now) and there are lots of twists and surprises. The final two chapters serve as a sort of epilogue, which only whets the reader's appetite for the next book in the series.

14 comments:

Lisa Shearin said...

Wow, Tia, what a fun and insightful review! Yep, you're right -- an appendix of names and terms might start to come in handy after this book. It's definitely the longest book in the series so far. What can I say? There was just so much story that needed to be told. ; ) I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

Lisa

Kimber An said...

Great review, Tia! I'm about to post mine too.

Tia Nevitt said...

Thanks Lisa and Kimber! Lisa, be sure to get on them about that appendix. ;) Especially since people from book one are starting to make a re-appearance.

Chicory said...

Does Quentin Rand come back? No, don't tell me! I just have to keep repeating `less than a week until my pre-order comes. Less than a week until my pre-order comes...' Great review by the way. Except that hearing about the book makes it harder to wait...

Tia Nevitt said...

SOMEBODY from book one makes a re-appearance. Actually, at least two somebodies. But I ain't saying who!

Lisa Shearin said...

LOL! Tia, now I'm sitting here wondering "who is it that comes back from Book 1?" Pretty bad when the author can't remember. ; ) Though I've got so many books going in my head, it's no wonder.

Tia Nevitt said...

A certain goblin mentor? A certain influential elf? Of course, the elf didn't make a direct appearance, but it was still most interesting!

Lisa Shearin said...

Oh yeah! (smacks self in forehead) Duh!

Jo said...

Awesome review! I am SO excited for this book! I can't wait to read it! :)

Tia Nevitt said...

Thanks for the laugh, Lisa! You had me doubting my own memory.

Thank you, Jo! I hope you like it!

Pissenlit said...

Argh! WANT! *makes grabby motions at computer screen*

daydream said...

Hi, I am a bit embarrassed by the spamming and such, but I am organizing a new event for review bloggers to get to know other review bloggers [mainly because I want to interact with the community]. It’s called “Reviewer Time” and will post each Sunday a review of a review blog and an interview of its owner and contributors, if any are game.

I really like your blog and such, so I hope you would be game. Here is the link for the original post, where you can sign up for the interview part at least, if you want to: http://templelibraryreviews.blogspot.com/2009/04/anniversary.html

Kristen said...

Thanks for the great review Tia! It sounds as though I need to start reading this series.

Fantasy Dreamer said...

I need to check out this series, it sounds like something I'd like to read. Thanks for the review.