September 2008, Fantasy Romance
Forever, $6.99, 320 pages, Amazon ASIN 0446199478
Of all the variations on fantasy romances, Iím least comfortable with those involving demons, so imagine my dismay when the romantic suspense I thought I was going to review turned out to be the first in Rita Herronís new Demon Born series. I tried to keep an open mind, but Insatiable Desire failed to redeem the genre for me and only reinforced all the reasons Iíve stayed away from demon stories in the past.
When Vincent Valtrez was young, his demon father killed his mother in his presence. He, in turn, killed his father, but he doesnít remember anything about that night or how he got out of the cursed forest alive. Years later, heís an FBI agent with no attachments; he never sleeps with the same woman twice and has no family and no friends because he believes himself to be evil. When he gets the call to return to his hometown of Eerie, Tennessee (of course the townís name is Eerie), he dreads the job, mostly because a former childhood friend is involved in the case.
Two women are dead Ė killed by different methods, both seemingly accidental. No one would think anything of it, except local psychic Clarissa King speaks to the dead and says that theyíre connected murders and the killing isnít about to stop. Another body appears, and it is discovered that each woman is killed by what she fears most - drowning, spiders, bloody torture, and so on. Clarissa knows itís not a human doing it. The demon responsible is collecting souls before the Zion, Vincentís father, rises. Clarissa is his ultimate prize.
I found nothing appealing about Vincent. Even in my limited experience, he felt like an unoriginal stock half-demon hero, closely mimicking the hero of the only other demon book Iíve read. When I described him to those more versed in the genre, they thought I was talking about a different book featuring a hero with the same characteristics. Vincent is solitary, convinced heís evil, refuses to form relationships, and has a ridiculous sex drive. Thatís about it. I felt no attraction to him; instead, he annoyed me. Maybe my impatience is partly because I dislike characters who are convinced they are going to be evil because their parents were. I donít believe that for a second, and it drives me crazy when characters whine and torture everyone around them because they want to ďsaveĒ others from their ďevil influence.Ē
Vincent and Clarissa failed as a couple as well. They lacked chemistry and nothing led me to believe that they loved each other except that the author told us they did. I have no idea why she fell in love with him since he treated her like crap when he wasnít rushing around trying to save her ass. Their HEA was unbelievable to me.
The plotline wasnít bad, I suppose. It used a combination of different religions and mythologies that I found interesting at first and annoyingly convenient later as Herron seemed to pick and choose what she wanted to use and what she didnít, even if they contradicted. The manner of deaths (by the victimís greatest fear) was pretty creative and, though the mystery wasnít a complete surprise, it wasnít exactly what I thought it was either.
However, it was just too bloody for me - not necessarily graphic, just gross. Exploding animals and bloody, skeletal corpses following Clarissa around were too much. I also like my "woo woo" stories to be at least partially grounded in reality, and this one seemed a bit too fantastical, the characters too accepting of the supernatural.
Maybe, if you usually enjoy demon romances, you might like this one. But it just completely failed in interesting me in the genre, and I wonít be picking up the sequels.
-- Jane Granville
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