What are your plans for the week-end? Me, the usual. Reading, blogging and cleaning LOL
Demon Blood by Meljean Brook
published by Berkley in July 2010
Long before she was transformed into a Guardian and trained to fight demons, Rosalia knew darkness all too well. Raised by a demon, Rosalia learned to guard her heart — and her soul — until she found a man worthy of her love. Once, she thought that man would be the powerful vampire, Deacon... until he betrayed the Guardians.
After losing everything to the lies of a demon, Deacon lives only for revenge — and is taken aback when Rosalia offers to help. A vampire who has nothing — who is nothing — isn’t worthy of her attention. But Rosalia wants to do more than just look, and the explosive need between them can’t be held in check. And when Deacon’s vengeful quest creates a dangerous alliance of their enemies, she will be his only hope...
Genre: Paranormal romance
Series: The Guardians, Book #10 (counting novellas)
The Story: Rosalia is a Guardian that has spent most of existence based in Europe where she recruited and trained vampires and oversaw vampires politics. The past year however, she has spent in the hands and fangs of the nosterafu as their unlimited food source. When she returns home to Rome, it is to find out that the vampire community has been wiped out by the nephilim. Determined not to let it happen again, Rosalia hatches a plan to destroy all nephilim... but first, she needs to unite the vampire communities and to do so, she needs Deacon.
Deacon was the leader of Prague's community until he was threatened by a demon and had to betray the Guardians. Persona non grata everywhere he goes, Deacon has only one purpose in life left: avenge his people by killing as many of Belial's demon as possible. Deacon has no interest in Rosalia's scheme, except she has intel and resources that he doesn't... and thus, he finds himself playing along.
My Opinion: All right, I should probably start by saying I didn't read Demon Forged, the book that comes before. I did skim it though and so, I didn't feel too lost. In any case, I don't think it mattered really. Demon Blood was just so good and clever, I was so absorbed by it that I needed to know what would happen next and I ended up staying up very late ^_^;
The two main characters, Rosalia and Deacon, were great. Rosalia's character especially because of her complexity and her many layers. She is extremely smart and an amazing strategist. Definitively someone that the Guardians need on their side with their small number. Her plan to destroy the nephilim was simply brilliant. Throughout the book, she had to walk a fine line, but never crossed it to become ruthless in order for her plan to succeed at any cost. She faced many tough choices, but she never shied from it and also, never lost sight of what was important and the goal. In short, her focus was amazing and it's even better that she was able to keep her integrity. What is most admirable though was her loyalty to her brother, even if he didn't deserve it, to her son and everyone she cared about. While her character was great, Rosalia isn't a character that you love. You like her, sympathize with/for her... but I think because of her actions and thinking, it's hard to love her... and that just makes her even more realistic in my opinion. So kudos to Ms Brook for writing such a character. As for Deacon, I liked him. He could be as dangerous as Rosalia, but he just doesn't have the desire for it. He's the kind of hero that is so honorable that he'll take on responsibilities because it needs to be done and not because he wants them. What he went through - losing his people and his lovers, becoming a pariah - and surviving it just shows you how strong he is... and this just reinforces his personality, not destroy it. While he was on his assignments with Rosalia, he didn't want to care, but just couldn't help it. The reluctant type is so often the best to become a leader, because you know he'll be good at it. That is exactly Deacon.
I'm really glad that Deacon and Rosalia found each other and fell for each other... because they are what each other needs. Ms Brook did a good job inserting the romance in the storyline. If you look at the overall picture, I do think the romance was the weakest aspect of Demon Blood; however, it was still very satisfying. There was two issues for me. First, the fact that Deacon seemed to overcome the loss of his two lovers. I don't know really what was the dynamics between the three and this could be because I skipped Demon Forged. Obviously, Deacon cared deeply about them, but was it love? I think it was hard for me to believe that after he's been through such a traumatic event and losing his lovers, he'd be willing to open his heart again. The second issue was the fact that Deacon believed Rosalia loved someone else... while really, she's been pining for Deacon for 80 years. I felt this is a misunderstanding the two could have done without.
The story is very interesting and complex and I really enjoyed it. It's not the twists, but how it was thought out, the planning, that makes it simply brilliant. Also, tactically, it's something that really makes sense to me. I love seeing Rosalia and Deacon visiting community after community, fighting together and getting rid of the enemy. In addition, Ms Brook is taking care of the overall story-arc. It's easy to perceive that Ms Brook knows where she's heading to, there's no necessary scene,but best of all, she doesn't sacrifice anything in order to achieve it.
Oh, those who were expecting to see Lilith and Hugh (like me!) will be a bit disappointed :( I think the only actual recurring characters that we get to see are Irena, Alek and Taylor. In the end, I think this was a great move, moving the whole storyline to Europe. It allowed Ms Brook to really focus on the vampire aspect of this world. So far, most of the books in this series have revolved around the Guardians and it isn't a bad thing... but it wasn't what Demon Blood was about. Demon Blood is predominantly about vampires and so a little distance from San Francisco was good. As for the Taylor/Michael thing... I'm not sure how I feel about it. I've never been very fond of Michael and I've only seen Taylor in Demon Angel. It'll be interesting to see what Ms Brook does with them... how she'll make it more interesting.
My Grade: Demon Blood is a B++ for me. I really enjoyed it. Ms Brook really has it all in Demon Blood and The Guardians series in general. Great world building: check; complex and interesting characters: check; clever and twisted plot: check and of course, amazing writing LOL. Perhaps the romance could have been stronger... Ultimately though, I think the fact that I couldn't love Rosalia is the reason why I can't give this an A though.