Series: Fairwick Chronicles #1
Published by Ballantine Books on 27 December 2011
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Paranormal
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The Demon Lover is the story of Callie, a young woman who has finished her PhD in literature - with her main focus on fairy tales and Gothic novels. She grew up with her parents' fairy tales and stories surrounding her, until they died in an accident when she was 12. After her parents death, she moved in with her strict grand-mother, and she started having strange dreams in which a fairy tale prince told her more stories. Callie moves to Fairwick where she gets a position as a lecturer in their folklore department, even if her long-time boyfriend Paul is still finishing his studies in California. As soon as Callie gets to Fairwick, she falls in love with a house, and it seems to be mutual...
*I received a free ARC of The Demon Lover from Random House / Ballantine Books via Netgalley in exchange of an honest review*
When Callie decides to take the job she is offered in Fairwick, little does she know just how much her life will change. She is amazed at their folklore department, and the library at the college is more than she could ever dream of. She sees herself writing more books as well as teaching students who are interested in gothic literature and fairy tales. The Demon Lover starts out with Callie arriving for her interview, and how she isn’t sure if she wants the job or not. However, the Honeysuckle house makes her change her mind very quickly. The house seems to call out to her, and she can’t imagine living anywhere else. An added bonus is that the house used to belong to one of her favorite authors, Dahlia La Motte, who also wrote gothic romances with a paranormal twist.
I loved the mythology used in The Demon Lover, there is really a little bit for everyone in there, but it never felt crowded. There are descendants of Norse Gods, Sumerian wind spirit, fairies, brownies, witches and vampires. Of course, there is a little problem with a very persistent Incubus, who has also put all his devotion and effort into seducing Callie. At the same time, it is interesting to note that the book Callie has published as a part of her thesis is about a Succubus who comes to unsuspecting women in their dreams – only to suck them try over a more or less long period of time.
As the story progresses, there are a lot of things happening, both in the life of the college, in Callie’s personal life and with everything supernatural that surrounds her. Callie learns more about her roots, and at first, she is very level-headed and strong when she finds out she has a different heritage than she had thought. However, in some instances, her self-doubt was pretty strong, and I thought she should have believed in herself more than she did. She remembered some things from her childhood that made me think she was very gifted, but she looked at it the completely opposite way – thinking she had no power whatsoever.
At Thanksgiving, Callie has her first real run-in with the Incubus, whom she banishes with the help of some of her colleagues who also appear to not be completely human. The aftermath of the banishment is epic, with a huge ice-storm, and the whole town of Fairwick is cut of from the rest of the world. The Demon Lover might be gone, but so is the rest of the world for a short period. In this instance, Callie is able to stay calm and focused, even if she isn’t sure the right thing to do was to banish the Incubus who had visited her at night, and given her some very steamy memories to go with her childhood memories of a fairy tale prince who only told stories.
The writing flows very well most of the time, but some of the imagery used was a little strange to me – it could be that it was added to bring on the Gothic feel a little more, but I thought some of it was a little bit cheesy. I still really wanted to read more, though, and both the plot and the story were very well done. I did manage to guess who the character was who was doing something bad to several students and staff, but that could be more because I was really trying to solve the mystery than foreshadowing that was too heavy. Because I really was looking for clues every place I could – and this also made me look in the wrong direction a couple of times.
If you enjoy novels with a Gothic feel, where there are several different kinds of paranormal creatures, a female character that is both strong and vulnerable The Demon Lover is definitely a book you should pick up! I loved the literature references, the pointing to different cultures and the mythology. Even the secondary characters were fleshed out, and felt as real as the main characters. The fact that Callie wasn’t perfect really appealed to me! She was just like a normal person who tried her best, and sometimes she managed to get things right, others not completely.
The ending left me wanting more, and I’m glad to know that there are more books in the Fairwick Chronicles series. There are still several aspects of the mythology that can be explored. Callie has more to learn about herself as well, and her clever grand-mother has managed to put her in a position that might end up being quite complicated.
Here are a few quotes to get you salivating :
“It’s like it doesn’t want us to leave,” I said, looking back at the house from the front lawn. Shuttered, it looked sad and glowering. “That may well be,” Dory snapped, sucking her thumb, “but we can’t all have everything we want.”
Great, now I was becoming like on o f the heroines of the books I wrote about, jumping at noises and imagining faces in the mist.
“Because you’ve made a study of him,” Soheila replied calmly, but giving me a quizzical look. “That is the Ganconer, as he’s called in Celtic myth. His name means ‘love talker.’ In Sumerian myth he was called Lilu. He’s the incubus who rides his horse, the night mare, into the dreams of women whom he seduces.”[…]
It struck me suddenly as odd that although I’d written about supernatural creatures – vampires, fairies, incubi, I’d never once stopped to think they might be real.