Tuesday, 11 March 2008
‘Personal Demon’ – Kelley Armstrong (Orbit Books)
I told you that it wouldn’t be too long before I picked this up! Kelley Armstrong’s ‘No Humans Involved’ was a flawed but fun read and certainly enough to make me bump ‘Personal Demon’ up the pile of books taking over my bedroom…
Hope Adams is a half-demon and a pretty special one at that; she is one of only a handful of demons in the world that can detect the flow of raw chaos and this makes her a pretty useful person to have on a murder scene or if something chaotic is about to happen. This talent has brought Hope to the attention of a Cabal (think Mafia but with sorcerers) in Miami and she is hired to infiltrate a gang of supernatural teenagers and report on their activities. However, the arrival of a killer on the scene forces everyone to re-evaluate their plans and Hope must seek help from unexpected quarters whilst trying not to give into her urge for chaos.
As with ‘No Humans Involved’, ‘Personal Demon’ is a detective story and one that is masterfully written. I’m really bad for skipping to the end of books (to see how they turn out) and there was no exception here. For me; it was a measure of how good the book was that I saw the ending (‘whodunnit’) and was still surprised by it after having gone back and picked up where I left off. There are many twists and turns to be found and this kept me guessing (and interested) the whole way through. A pretty big element of the plot is seemingly discarded halfway through the book, and I did find this confusing, but everything is more or less tied up by the end. The book is relatively fast paced as well which I found demanded my attention throughout, especially when Armstrong ramps up the action! It’s more of a ‘stand alone’ book, than its predecessor, and although some background knowledge is beneficial ‘Personal Demon’ is a book where you can just jump in and get going.
I did have a couple of issues with the book though… ‘Personal Demon’ is told through the perspective of Hope Adams and one other character and if you don’t keep an eye on the chapters (easily done) then things can get very confusing indeed! This is especially true when both characters appear in the same chapter; there were times when I had to re-read passages to see who was talking… Hope’s character can sometimes feel like a bit of a non-starter as well. While you get to learn a lot about her, Hope’s anxiety about losing control over her power means that she keeps a tight lid on things and we don’t get to see what happens when she really does lose control. Maybe this will be looked at in later books but I felt like an opportunity was missed now…
On the whole though ‘Personal Demon’ was a very entertaining read that really engaged me, a nice slice of ‘Urban Fantasy’ in a series that I may have to go back to and read more.
Eight out of Ten