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Book Review and Giveaway: Demon Forged by Meljean Brook

Title: Demon Forged

Author: Meljean Brook

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Publisher: Berkley
Publishing Date: October 6, 2009
Paperback: 432 pages

Stand Alone or series: 5th full length novel in the Guardian series (8th if you count the 3 novelas). The books are written such that one could theoretically read them as stand alone novels, but I would highly recommend reading at least the full-length novels in succession to minimize confusion, and to get a better sense of the overall universe and continuity.This link will take you to our reviews of previous books as well as an interview and articles from the author.

Summary: Four centuries ago, Irena and Alejandro would have succumbed to the need smoldering between them — if a demon and a monstrous bargain hadn’t shattered the possibility of love. Torn apart by shame, Irena avoided Alejandro for centuries — until a vampire’s call for help throws her into his arms again.

Alejandro can control fire, but he’s never been able to control — or quench — the flames between him and Irena. And he knows Irena, hardened by her hatred for demonkind, will never accept that he now works at a demon’s behest. But even as he fights for a second chance, a shocking betrayal and a deadly prophecy shake the foundations of the Guardian universe, and all Hell threatens to break loose…

Why did I read the book: I am a devoted fan of this series. I read every single word written by Meljean Brook and I love all of them. I could have book babies with this series, that’s how much I love it.

Review:

Wow. I don’t even know where to start. This series is SO consistently good, this book is SO amazing (I want to have book babies with it). I feel like screaming from the top of my lungs: WORLD! READ THIS, ENJOY THIS!!!

_____________

Picking up where Demon Bound left off, the Guardians are working on the Prophecy that predicts that Belial will rise whilst at the same time trying to fight the Nephilim and assorted Demons. A few of the Guardians are still trying to come to grips with the news that Michael, the Doyen, is one of the Grigori, half human, half demon, son of Belial himself. As Demon Forged starts, two Guardians, Alejandro and Irena, are in Rome to meet with a vampire called Deacon and help him to get rid of a Nosferatu. They end up finding a nest of the creatures and an entrapped Guardian, Rosalia. They release the woman and destroy the nosferati and take Deacon with them to SI, which end up being a Very Big Mistake. The Nephilim, the Grigori, the vampires and the Guardians are all entangled in the ages long fight between Belial, Anaria and Lucifer for supremacy in hell and the story arc which started in Demon Angel and expanded in Demon Bound, reaches The Point of No Return: now it is only a matter of time (or two more books) until the climax of this fascinating, stupendous story.

Demon Forged is equal parts Romance, equal parts Big Picture plot. Alejandro and Irena’s story is central but completely connected with the overall story arc. We have seen Irena and Alejandro in Demon Bound and we knew that they had a Big History (very much reminiscent of Hugh and Lilith’s story) between them. We also knew that their Gifts are somewhat complementary: she is a Forger, he controls Fire. Or in the words of Alejandro she is a hammer, he is a sword. Irena is also the oldest Guardian after Michael, the Doyen and Alejandro was a much young Guardian who once trained with her. They were attracted to each other from the get go and became friends very soon but something went awry and they drifted apart.

Basically, these two have spent 400 years loving each other but being stuck in a complex web of shame and pride that prevented them from getting together ever since Irena had to strike a bargain to save Alejandro’s life. The one thing that you need to know about Irena is that she is uncompromising when it comes to Demons – shoot first, ask questions later, it’s her motto and that is one of the reasons why the need to strike a bargain with one of them is so abhorrent to her. Plus, the very nature of the bargain was horrible in itself. But ultimately, the mater of the fact is this: neither has fought to keep what they had and centuries went by before they come to realise how much time they lost. But there are undercurrents and they have a strong foundation in which to build their relationship.

It is a constant battle for Alejandro between his need and his will. She is so old as to be set in her ways and the need to change, to adapt, to be more flexible, to be able to see the big picture is paramount to her development as a character and a person. It is only when faced with the hope that maybe her relationship with her Olek (Alejandro in her mother tongue) is not an impossibility anymore that she starts to re-think her reactions. This is really great because one cannot happen without the other. The very fact that Irena opens up to Olek again points to the beginnings of change. It comes from love, it comes from hope, it comes from everything that is happening around her. To remain stale, unchanged by her environment would be unrealistic. Similarly, Olek’s need is ignited by the hope he is given by Irena.

They are SO perfect together. Alejandro is another dreamy hero but Irena, Irena is such an extraordinary female protagonist. I accept that I tend to concentrate a lot on the heroes but this has been changing over the past months and I have to say that Meljean Brook writes some of the best, most empowered, women. Independent, strong, capable, they are all of this and more.

Once again, Meljean Brook awes me with the details she infuses her story with. It is the red shoes that people wear, or the way Olek touches his chin, or how Irena decides which language to speak. For example, when they first started working together, when Irena was training Olek she spoke in Russian and he replied in Spanish. After the Incident with the Bargain, Irena only ever speaks French with him because she has to think before she says anything as French is not her mother tongue. The cadence of their respective accents were so very real too.

I have a lot of respect for an author who respects the reader back. Meljean Brook never has her characters behaving like retards. The stakes are extremely high (we are talking about the fate of the world here, after all) and the author plays accordingly, never backing off. In fact the overall story has an UF feel because of that.

We are also back to the discussion about Fate X Free will, a discussion that has increased tenfold with the addiction of the seer Khavi to their ranks. Every action has a meaning and they fall into place. The fighting sequences were superb and again, I need to point out how visual Meljean Brook can be, it is very easy to picture all of it . I loved the sequence where all Guardians make a stand – I am not saying how and why, but it is kick-ass. With each of the Guardians fighting to the best of their abilities and Gifts lead by no other than Jake. It is great how all characters from previous books have a role to play.

Michael appears quite a lot in Demon Forged and we have a good measure of who he is as we are given more glimpses of his past and what the future holds for him, thanks to Khavi. We also learn who his heroine is and I am glad that it is someone we already know – and for a long time. My heart broke a bit for Michael in this book as he becomes more and more human to my eyes. There is also the beginning of a secondary romance between Deacon and Rosalia – the seed is there, planted and I can’t wait to read their story next in Demon Blood. I predict a LOT of angst, which is one of Meljean Brook’s signatures. She sure likes to beat her characters around.

Ultimately Demon Forged is a well-balanced combination of romance and UF elements which knocked my socks off. I have said this before and I say it again: if you are not reading this series you are totally missing out.

I kept thinking, whilst I read it, that Meljean Brook’s strength lies on her carefully orchestrated writing and characters – the latter being like musicians that are deftly conducted by their maestro. The result is like music to my ears – of the highest caliber.

When all is said and done I can’t think of a single thing that I did not like about Demon Forged. I suppose I could mention that there is some info dump about previous events in the series, but this happened early in the book and it actually helped me to get my bearings again. But this is from a strictly intellectual point of view – emotionally speaking, I was enraptured by the story: I laughed, I cried (a lot, the epilogue made me sob), I was anxious about Alejandro and Irena getting together (Oh, the angst, it slays me), I was nervous about everything to the point where I was actually shaking when the grand finale came. And you better be prepared for it too, I had heard that the ending was major but I had no idea how Big and Twisted it was going be. If you like to read the ending first , I urge you not to, this time.

I will just say this, Demon Forged is to this series what The Empire Strikes Back is to Star Wars – a dark, bleak instalment where Huge Things happen by the end. But when push comes to shove and people are asked which of the Star Wars movie is their favourite, Empire Strikes Back is usually their answer as it is mine. Alejandro and Irena are now my favourite couple in the series and Demon Forged has become not only my favourite Guardian book but also one of my top 3 books of 2009.

Ever since I read Demon Angel, I thought that this series was excellent. With Demon Forged it has just become outstanding. Yes, it is THAT good.

Notable Quotes/ Parts: There are so many that I love. All of the interactions between Alejandro and Irena and between Irena and Taylor; the scenes with Colin and Savi; the scenes with Khavi (hey, I have a new crush) and Michael.

Meljean Brook has a couple of excerpts here and here. They are pretty good.

Verdict: Another fantastic, outstanding entry in my favourite PNR series. Meljean Brook can do no wrong in my book , she always delivers top notch writing, amazing romance and an overall story arc that matters. I wish all books I read would make me react like this. Demon Forged is one of my top 3 reads of 2009.

Rating: 10

Reading next: Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

Giveaway details:



We are giving away one copy of the book. To enter, leave a comment here telling us which is your favorite character in the series so far. The contest is open to residents of the US and Canada, and will run until Saturday October 3rd at 11:59pm (pacific). One comment per person, please! Multiple entries will be disqualified. Good luck!

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49 Comments

  • Nadia Lee
    September 28, 2009 at 2:40 am

    It would have to be Lilith. 🙂

  • RKCharron
    September 28, 2009 at 2:44 am

    Hi 🙂
    What a great review!
    “I could have book babies with this series, that’s how much I love it.”
    🙂
    I really liked Charlie Newcomb
    🙂
    All the best,
    RKCharron
    xoxo

  • Chris
    September 28, 2009 at 5:01 am

    Hmm. Charlie or Colin, I think. Although Michael… Hmm.

  • Tricia
    September 28, 2009 at 5:35 am

    I can’t wait for this one! Now, I’m totally excited to read this.

    Just one character? Hmmm. Well, I think it would have to be Jake, because he’s so funny and sweet and yet he does things, you don’t expect!

  • katiebabs
    September 28, 2009 at 5:45 am

    MICHAEL, MICHAEL, MICHAEL.

    This book almost destroyed me while I read it. Talk about an emotional roller coaster.

  • KMont
    September 28, 2009 at 5:52 am

    I have just got to get on with this series. I think I’ve said that though on past reviews here from this series. One day! Mean it!!

  • stacy
    September 28, 2009 at 6:26 am

    I have not read this series…yet, but all the good things I am hearing, it is a must read! I need to be in on this! 🙂

  • Sandy(Strlady)
    September 28, 2009 at 7:05 am

    I recently read the first installment in this series but I did pick up all the books because I loved it so much. Now I just need to get off my butt and read them.

  • Lusty Reader
    September 28, 2009 at 7:23 am

    so wait, i’m confused…how do you really feel about these books?
    *taking tongue out of cheek*

    after reading the psy/changeling series, and finally starting JD Robb’s in Death series this weekend I see that paranormal romance is not nearly as scary as i thought. meljean brooks sounds like another one i now know that i would enjoy! with a back list, yay.

  • Danielle
    September 28, 2009 at 7:32 am

    I haven’t read it yet…I’m such a failure.

  • Elaine G
    September 28, 2009 at 7:36 am

    Sounds like I’m missing out on a great series. Since I haven’t read the series yet I don’t know who a favorite would be.

  • Ava North
    September 28, 2009 at 8:28 am

    Never read the series, but this review has me reaching for it.

  • Maya M.
    September 28, 2009 at 8:29 am

    10!
    *faints*
    *revives*
    No need to enter my name, as my TBR must be wrestled into submissiona and I’ve not yet read the most recent, but anything that has Colin, Savi or Michael in it sounds good to me. Michael becuase he’s, well, Michael, and Colin and Savi because they provided one of the best laughs I’ve ever had while reading.

  • Ana
    September 28, 2009 at 8:59 am

    Maya, there are two INCREDIBLE scenes with Colin and Savi in Demon Forged. One of them is the funniest in the entire book. :mrgreen:

  • Teresa W.
    September 28, 2009 at 9:56 am

    This would be a new series for me!

  • Bree
    September 28, 2009 at 10:03 am

    Savi, without a doubt. I love Ethan, LOVE Lilith, adore Hugh…but Savi. Savi is one of my favorite characters of any series ever. My love for her is boundless and epic. 😀

  • Jill Myles
    September 28, 2009 at 10:11 am

    TEAM JAKE!

    Wait.

    TEAM MICHAEL!

    TEAM BOTH OF THEM. EVEN BOTH OF THEM TOGETHER WOULD BE LOVELY. I’D READ THAT.

    Jill, she of the caps lock

    (PS do not enter me 🙂 I am buying my copy on 10/06 at the store.) :mrgreen:

  • Meljean
    September 28, 2009 at 10:36 am

    Oh, god. Now, thanks to Jill Myles’s comment, I have to show you guys the scene that my editor made me delete from DEMON BOUND.

    Michael was in the middle of the freak courtyard, wearing the loose white shirt and pants that reminded Jake of his granddad’s pajamas. They only lacked stripes.

    Better than the toga, though. Jake didn’t understand how any man could run around in one, but maybe it was about morale. Nothing inspired a guy to keep training like knowing someone in a sheet could kick his ass.

    Though Jake jumped in behind him, Michael didn’t spin around and almost chop off his head as Alice had done. The Doyen continued looking at the fountain, the obelisk in the center and the eerily perfect arc of water that fell without a splash into the pool below. He glanced over when Jake moved even with him.

    “Do you want to make sweet, hot love?” Michael said in his harmonious voice.

    Jake felt all of his nether parts become as hard and big as the obelisk. He feared that his passion might spew from the top like the fountain. “Oh, yes!”

    They made sweet hot Guardian love all night. By the time Jake remembered that he was supposed to deliver a message to Michael, it was too late.

    All of the other Guardians were dead.

    They wept, and consoled themselves by falling into each other’s strong, muscular arms. Then they went and kicked some demon ass.

    THE END

  • katiebabs
    September 28, 2009 at 10:38 am

    I think I just peed my pants. Oh my, oh my.

  • Ana
    September 28, 2009 at 10:38 am

    😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯

    OMG HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  • CrystalGB
    September 28, 2009 at 10:43 am

    I would have to say Michael. 🙂

  • Souls & Shadows | Literary Escapism
    September 28, 2009 at 11:24 am

    […] Book Smugglers is giving away a copy of Meljean Brook’s Demon Forged.  Contest ends October […]

  • Christine
    September 28, 2009 at 11:33 am

    My heart goes pitter patter thump thump at this review! I’m so looking forward to this. Except I really need to get my act together and read DEMON BOUND first. 😳

    Sorry, Meljean… You know I lurve your work but DEMON BOUND came out just when the chaos that was my world last year was at its peak! Grrr! 😈

    I would love to win a copy of DEMON FORGED! My favorite character to date is Savi. And or Savi and Colin as a unit. But Lilith has a seriously special place in my literary heart as well. PLEASE DON’T MAKE ME CHOOSE!

  • Karin
    September 28, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    What a fantastic review! I am so looking forward to DEMON FORGED!

    LOL Mejean, that is a great scene. I’m just glad I wasn’t drinking anything at the time or it would be all over my computer screen. 😆

    It is so hard to choose a favorite character in the series because they’re all fantastic, but I think I’m going to have to go with Hugh.

  • Bridget Locke
    September 28, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    Squee! I have my E-ARC, but haven’t read it yet since I need to read all the rest. I’ve read Demon Angel and Savi’s story, but couldn’t find the next 2 books. I have them! I know I do! Now that I know how good this one is, I can’t wait to read the rest. Whee! 😀

  • Jill Myles
    September 28, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    Meljean, that was pretty much the best scene I have read. EVER AND EVER AMEN.

    You rock. 🙂

  • Cybercliper
    September 28, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    Great review!! I just so happen to have the first three books in this series in my TBR pile. Looks like I need to bring them to the top of the heap and commence reading…thanks.. 😀

  • Kerry D.
    September 28, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    I’ve read Demon Angel and Demon Moon and I have the next two on the TBR. I find the books excellent but very complicated – the demon bargains totally confuse me – so I haven’t read them all yet. All the same, this review reminds me that I want to get caught up because I do love the characters. But I’m a totally chicken reader and put off the really good but hard stuff.

    I’m outside the US and Canada, so not eligible for the competition.

  • Cheryl McInnis
    September 28, 2009 at 1:26 pm

    I have to admit Jake is probably my favorite. As
    someone who is clumsy and klutzy and prone to f***ing things up all the time, I feel a connection to him, LOL! 😉

  • Barbara Elness
    September 28, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    I’m looking forward to reading more of the series. So far, my favorite is Michael.

  • Patti
    September 28, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    I’ve just discovered this series and went to B&N but they didn’t have ANY of the books 🙁 I’m dying to start this series!!

    Great review, now I want the books even more.

    pspinney AT cox DOT net

  • Carolyn Crane (CJ)
    September 28, 2009 at 5:57 pm

    I am dying to read this!!! SOOOO excited to see this 10.

  • Sarah
    September 28, 2009 at 6:04 pm

    Oh god. Favorite? But they’re all so good! Maybe… Lillith? She was my introduction to the series, so her and Hugh’s story is one of the ones I return to repeatedly. But I also really like Jake and Alice’s story. Every time I reread it, I seem to notice more.

  • Tricia
    September 28, 2009 at 11:43 pm

    My favorite character would probably be either Jake or Lilith. Although the Lilith + Sir Pup combo probably does win out over Jake as a favorite.

  • orannia
    September 29, 2009 at 1:06 am

    I have just got to get on with this series.

    Me too KMont! I can’t believe I’m so behind!

    Meljean – I just loved the ‘excerpt’, particularly since Michael is my favourite character to date *grin* All the best with the release!

    And please don’t include me in the competition – I live outside 😉

  • Niveau
    September 29, 2009 at 2:34 am

    I haven’t actually started this series yet, but it’s almost at the top of my TBR pile. (Patricia Briggs’ Mercy series was on top, and when I finished it, I moved on to Mary Balogh’s Huxtable series, which I’m currently reading. That’s a totally logical transition… because, you know, shapeshifters, vampires, and fae have so much in common with the ton. Totally.)

    Anyway, that excerpt was absolutely hilarious and I’m sure I’ll enjoy it even more once I get to know the characters in it.

  • Anita Yancey
    September 29, 2009 at 5:46 am

    I really like Michael. Please enter me. Thanks!

  • Elie N
    September 29, 2009 at 10:31 am

    Irena, definitely Irena

  • Michelle M
    September 29, 2009 at 11:50 am

    Ms. Brooks, I about fell off my chair while reading that scene with Jake and Michael – you really should warn people before you post something like that…especially when readers are at work and trying (unsuccessfully) not to laugh out loud. Oh my.

    GO JAKE!! he’s my fav..

    Thanks!

  • Aymless
    September 29, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    LOL Meljean. Glad I wasn’t drinking anything at the time too.

    My favorite has to be the crazy one, Khavi

  • Pri B
    September 29, 2009 at 5:32 pm

    Meljean, Jake’s Michael’s love interest? Does that mean we’re not getting Michael’s book now?!

    I’m only two books and a novella into the series- so far my favorite is Sir Pup. He’s got a sense of humor and fangs 🙂

  • Raelena
    September 29, 2009 at 7:21 pm

    Lilith!
    throuthehaze at gmail dot com

  • Patti
    September 30, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    I have a lot of respect for an author who respects the reader back.

    That has got to be the highest compliment an author can receive. I haven’t read these books yet but am definitely planning to – and soon! (therefore, I don’t have a favorite character – YET) Thanks!

  • Tracey D
    September 30, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    Unfortunately, I have not read a book in this series but I’m looking forward in starting it.

    Thanks,
    Tracey D

  • sarac
    September 30, 2009 at 7:19 pm

    Hugh is totally my fave.

  • Lisa F.
    October 2, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    I love this series, and I can’t wait for Demon Forged. Lilith has always been my fave.

  • Ruth
    October 2, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    I have read them all. Many of my favorites have been listed so I am throwing Maggie from Must Love Hellhounds.

  • Collette
    October 2, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    Lilith is my favorite. Definitely.

  • Bella
    October 3, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    Has to be Ethan. YUM! Dyin’ to read this. Thanks! Smugglers and Meljean, for the awesome giveaway!

    ~bella

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