7 Rated Books Book Reviews

Book Review: Blood of the Demon by Diana Rowland

Title Blood of the Demon

Author: Diana Rowland

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Bantam
Publication Date: February 23, 2010
Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages

Stand alone or series: Book 2 in the Kara Gillian series.

Welcome to the world of Kara Gillian, a cop with a gift. Not only does she have the power of “othersight” to see what most people can’t even imagine, but she’s become the exclusive summoner of a demon lord. Or maybe it’s the other way around. The fact is, with two troublesome cases on her docket and a handsome FBI agent under her skin, Kara needs the help of sexy, insatiable Lord Rhyzkahl more than he needs her. Because these two victims, linked by suspicious coincidence, haven’t just been murdered. Something has eaten their souls.

It’s a case with roots in the arcane, but whose evil has flowered among the rich, powerful, and corrupt in Beaulac, Louisiana. And as the killings continue, Kara soon realizes how much there’s still to learn about demons, men, and things that kill in the night—and how little time she has to learn it.

How did I get this book: Review Copy from the publisher.

Why did I read this book: I read the first book in the series, Mark of the Demon last year and really enjoyed it.

Review: UF/Crime noir novel Blood of the Demon starts a few weeks after the events at the end of Mark of the Demon . Detective Kara Gillian has been back on the job for a week after being on leave for a month. While on duty she is asked to call on colleague Brian Roth and walks into a nightmarish scene to find the police officer dead, in what appears to be a suicide. A suicide note points to his wife also being dead, apparently killed by him. If losing one of their own and in such a strenuous circumstance wasn’t horrible enough, an added element that only Kara is privy to (as a summoner of demons) complicate matters even further. When she sees Brian’s body she is able to tell something is not right and tapping into the arcane she realises that his essence has been consumed and in this world, whatever happens to an “essence” when someone dies – this is not it. Therefore, Kara believes that Brian’s death might not be a suicide after all. However, the case is taken from her hands and given to another detective.

But then, a second death happens. A prominent restaurateur whose death is also initially ruled accidental and whose essence has also been consumed. Kara starts to believe that both deaths might be connected. Her aunt Tessa who unfortunately is in a coma-like state (her essence is might missing – not consumed though) since the events of the previous book might have been able to help her out. Her aunt’s library might be another source if it wasn’t surrounded by all sorts of wards leaving Kara with only but one place to go for answers: the demons.

As someone with the ability to summon demons , a secret only but a few people know about, Kara is able to call forth demons from a parallel dimension and depending on which level of demon, strike deals with them for services rendered. An intricate system of levels and honour, determines which demons are most likely to help, which demons are most likely to be dangerous and so and so forth. Although it is never really explained why Kara and her family would have this ability in a world who seems to be ignorant that such beings even exist, it is hinted in this book that this ability does come from somewhere and I am intrigued. In the previous book, Kara summoned a Demon Lord, a most powerful demon called Rhyzkahl whom she has a sexual connection and who saved her life at the end of the book. It is clear that Rhyzkahl has an agenda and this is brought forth in as he offers to help Kara in exchange for something that will most probably shape and change the future of the series and all characters involved.

The combination of forensics investigation and Urban Fantasy is once again one the best aspects of the novel – the authors knows her turf around the former and the latter is definitely interesting with the relationship between the different demons she calls forth never being what I expect them to be.

On another level, this series would go nowhere if it wasn’t for its main character and narrator, Kara. Neither a tough-as-nails detective nor an extra-vulnerable cookie-cutter character, Kara navigates the well-balanced in-between place with moments where she is strong and confident with the things she knows best like her police work and her abilities as a summoner which seem be to growing as she tests her own limits and learns more; and with moments where she is weak and frustratingly vacillating in her personal life. But that only makes her very human – a character with a past, with a history, with a loneliness that leaks from the pages in which makes her a little bit sad. Those are traits that make for a compelling read especially when it comes to understanding her eagerness in trying to reach to Rhyzkahl (who is for all intents and purposes Untouchable) and her (utterly frustrating )denial when it comes to her relationship to FBI agent Ryan – now living JUST THERE (and for all intents and purposes Touchable) and her best friend (or is he?). This relationship between Ryan and Kara was one of my favourite things about book 1 and it remains so in book 2 and I am firmly on Team Ryan, wherever it takes me.

On the down side, a couple of things that completely mystified me. Firstly: after being caught by her new friend Jill in the act of talking to a demon, how easily Jill took it all. How easily Kara spilled all about being a summoner and about demons and Jill didn’t even blink. It just didn’t feel right.

Second, what I have come to call the Lost Syndrome. One of the most infuriating things about that show is how those characters run around in circles not talking to each other and not asking relevant questions. In Blood of the Demon it is CLEAR as day that Ryan has a Big!Secret! and he is not who or what he says he is, Kara knows this, something HUGE happens in this book and yet….no questions asked. For someone who is a detective it just seems unnatural, inorganic to the story. One could argue that it is all part of the character’s inability to face reality, or her need to respect Ryan’s privacy. I say: poppycock. As with Lost, the secret needs to be dragged to keep readers (or viewers) interested. Does it work? Why yes, I am a Lost fanatic after all and I will be back for thirds in this series.

Notable Quotes/ Parts: I am completely on board of the Kara/Ryan’s train. I know of course, that this is Urban Fantasy and there are no assurances when it comes to romance but I love their chemistry and all of their scenes together in this book were a pleasure to read. My favourite was the one scene when Kara tells all about what happened between the Demon Lord and her in the previous book and why.

Verdict: A great sophomore effort from Diana Rowland and I love the combination of UF and Procedural with a dash of Noir.

Rating: 7 – Very Good

Reading Next: In For A Penny by Rose Lerner

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7 Comments

  • janicu
    February 18, 2010 at 7:56 am

    Sighhh. I want to read this. I got a review copy last time but not this year. I love Ryan and Kara too. Ryan has a Big!Secret!? Interesting! Is it revealed in this book? 😯

  • katiebabs
    February 18, 2010 at 9:02 am

    Ryan is the long lost son of Rhyzkahl! 😆

  • Ana
    February 18, 2010 at 9:40 am

    Janicu – Yes, sort of. *ninja* I love him so much. I am totally infatuated.

    KB – *gasp* 😯

  • Stacie
    February 18, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    Eagerly awaiting this follow-up book! Great review. Thanks!

  • Carolyn Crane (CJ)
    February 18, 2010 at 7:23 pm

    What? Ryan has a big secret? Oh, man, I can’t wait to read this. Thanks for the review.

  • Blood of Demon – Diana Rowland « Anna Marie's Corner
    February 19, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    […] Rowland is a friend and fellow member of the Northshore Literary Society. I enjoyed reading her first book in the Kara Gillian series, Mark of the Demon, and look forward to reading Blood of the Demon. […]

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