Author: Meljean Brook
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publication Date: July 6th 2010
Paperback: 448 pages
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…
Stand alone or series: Tenth story in the Guardian series, and the sixth full-length book. If you are starting here (although you are SO missing out if you are), you can read the author’s excellent primer here.
How did I get this book: An ARC from the author
Why did I read this book: Because I will read ANYTHING Meljean Brook writes.
WARNING: Since Demon Blood is the 7th book on an ongoing series, this review contains necessary spoilers for previous books, especially Demon Forged. If you haven’t read Demon Forged and plan to, STEP AWAY NOW. Reading this review will completely SPOIL it for you and that book should not be spoiled. You have been warned!
I am going to skip the usual intro in which I say how much Meljean Brook’s writing and I have crazy chemistry and go really well together ( like rice and beans – if you are Brazilian, you will understand this comparison – or fish and chips) and how Demon Blood is another example of how incredibly smart her writing is.
Instead, I will jump straight into business. In Demon Forged, shit hit the fan. BIG TIME. Loads of people died, including several vampires and a Guardian, there is one crazy Gregori on the loose, the Nephilim are coming to get everybody, Belial may or may not be about to take over Hell. Above all, The Doyen, Michael, also sort of died and is currently trapped in Hell and the new Doyen, Taylor, is a newbie Guardian. Things could not be worse in the Guardian universe.
And you can blame it all on one man: Deacon. A vampire leader who, in order to protect his own community and the ones he loved was led by a demon to betray the Guardians causing the aforementioned to happen and in the end, the demon repaid him by slaughtering his community and his two companions anyway. He was left for dead – a death he welcomed due to his failure – but eventually saved by a Guardian named Rosalia only to walk way as soon as he was able to.
Six months later, all that keeps Deacon alive is his need for revenge as he travels around Europe killing demons. This serves Rosalia really well: she has a master plan and Deacon is instrumental to it, if only she can convince him that she needs his help and his alone.
Demon Blood is probably the most emotionally raw, the most dramatic of the books in the series so far when it comes to its central pairing. If Demon Forged was essentially a Big Picture book without losing sight of the romance, Demon Blood is a Romance book who never loses sight of the Big Picture. And it is all down to the fact that the protagonists are broken: truly, deeply so. How many times have I read books in which the big bad hero doesn’t think he is good enough for the heroine? Or a heroine who has never been loved and wants that more than anything? Many times, and it always bugs me to no end when the reasoning for those are so lame. Not here.
In Deacon’s case he REALLY IS NOT good enough for her. He is totally screwed up inside, so full of self-loathing that he acts the part of the bastard he believes himself to be for the entire novel. Rosalia on the other hand, compensates her lack of being loved by managing and manipulating everybody, I would even go as far as to say that her past actions with regards to Deacon – for she has known him for nearly 90 years – were downright stalkery. The two characters are stripped naked to each other and to the reader and it takes great writing skills to turn these two around in a way that is believable. Kudos to Meljean for, instead of making me want to cut Deacon’s balls off or to tell Rosalia to dry her tears, she actually made me care – and deeply – for them. Rosalia believes in Deacon and sometimes that is all that takes to fix a broken man. Deacon believes that Rosalia is worthy of love so much so that he thinks he is beneath her, that’s how grand he thinks she is.
I am not sure I can say that Deacon and Rosalia are likeable characters though and I struggled with writing my thoughts on them. Worried that readers might be put off by this statement when this is by not, by any means a negative statement, not in this case. Yes, Deacon is not as easily likeable as say, Drifter or Jake. Rosalia is not immediately strong as Irena or Lilith. But it does not matter – what Brook does here is a masterful character study and it presents a more complicated, difficult yet very rewarding read. Picture this: Deacon is essential to Rosalia’s her plan because he is broken, persona non grata everywhere. But her plan is twofold because she plans to bring him back from the abyss as well: she needs to use what is the worst thing about him to bring out his best.
The point I am trying to make became very clear to me yesterday when by sheer luck I came across this article about Unlikeable Female Protagonists by Courtney Summers. Sometimes it is not about connecting or liking a character for ourselves; sometimes is about character development, and story and enjoying them for what they are to the point where,
“how much someone is given–regardless of how nice they are or aren’t–in terms of love and support isn’t up to us, unless we’re the ones doing the giving.”
Or to also quote Louis CK:
“Well, I think “likability” is an overused word. I don’t watch people ’cause I like them; I watch them because they’re compelling. Sympathetic is a little different. It’s like I understand this person, and I never know quite what they’re going to do and I’m really interested in what they might do next and they feel real to me. That’s, I think, way more valuable than likable. Likable just thins you out…”
I love these two quotes and I think they are perfect for the matter at hand. They also tell me how much Meljean Brook has grown as an author and how many risks she will take to remain faithful to her story and to her characters.
And this is not the only risk she takes here. Rosalia’s plan, as genius and impressive as it is in its simplicity (and I love that it is HER plan, ie the female character’s) results in the most anticlimactic outcome for one of the most important things in this world. I won’t spoil but I will admit that I did a double take. However, in taking this risk, Brook has cleared the field and opened up the board for a major showdown and one that WILL mean something. If this was a chess game, I would say: the pawns are all out, only the major players remain and you know what? This is a good thing. She also takes on the loaded issue of motherhood and how /why Guardians cannot (and should not) have children and addresses it beautifully to the point of bringing me to tears.
I can’t finish my review without mentioning the SHEER AWESOMENESS of the Taylor/Michael situation, as it is gripping, suspenseful and I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN OH MY GOD PLEASE LET IT BE ALRIGHT. Did I ever say that Brook is a clever writer? Scrap that – she is brilliant: Michael may be in hell but it does not mean that he is not around. In fact, I might have learnt more about him here than I ever did.
And it is from Taylor the best quote from this book:
that’s not going to happen, because there’s going to be a whole lotta motherfucking Guardians standing in the way
I can’t wait to see what happens next. Two more books to go.
Notable Quotes/Parts: The aformentioned quote happens in the final pages and that scene was all kinds of awesome. Also: CERBERUS!
Verdict: I have lost the count on the amount of times I have said that this series is consistently good, incredibly awesome and extremely well-written with great characters and this brilliant overarching plot. It should come as no surprise then that Demon Blood is another strong entry in the series. For all the reasons aforementioned.
Rating: 8 – Excellent
Reading Next: Bonds of Justice by Nalini Singh
We have TWO copies of Demon Blood to giveaway to two lucky winners. To enter, leave a comment here telling us which is your favorite book in the series so far. The contest is open to residents of the US and Canada, and will run until tomorrow, Saturday July 3rd at 11:59pm (pacific). One comment per person, please! Multiple entries will be disqualified. Good luck!
anthiJuly 2, 2010 at 4:25 am
Excellent review, i’m absolutely fangirling over Meljean Brook 😀 . What i’ve noticed throughout the Guardian series is the fact that she constantly evolves as a writer and for the better. And boy if that woman can deliver exceptionally well drawn characters!! Especially women characters, WOW!!! And i do agree with, i don’t think is necessary the characters to be likeable in order to be compelling (i didn’t like Irena because she was too rough on the edge for me-the sword and the hammer-but she was extremely interesting and oriiginal and multilayered). Can’t wait to get my hands on this book 😈 , sorry for the huge text.
Sandy GJuly 2, 2010 at 6:01 am
I haven’t read this series yet but would love to give it a try.
deputmanJuly 2, 2010 at 7:59 am
Damn, I love Meljean’s heroines so picking a favorite book is picking a favorite heroine and I just don’t know that I can do it. Today I’m going with Savi and Demon Moon, because I have an eidetic memory and love watching her eidetic+ brain at work.
Alex DJuly 2, 2010 at 9:10 am
I love this series, it is so amazing! My favorite is still Demon Bound but I have high hopes for this release.
Robyn B.July 2, 2010 at 9:37 am
My favorite book in this series has to be Demon Moon, which was the first one I read. I love this series.
MaryKJuly 2, 2010 at 10:00 am
I thought I might start the series with this book but after your discouragement of that and the spoiler warning I guess I better not. 🙂
Where should I start though? I usually do read in order but I’d heard the first book is very dense and a bit rocky so I’ve been reluctant. Is there a place I can start that would get me hooked without missing too much back story?
MeljeanJuly 2, 2010 at 10:24 am
(I’m not really here reading this awesome review.)
MaryK — Book #3, Demon Night. It includes all of the backstory you need, and because the heroine is an outsider, you learn about the world along with her. The linked page has an excerpt of the first chapters (plus a little more, so you can get a sense there if it’s the kind of book you might like.)
katiebabsJuly 2, 2010 at 10:25 am
I thought Demon Forged was dark, but Demon Blood is DARK!
My poor Michael *sniff*
MaryKJuly 2, 2010 at 10:34 am
Thanks, Meljean! I’m glad you weren’t really here b/c that means you didn’t really read my comment. 😳
[I know multiple comments are a no-no, but since I can’t read this yet anyway . . . ]
MeljeanJuly 2, 2010 at 10:40 am
Ha! The first book IS dense and a bit rocky. No need for 😳
(Actually, maybe that means that I should be 😳 ?)
(Okay, I’m going to stop multiple commenting, too!)
::second ninja fade::
SylviaSybilJuly 2, 2010 at 10:58 am
My favorite book so far is Demon Moon. Broody, angsty vampires aren’t usually my thing, but Colin is self-aware enough to make it tolerable and I absolutely adore Savi. I mean, come on. She makes a garrote out of computer wire! How am I supposed to resist that?
MinnChicaJuly 2, 2010 at 11:41 am
My favorite book so far is the 2nd full length one with Colin and Savi. *sigh* They are soo good together. Although the novella in Must Love Hellhounds is also pretty high on my list!! 😀
nuitblanche'July 2, 2010 at 11:42 am
I just became aware of this series and found that I really enjoyed the review, even with the spoilers from “Demon Forged” (I would still read it to enjoy the presentation of the story). This book/series has peaked my interest in reading it.
PS: The cover is aesthetically eye catching and surely will be noticed on store shelves.
staciemJuly 2, 2010 at 11:52 am
I cannot believe I haven’t heard of this series before! I’m off to buy the first in the series right now, and am crossing my fingers that I win a copy of this new one! 🙂
Tiffany M.July 2, 2010 at 12:36 pm
Since I’m halfway through Demon Angel, I would say Demon Angel. If novellas were allowed, however (I have read at least two “Blind Spot” and “Thicker Than Blood”),I think I might pick “Thicker than Blood,” as it really hit me and got me interested in her work. I couldn’t put it down. ^^
CybercliperJuly 2, 2010 at 12:44 pm
I guess I’d have to say my favorite is the novella that started it all “Paradise” in the Wild Thing anthology. From there I had to find out more and started at the beginning. After that I’d say Demon Moon – Colin – what can I say.
Rachel ElizabethJuly 2, 2010 at 12:52 pm
I just discovered this series, so I’ve only started the first book. But I’ve heard this one was really good!
KalynnJuly 2, 2010 at 12:53 pm
My favorite is Demon Bound- I heart Jake. I like all of the books, though. I’m reading Demon Forged right now, and I’m excited about this new entry.
Nicole MJuly 2, 2010 at 1:57 pm
I am another fan of Demon Bound. Though I did love Demon Angel because of Lilith and Hugh.
AdelinaJuly 2, 2010 at 2:00 pm
I love all Meljean’s books but my favorite is Demon Bound. But Demon Forged sounds like it might be my next favorite. 😉 And I can’t wait to read Demon Blood!
Barbara ElnessJuly 2, 2010 at 2:23 pm
My favorite so far is Demon Bound, but the whole series has been awesome.
Sue RJuly 2, 2010 at 2:51 pm
I like Demon Night. I only read as far as that book and I love it. I cant wait for more.
coriesJuly 2, 2010 at 3:55 pm
Demon Blood sounds like it’s going to be a new fav.
TracyWJuly 2, 2010 at 4:15 pm
I haven’t read the series yet so I can’t tell you which is my favorite, but I just received Demon Angel in the mail and will be reading it this weekend!
Pam PJuly 2, 2010 at 4:41 pm
Hard to say, I’ll say Demon Bound so far. Can’t wait to read this newest now, I do like a great, darker story.
Victoria ZumbrumJuly 2, 2010 at 5:24 pm
I have never read any of the books in the series but I am very interested in the series. Please enter me in contest. Tore923@aol.com
Carol MJuly 2, 2010 at 5:24 pm
I haven’t read any of the books but I would like to. Thank you for the giveaway!
Pam PJuly 2, 2010 at 5:25 pm
Lucky me, just saw I won it from Meljean (thanks!) at Odd shots, so no need to enter here. Good luck everyone.
JenMJuly 2, 2010 at 5:29 pm
I’ll admit, I haven’t read this series so I don’t have a favorite, but I promise that if I win the book, I’ll start on Book 1. I’m sure I’ll love it, I just have too many books on my TBR pile!
Teresa W.July 2, 2010 at 5:43 pm
I’ve just discovered this series and I’ve only read the first one! Enjoyed it!
JenniferJuly 2, 2010 at 5:47 pm
Picking favorites is hard to say when it’s a really good series. But I must say Demon Moon. However, that may very well change after I get around to reading Demon Blood.
J1006July 2, 2010 at 6:12 pm
I’ve only read 2 and Demon Moon is my favorite.
maritza mJuly 2, 2010 at 6:22 pm
My favorite is Lilith’s book Demon Moon (God I’m terrible with names). I loved how strong her character was. Funny thing is, I was hooked on Michael from the first. Can’t wait to see what happens with Taylor.
GladysJuly 2, 2010 at 6:35 pm
My favorite so far is Jake and Alice’s story in DEMON BOUND. Can’t wait for the newest book!
Rebecca Ryals RussellJuly 2, 2010 at 6:49 pm
I have a similar story for YA coming out in 2011 about a demon warrior. Seraphym Wars Series. I would love to see how she handled this story differently from mine. 😛
Sarah ZJuly 2, 2010 at 8:24 pm
I haven’t read any of them but I love finding new series to read!
Melanie LJuly 2, 2010 at 8:28 pm
I haven’t read any books in this series yet so I can’t have a favorite. I hope that doesn’t disqualify me from entering the contest because it seems like I’d really enjoy this book.
Linda HendersonJuly 2, 2010 at 8:31 pm
I’ve got to say Demon Bound, I can’t wait to read this one.
seriousreader at live dot com
Cathy MJuly 2, 2010 at 8:35 pm
Lovin this series, my favorite is Demon Bound.
caity_mack at yahoo dot com
Tricia PJuly 2, 2010 at 9:12 pm
My favorite book in the series is probably Demon Bound, but I’ve loved all of them so far, and have no doubt the rest will be equally awesome.
chongJuly 2, 2010 at 9:20 pm
I’ve only just started on the series but my favorite so far is the first one I read, Demon Angel! I really enjoyed the interaction between Lilith and Hugh 🙂
EllaanabethJuly 2, 2010 at 9:54 pm
I was particularly fond of demon bound. I can’t wait to see what this new book has to offer to the series!
AnaJuly 2, 2010 at 10:01 pm
Demon moon is my favorite. Love Savitri!
Donna SJuly 2, 2010 at 10:34 pm
I havent read them all yet but so far Demon Night has been my favorite.
Chelsea B.July 2, 2010 at 11:47 pm
I haven’t read this series yet, but I will be sure to start at the first book so I don’t miss any of the goodness 🙂
EstaraJuly 3, 2010 at 2:20 am
My favourite one is Demon Moon (because of Savi and her Indian heritage) as well, second favourite Demon Angel (for Lilith and Hugh). Don’t enter me in the giveaway: I’ve preordered Demon Blood – I like to support my favourite authors financially 😉
debpJuly 3, 2010 at 4:01 am
I haven’t read the series yet, but it sounds really good. I will put it on my list to buy. I would love to have the book.
Christine HJuly 3, 2010 at 9:00 am
I haven’t read the series yet. If I win looks like I have some tro read first before that one. I didn’t pass it up or anything. I’ve only really being reading for 6 months. I never liked books before well I love books but I hated reading now I love it!! It’s amazing. Thanks for the contest!! firstname.lastname@example.org
MarieCJuly 3, 2010 at 9:33 am
I read two books and neither of them were in series order, but I loved Demon Bound.
HeenaJuly 3, 2010 at 2:14 pm
I got into this series because of your review of Demon Forged. I absolutely LOVED it. Meljean Brook is a phenomenal writer. Can’t wait for this book.
Julie SwaneyJuly 3, 2010 at 5:27 pm
I had not heard of this series before but I am definitely going to have to get it. It sounds great.
jellybelly82158 at gmail dot com
J. Elis MorganJuly 3, 2010 at 5:55 pm
I love ALL of Meljean’s Guardian series books. I’ve been absolutely blown away since the first book I read, DEMON ANGEL. But my two favorites, because of their strong and unforgettable heroes, are DEMON MOON (Colin) and DEMON NIGHT (Drifter). I can’t wait to read DEMON BLOOD!
Lashawn J.July 3, 2010 at 6:30 pm
I have not tried this series yet, but it is on my “to read” list. The new book sounds great!
Ying Va.July 3, 2010 at 8:03 pm
My favorite in the series is the novella in Must Love Hellhounds: Blind Spot. It was the reason I started reading Brook’s Guardian series. Demon Forged is also the next favorite in the guardian series.
SoriJuly 4, 2010 at 6:01 am
This is a new to me series, but I love finding new authors and I love when there is a lot to look forward to reading.
Demon Blood Winners! - Odd ShotsJuly 4, 2010 at 11:54 pm
[…] If you didn’t win, but really want a chance to get this book, there is another contest for two more copies after a review of Demon Blood here. […]
My Blog Was Awarded the Versatile Blogger Award | Plotting WorldsJuly 5, 2010 at 6:25 am
[…] The Book Smugglers […]
Rebecca Ryals RussellJuly 5, 2010 at 5:18 pm
I nominated this blog for the Versatile Blogger Award. You may receive it at my website and get the rules for acceptance. Congratulations! 😛
RRRJessicaJuly 14, 2010 at 9:17 am
This review is why I read this blog. Full of win. Thank you.
No need to enter me in the contest – as a fellow Meljean fangirl (who got to spend some time with her last weekend. She’s every bit as cool and lovely in person as on line.), I downloaded it my Kindle the minute it was available!
What I Read Last Week - Book BingeOctober 25, 2015 at 5:40 pm
[…] read Demon Blood by Meljean Brook right after that and it was great. I read a review by Ana at The Book Smugglers that says it perfectly:“If Demon Forged was essentially a Big Picture book without losing […]