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Sunday, December 19, 2010


Plot Type: SMR 
Ratings:  V3, S3, H3
Publisher and Titles: Berkley Sensation
      The Demon in Me (2010)
      Something Wicked (2010)
      That Old Black Magic (2011) (FINAL BOOK)

     This blog entry was revised and updated on 2/27/12 to include the third and final book in the series: That Old Black Magic. That review follows this overview of the series so far:

     Psychic Eden Riley is a part-time police consultant who becomes possessed by the demon (Darrak) when his  human host is killed in a police manhunt. Eden also works in a small detective agency, along with her partner, Andy McCoy, who plays a supporting role in Eden's adventures. 

     By night, Darrak exists inside Eden's head, but by day (for reasons that are tied to Eden's psychic powers), he becomes a corporeal humanunsurprisingly, a tall, dark, and sexy human.  Darrak needs Eden's help to break the curse that took away his body and forced his spirit to move from host to host over the centuries, draining the hosts' energy until they diewhich occurs after approximately one year.  

     In The Demon in Me, Eden is caught between two love interests: Ben Hanson, a down-to-earth, nonmagical police detective, and Darrak. When Eden learns that Darrak has been cursed, she helps him track down Selina, the witch who cursed him, with troubling results.

     In Something Wicked, Eden learns the truth about her father, who disappeared before she was born; Darrak meets up with one of his old demon friends; Andy has a life-changing supernatural experience; and Ben joins the opposition.  We also meet Eden's next-door-neighbor, Lucas, who turns out to be more than just a school teachermuch, much more!  

     The plot for the series focuses on Eden's adventures as she helps Darrak try to break his curse and prevent her own death.  Another ongoing theme is Eden's constant battle against using the dark magic that she acquires as a by-product of her possession. Each time she uses it, her soul gets darker and darker.  Villains include various evil supernaturals as well as the Malleus, a centuries-old magic-hating human organization that was responsible for such tragedies as the Salem witch trials.

     As That Old Black Magic begins, Darrak and Eden meet with Maksim, a wizard, for help in removing the spell and the curse that Selina placed on Darrak. Here, Maksim summarizes their problems as he speaks to Darrak: "Another witch from long ago—she cast a spell, correct?...Sex magic. Sleeping with you made her a black witch. And now the same has happened with Eden....And I can sense your curse as well....It's a big one." (p. 11) So...the problem is that Eden is a black witch, but she is also a nephilim—with an angel father and a human mother. Her soul grows blacker every time she is possessed by Darrak (which is every night) or uses her magic or has sex with Darrak. Eventually she will lose her soul. Meanwhile, Darrak is still under the curse that forces him to use Eden's human body as a host. Darrak's circumstances are complicated by the fact that he is becoming more and more angelic the longer he possesses Eden, so by now he's half demon and half angel—a dangerous predicament for an archdemon. What a mess! Maksim explains that there is a slightly dangerous possibility that Eden can break the spell and the curse because her magic has the exact same signature as Selina's. When they give it a try, Eden is able to break the spell, which helps a little, but she is unable to break the curse. 

     Meanwhile, Eden's old boyfriend, Ben, has joined the Malleus, but he's beginning to have second thoughts. He discovers that they are lying to him and keeping dark secrets about just who their prisoners are and why they are being imprisoned. The plot mostly follows Darrak and Eden as they try to solve all of their many problems. More complications arise when Eden's dead mother shows up in the body of a living woman, and she is determined to force Eden away from Darrak, whom she perceives as an evil demon who is after Eden's soul. Then, Lucifer stirs things up when he bullies Eden into making some terrible deals with him. Eventually, the situation goes straight to Hellliterally. Since this is the final book of the trilogy, you know that there is an HEA ending, so I'm not giving you a spoiler here, buttrust methe couple goes through some horrendous trials and tribulations before they earn their happy future together.

     This book brings the series to a close in an intricately drawn plot. The characters, particularly Lucifer and Darrak, have always been interesting, with a nice mix of light and dark. Throughout the series, both Eden and Darrak have struggled with the fact that they are bound together. To some extent they learned to enjoy it, but they're so different in character that they've had to make a lot of compromises, and neither one has been particularly graceful about that. Their efforts have been fun to watch as they've made the best of what started out a a really bad situation back in book 1. When they got to the really tough decisions in book 3, both of them put their lives on the line for each other (in true paranormal romance style!). If you're going to read the series, I recommend starting at the beginning so that you'll get the entire story, including Darrak's history with the wicked witch, Selina.

     Rowen has also written the NIGHTSHADE series, which tells a much darker story than LIVING WITH EDEN. Click HERE to see my review of NIGHTSHADE

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