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Monday, February 14, 2011


Author:  Diana Rowland
Plot Type:  Urban Fantasy (UF)
Publisher and Titles: 
          Mark of the Demon (Bantam, 6/2009)
          Blood of the Demon (Bantam, 2/2010)
          Secrets of the Demon (DAW, 1/2011)
          Sins of the Demon (DAW, 1/2012)
          Touch of the Demon (DAW, 1/2013)
          Fury of the Demon (DAW, 1/2014) 
          Vengeance of the Demon (DAW, 4/2015)
          Legacy of the Demon (10/2016)
          Novel 9 (TBA) (FINAL)

This on-going post was revised and updated on 10/13/16 to include a review of Legacy of the Demon, the eighth novel in the series. That review appears first, followed by an overview of the world-building, summaries of the first three novels, and full reviews of the fourth through seventh novels.

       FAIR WARNING: This review       
      contains spoilers for the previous novels.      
                   NOVEL 8:  Legacy of the Demon                    
     The demon invasion of Earth has begun, and as the world's top arcane expert, demon summoner Kara Gillian is leading the battle against them. Unnatural catastrophes, odd plagues, and martial law of the norm, and Kara is hard-pressed to keep up with the mounting threats. Add in the arrival of demonic lords with conflicting goals, and she has the perfect recipe for global disaster.

    Yet when a centuries-old scheme puts the future of humanity on the line, Kara must scramble to stop the machinations, though treachery, hidden dangers, and ancient enemies block her at every turn. Soon she uncovers the disturbing legacy of the demon realm and the hideous betrayal at its core.

    However, before Kara can unmask the one behind the assault on Earth, she'll need to perform the most dangerous summoning ever attempted—and if her enemy has its way, it may just be her last. But no matter how much of her own blood she has to spill, it'll be a cold day in hell before she surrenders. 

     After the huge arcane valve explosion that ended Vengeance of the Demon, Beaulac has become a ghost town. Nearly all of the citizens have fled, and the only people remaining are military and government operatives. Demons have been steadily coming through fiery rifts that have opened over the entire world, destroying anything and anyone in their vicinity. The humans are fighting back, but they're losing. There is no travel through the regular conduits between Earth and the demon realm, and no summonings are possible. At first, Kara believes that the demons coming through the rifts are part of the battle among the demon lords, but then she learns that these demons have their own agenda. The entire mess is somehow related to Xharbek, the demahnk counselor and ptarl to the exiled demonic lord, Szerain. As the plot unwinds, Kara learns more and more about the evil that Xharbek has planned, and spends much of her time trying to stop him, with mixed results.

   As the story opens, each character is in a somewhat precarious position. Here is a list to give you the general idea:

 > Kara Gillian has teamed up with Vince Pellini to deal with the fallout from the huge valve explosion that climaxed the previous novel. Her powers are continuing to grow and strengthen, and her summoning powers are actually coming back. After days of questioning by the Feds, she was given the rank of Arcane Commander of the Demonic Incursion Retaliation and Tactics (DIRT) team assigned to keep Beaulac clear of demons. As the story opens, she is spending her days and nights fighting demons, and she remains highly emotional about the fact that her demon lord lover, Mzatal, is still missing. 

 Elinor Bayliss is a 17th century summoner whose essence is attached to Kara. She keeps trying to be heard, interrupting Kara's visions and causing her to lose focus. Elinor plays a major role in this novel because Xharbek plans to use her in his insidious plan to destroy the Earth. Elinor is mostly focused on reuniting with her long-dead (but now resurrected) lover, Giovanni Racchelli. 

 > Mzatal appears very briefly a few times in this book, but is mostly in the demon realm doing his god-guy thing against his enemies. By the end of the book, his future is troubled, at best, and Kara will have to do some major magic to get him back.

 > Jill Faciane is dealing with her grief at losing her daughter, Ashava, moments after her birth. In the face of deadly danger to the infant, Zack (Ashava's father) grabbed the baby and is now in hiding with Szerain and Sonny Hernandez (Zack's caretaker).

 > Szerain (formerly Ryan Kristoff) is also MIA throughout most of the book. He and three others have hidden themselves away from the villainous demon lord Xharbek, who has a devious plan for Ashava

 > Zakaar (formerly Zack Garner) is hiding his infant daughter to keep her out of Xharbek's clutches. Zack continues to fade because of his broken essence bond with Rhyzkahl.

 > Rhyzkahl is just as physically weak as Zack because of the break in their bond. Currently he remains imprisoned and powerless beside the nexus in Kara's back yard.

 > Idris Palatino is on the other side of the globe fighting off the demons that are pouring out of rifts in Asia. Idris is dealing with his rage at learning that Rhyzkahl is his biological father. (As the book opens, Rhyzkahl is still unaware that Idris is his son.)

 > Bryce Thatcher has become one of Kara's most valuable allies. He is currently living on the Kara Kompound, where he has slowly fallen in love with Jill (but has kept his feelings to himself).

 > Vincent Pellini is Kara's arcane partner as they work together to overcome the demon invasion. He is using his arcane talents in conjunction with Kara's with great success.

 > Marco Knight spends much of this book in stasisin a cocoon-like state. We don't learn much about what actually happened to him until the end of the book. Cory Crawford also goes through the stasis/cocoon process with a slightly different result. Rowland drops this plot element into the story with little explanation.

     The plot is extremely complex and includes endless battles with demons, a trip to the demon realm, and many arcane rituals on and off Kara's nexus. If you can't remember the details of the demon mythology upon which Roland has based this series, you're out of luck in understanding what's going on. Flipping back and forth to the glossary helps to some extent, but it's awkward at best, primarily because Rowland has divided the glossary into sections, so you have to locate the section you need and then find the word or phrase. The story line is so dense with demon names, demon words, and references to past events that I was just barely hanging on most of the time. In order to fully understand this plot, I would have had to reread big chunks of Vengeance of the Demon, and I wasn't about to do that. 

     I really loved this series during the early books, when the plots were filled with fully developed characters about whom I really cared. Now, it's just one demon battle after another followed by a series of arcane rituals—always described at great length in essentially the same words. Unfortunately, by the end of this book, things get even more whacked out and woo-woo. Every time that I thought that nothing new could be jammed into this world-building, Rowland found space for one more piece. And this last one is a doozy!

     This is definitely NOT a stand-alone novel. Even if you have read all of the other books (as I have), you will probably find it difficult to remember the histories of all of the characters and their ever-changing relationships with one another. 

     If you are a fan of Roland's convoluted demonic world with its focus on freaky arcane happenings, you'll probably enjoy this book. But for me, it was a 453-page bust: too many repetitive demon-battle scenes, too many repetitive arcane rituals, and not nearly enough time spent with the characters in any kind of a "normal" situation. The only time they interact is just before, during, or directly after a demon battle.

     Click HERE to read or listen to an excerpt from Legacy of the Demon on the novel's page at Just click on the cover art for print or on the "Listen" icon for audio. 

     The first four books are police procedurals with a pinch of magic and a side order of demons—all kinds of demons. By book 5, the action has moved to the demon realm, where the villains are just as crazy, but much more powerful, than those in the mortal realm. In this world, there are 12 species, or levels, of demons who live, not in Hell, but in a realm separate from mortal Earth. The demon world is ruled by the 12 demonic lords, who can be compared to demi-gods. The heroine of the series is Kara Gillian, a homicide detective in small-town Beaulac, Louisiana (think Bon Temps with demons instead of vampires and werewolves). Kara is also a newbie summoner—a mortal who can call forth demons. 

     Kara’s best friend is Jill Faciane, a police department forensic specialist, and their friendly but sarcastic dialogue heightens the humor and humanity of their characters. Kara’s magic-inclined Aunt Tessa also plays a major role in the series, especially when she has a soul-draining experience with the villainous Symbol Man, who is trying to summon the demonic lord Rhyzkahl (rhymes with "please call"). Rhyzkahl himself is also a leading character. Kara first summons him by mistake in book 1 when she is trying to summon a lesser demon, but Rhyzkahl takes a liking to Kara and works his way into her life—especially her sex life, to the consternation of Ryan Kristoff, her would-be boyfriend. Ryan and Zachary ("Zack") Garner are FBI agents, and they partner up with Kara on a multi-level police task force that handles all of the woo-woo cases in southern Louisiana. Ryan provides a succinct summary of Kara's life at one point when he says, "Is it the usual? Life in danger, world ending, nasty magic creatures running around unchecked?" (Sins of the Demon, p. 195)

      This is one of my favorite urban fantasy series. Kara is a strong, tough heroine with just enough insecurity and self-flagellation to make her vulnerable and likeable—much more real and down-to-earth than the usual multi-weapon, black-leather-clad, whiny heroines that proliferate in the urban fantasy world. Kara’s relationships with her fellow police officers are fascinating and amusing as she tries to put a human face on the demon-connected incidents that she must explain to her superiors and write up in her police reports. The demons in this series are interesting—not at all like the demons from hell in most paranormal fiction. As Aunt Tess says in Secrets of the Demon“The demons are not demonic and the demonic are not demons”—just cryptic enough to be intriguing. Don't get me wrong, though, many of these demons are not at all friendly, and some are evil through and through. The humor of the series comes in the interplay among the characters—lots of sarcasm and some light profanity, which also makes the dialogue very realistic. My only quibble with the series is that we have to wait a whole year between books. You almost have to go back and skim through the previous book to catch yourself up on the story line. Click HERE to go to Rowland's "Glossary of All Things Demon" on her web site.

     On her web site, Rowland (who has worked as a street cop, detective, and crime scene investigator) says that she has contracts for a total of five KARA GILLIAN books and hopes to carry the series on to eight or nine books. 

     Rowland is also writing a zombie series, which kicked off with My Life as a White Trash Zombie. On her web site, Rowland says that the series "is about a white trash chick who gets turned into a zombie, and ends up working in a morgue for easy access to brains." Click HERE to read my review of that series.

                    NOVELS 1, 2, and 3:  Brief Summaries                    
     In Mark of the Demon, Kara gets more than she bargains for when she accidentally summons Rhyzkahl, who eventually becomes a link to Kara’s investigation of a serial killer (the aforementioned Symbol Man). Click HERE to read an excerpt from Mark of the Demon.

     In Blood of the Demon, Kara and Ryan catch another serial killer with assistance from Rhyzkahl, with life-changing results that strengthen Rhyzkahl's hold on Kara and undermine her relationship with Ryan. Click HERE to read or listen to an excerpt from Blood of the Demon on its page at Just click on either the cover art or the "Listen" icon. 

     In Secrets of the Demon, Kara and her team investigate the abduction of a teen rock star and get drawn into a string of murders committed by golem-like creaturesClick HERE to read or listen to an excerpt from Secrets of the Demon on its page at Just click on either the cover art or the "Listen" icon. 

     As the series builds, we learn that both Ryan and Zack are more magical—and less human—than they seem, and in Secrets of the Demon we begin to get some clues as to exactly who (or what) they really are. Meanwhile, Kara continues to be torn between her dependence on (and lust for) Rhyzkahl and her desire to escalate (and consummate) her relationship with Ryan.

                    NOVEL 4:  Sins of the Demon                    
     As book 2 opens, Kara is under the protection of Eilahn, a female demon sent by Rhyzkahl in response to several attempts by another demon lord (identity unknown at this point) to summon Kara to the demon world. If Kara gets summoned away from mortal Earth, she will be enslaved by the summoner and forced to carry out his or her wishes forever, with little chance of rescue. The action begins when a demon attacks Kara and is driven off by Eilahn, but not before he leaves Kara with a highly potent "gift." Then Kara is called to a crime scene where she discovers that the victim is an old enemy from her teen years. As the plot advances, more bad guys and gals from Kara's past are found dead under mysterious circumstances, and someone anonymously phones in an accusation that Kara is responsible for their deaths. Meanwhile, the still-unidentified demon lord keeps trying to summon Kara until Eilahn supplies her with a magical bracelet that wards off magic. Eventually, Kara and her team of supporters (i.e., Ryan, Zack, Jill, and Aunt Tessa) track down the serial killer, but not the relentless summoner. 

     Rhyzkahl appears in only one scene in this book, but he's always fun to watch, no matter how small his part is. Kara and Ryan keep their relationship at its usual slow simmer, but Jill and Zack are moving right along with their romance. Ryan seems to have resigned himself to the fact that Rhyzkahl is a major player in Kara's life, while Kara wonders who the real Ryan is. Is he the caring and sympathetic man she thought him to be when she first met him, or is that identity just a front for his supernatural self? If so, then what lies behind the human facade?

     In truth, Sins of the Demon seems like the first half of an incomplete story. The ending is a shocking cliffhanger that leaves Kara in terrible jeopardy. It's going to be hard to wait a whole year until the next book to find out what happens to our beleaguered heroine. Other than the frustrating ending, this is another exciting, action-filled book that moves us a few steps further on the demonic story arc for the series. Click HERE to read or listen to an excerpt from Sins of the Demon on its page at Just click on either the cover art or the "Listen" icon. 

                    NOVEL 5:  Touch of the Demon                    
     In the previous book's cliff-hanger ending, Kara had just been captured and collared by a demon lord, and we've been worrying about her ever since. That lord is Mzatal, whose summoner (Idris Palatino) was the one who finally managed to drag Kara through a portal to the demon realm. Throughout the early part of the book, Kara isn't sure whether Mzatal plans to kill her, enslave her, or just torture her. All of the action takes place in the demon realm except for a brief resolution scene back on earth at the very end, which closes with yet another cliffhanger for Kara.

     The story follows Kara as she is questioned and assessed by Mzatal, manages to escape and flee to Rhyzkahl for protection, and, finally (and heartbreakingly), finds out that Rhyzkahl isn't quite the demon she thought he was. The story line twists and turns and twists again as Kara tries to figure out who she can trust and how to use some new powers that she picks up along the way. I'm not going to describe all of those plot twists, but I will tell you that Kara gets massively injured in one horrific torture scene that leaves her in a lingering PTSD state of mind for much of the second part of the book. As the story moves along, Kara learns that the demonic world is in chaos, with demon lords teaming up and pitting themselves against one another—all for more power, and particularly for ultimate power in the mortal realm.

     As Kara tries to learn as much as she can about the various demon lords, she gets more information about Ryan (her FBI boyfriend—or wannabe boyfriend), who is actually a demon lord himself, albeit one with his memory wiped away. She discovers how Ryan's memory was suppressed and what triggered his banishment 15 years ago.

     This is a lengthy book (440 pages), and although the action moves at a compelling pace, the story is padded with an overload of extraneous description—way too many paragraphs of Kara listing every physical characteristic of every type of demon she sees; rhapsodizing over every aspect of the interior and exterior decoration of the demons' homes; and detailing the colors, textures, and styles of every outfit worn by herself and by the demon lords (and believe me, they change clothes frequently). 

     Kara continues to be a brash and headstrong heroine who always manages to conquer her fears and go courageously into battle, but it's still difficult to understand why every single man—human and demon—falls for her. All through this book, she's fighting them off right and left, but just what is it about Kara that attracts them? I don't have a clue. In the demon realm, Kara's non-stop, foul-mouthed expletives are such a low-class contrast to the elegant language of the demons, that I sometimes felt a bit embarrassed that she was the one representing the human race. Her constant cursing didn't stand out so much in the human cop world of the previous books, but here, that deluge of dirty words comes across as crude and offensive. 

     The book's ending puts Kara back in the demon realm where she and Mzatal must continue their battles with the demonic villains. As for Kara's love life, let's just say that it gets way more complicated in this book and that Ryan's chances for a consummation of their relationship have lessened considerably—or maybe not, since Kara is definitely a love-the-one-you're-with kind of girl. Her new romance actually lacks passion, and except for one sexy scene, the relationship is strangely flat. Click HERE to read an excerpt from Touch of the Demon.

                    NOVEL 6:  Fury of the Demon                    
     Like the previous novels in this series, Fury of the Demon is a long one—just short of 500 pages—and the plot is full of twists and turns and a dead end or two. The primary story line revolves around the efforts of Kara and Mzatal, her qaztahl (demon lord) lover, to rescue Idris Palatino (Mzatal's summoner protege) from a group of enemy lords called the Mraztur. The first four chapters take place in the demon world, where the plot sometimes grinds to a halt due to the overload of strange cultural complexities and otherworldly vocabulary of that world. Both the character names and the demonic vocabulary are difficult to remember from book to book, and, unfortunately, Rowland does not provide a glossary in the book, although there is currently glossary on her website.

     By chapter 5, Kara and Mzatal are back on earth, living in Kara's house along with the following friends: 

   > Ryan Kristoff: Kara's former boyfriend, who is possessed by a demon lord named Szerain; he is also an FBI agent

   > Zack Garner (aka Zakaar): a ptarl—advisor to a demon lord, who has been assigned to be Ryan/Szerain's demonic Guardian; he is Ryan's FBI partner

   > Eilahn: Kara's syraza, or demonic bodyguard, who is accompanied by her pregnant pet cat, Fuzzikins 

   > Faruk: Mzatal's furry, blue faas—his demon servant

   > Paul: a human computer genius Kara rescues from virtual mental slavery at the hands of one of the villains

   Bryce Thatcher: Paul's human guard, who has been been mentally manipulated by the same villain 

      Kara calls them her posse, and they spend their time collecting clues, following down leads, and dealing with various personal and interpersonal problems: 

Ryan, who is merely the human shell possessed by the demon lord Szerain, has two sets of worries: his Ryan self is jealous of Kara's love for Mzatal, and his Szerain self is becoming stronger and stronger. The resulting jousts for power cause his human self to feel unbalanced and off kilter. 

Zack is stretched thin as he tries to keep a balance between Ryan and Szerain, a task that becomes more and more difficult as the story moves along. He must also deal with his hormonal, pregnant girlfriend, Jill, who is just a month short of delivering their daughter. As the book opens, Zack has still not shown Jill his demon form and he hasn't explained very much to her about his demonic nature and his guardian duties with Ryan. Jill is very worried that Zack isn't communicating with her and extremely hurt that he spends more time with Ryan than he does with her. 

Paul and Bryce have multiple physical and mental troubles to deal with. First, both must be cleansed of the magical spells that have corrupted their free will. Then, both are severely wounded (one early in the story and one near the end) and must be transported to the land of the demons to be healed. Meanwhile, Bryce has to make peace with himself over the dastardly deeds he carried out as a hit man while under the spell of the villain who enslaved him.

     Meanwhile, in an early battle scene with the villainous lords of the Mraztur, Rhyzkahl infects Kara with "an implant that can not only self-replicate but also adapt to accomplish its purpose." (p. 27) He activates it by hitting her with a magical fire ball and speaking the word "Rowan," which is the identity he created to change Kara into a thrall who will do his bidding without question. This new infection is directly related to the sigils Rhyzkahl carved all over Tara's body in the previous book, and the combination of the new magical "virus" and the sigils cause her to forget who she is from time to time as the story progresses. The danger is that if Tara slips into her "Rowan" personality completely, her "Kara" identity will be forever lost, and she will become a willing tool of Rhyzkahl and the other evil demon lords in their efforts to take over mortal earth.

     The search for Idris is interrupted by a brutal murder in Beaulac—a young woman who was raped, tortured, and covered with sigils. The woman's body is also a magical trap aimed at Tara. If successful, it would push her over the edge into her "Rowan" identity. When the group learns that the dead woman is Idris' sister, the plot thickens. Chapter by chapter, the number of enemies increases, and Kara's posse finds themselves battling both humans and demons. The ending, as always, is a cliff hanger, with several issues left unresolved.

     I did not enjoy this book as much as I did the earlier ones, mostly because the series story line has become so convoluted and demonic. When the books are published a year apart, it's very hard to remember all of the demon's names and characteristics. The fact that each book gets longer and longer is a downer for me. I prefer series books in which the author tells a tightly wound tale in 300-400 pages. The page count in this book could have been reduced considerably just by omitting the endless descriptions of the characters' breakfasts, lunches, and snacks and by cutting back on their constant showers—always followed by piece-by-piece descriptions of their many changes of clothes. Those details do not interest me because they add absolutely nothing to the story. 

     The actual story lines in this book are O.K., but not especially riveting. The business about Kara slipping back and forth among various identities sometimes gets confusing because there isn't always a catalyst for her "slippages." The next book will no doubt include more time with Kara's aunt Tess, who has a major connection with one of the unresolved issues left hanging at the end of this book. I'm hoping desperately that that book will contain a complete, in-depth glossary of demonic terms, demon types (including their characteristics), and characters. 

     Click HERE to read or listen to an excerpt from Fury of the Demon on the novel's page at Just click on either the cover art for print or the "Listen" icon for audio. 

       FAIR WARNING: This review       
      contains spoilers for the previous novels.      
                   NOVEL 7:  Vengeance of the Demon                    
     Let's start with the cover art. If a major character is nine months pregnant when the book begins, and if Kara is pictured on the cover holding a baby…guess what! Yes, Jill does have her baby at the end of this book (and I don't consider that to be a spoiler). If I were to tell you what happens in the moments after the birth, though…that would be a spoiler…so I won't. I'll just say that the whole scene is very woo-woo (as is much of the book) and that Jill's birth experience does not turn out to be the happiest or most predictable moment of her life.

     Just to sort things out, here is an annotated list of the primary and secondary characters explaining their current situations and their general roles in this book:

 > Kara Gillian (series heroine): She misses Mzatal, who has closed down his link with her so much that she can barely feel his emotions. She is being investigated by the Beaulac Police Department as a suspect in the murder of J.M. Farouche during the catastrophic scene at the Plantation that closed the previous book. She and Idris team up with Pellini to work on Beaulac's magical valves that connect with the demon realm.

 > Mzatal (Kara's lover, a demonic lord): He is leading the good-guys in the demon world as they attempt to destroy the coalition of Rhyzkahl and three other demonic lords. Mzatal appears in only one scene near the end of the booka scene that doesn't have the happiest of endings.

 > Ryan Kristoff (aka Szerain, a demonic lord): He is MIA throughout most of the book having cut off all communication with Kara and with his friends. "Ryan" actually doesn't exist any more because his demon selfSzerainhas completely taken over by now. 

 > Jill Faciane (Kara's BFF and Zack's girlfriend): She is dealing with the stress of the final weeks of her pregnancy and is trying not to be too angry that Zack hasn't been around at all since he broke his bond with Rhyzkahl at the Plantation, which weakened him terribly.

 > Zack (aka Zakaar, Jill's baby daddy, a demon who was Rhyzakahl's ptarl): He is fading fast because of his broken link with Rhyzkahl, and all of demonworld now views him as an oathbreaker. He has all but turned his back on Jill, and his behavior after the baby is born is highly unexpected. Zack rarely appears in this bookjust at the beginning and the end.

 > Rhyzkahl, a demonic lord: He is just as physically weak as Zackconfined to bed and unable to perform any magic. He has allied with the demonic lords Jesral, Amkir, and Kadir to establish a permanent gate between the worlds. He appears in only a few scenes, but they are important ones.

 > Tessa (Kara's aunt, a summoner): She is off with Isumo Katashi, her long-time mentor, throughout the entire book. She makes some shocking moves in the few scenes in which she appears.

 > Isumo Katashi: The world's most skilled and powerful summoner. Except for Idris and Kara, all summoners on Earth have been trained by him. Formerly, he worked for Mzatal, until he betrayed Mzatal and began working for Kadir. Now, he and Kara are working at cross purposes on the valves.

 > Idris Palatino: The moody summoner is staying with Kara so that they can fix the magical power valves in Beaulac. He and Kara have the starring roles in this book as they figure out how to fix the valves and outwit Katashi. Idris' sister was raped and murdered by Farouche's thugs in the previous book, so Idris is out to kill the men who did it: Jerry Steiner, Angus McDunn, and Leo Carter, all of whom appear in this book.

 > Bryce Thatcher: He was formerly one of Farouche's assassins, until he murdered Farouche and became one of Kara's allies. He is also staying with Kara, mostly to keep Idris calm and to take care of Jill.

 > Vincent Pellini: He is a Beaulac PD detective who has long been Kara's nemesis, but his role and his personality change completely in this book, and he is as much a star as Idris and Kara. You might remember that in the previous book, Pellini tried to get Kara to have coffee with him, and now you'll find out just what he wanted to talk to her about. It's a great surprise.

 > Marco Knight: He is a clairvoyant New Orleans police detective who stops in several times to drop some ambiguous clues to future events. Here is the most important one (which he divulges on page 5): "The twelfth is a radical game changer…Spawned of fierce cunning. Beauty and power exemplified. Beware the twelfth." What does it mean? Who knows? Both Kara and the reader must keep trying to figure it out all the way though to the final scenes.

     This book reads like a transitional, set-up piece for the final two novels. The primary plot revolves around the task of making all of the valves symmetrical so that they slow down Katashi's work. Here, Idris explains to Kara what a valve is and why valves are so important: "It's as if the demon realmthe planethas a generator at its core, and without an outlet it'll overload and tear itself to pieces….The whole valve system bleeds excess potency off the demon realm and dumps it on Earth….Nodes are more robust than valves, like a branch compared to a twig…The nodes are big tunnel bridges that carry the potency from the demon realm to here. When the potency gets to the end of the tunnel-bridge it empties into the pipelinesthe valve network." Katashi is trying to open a permanent gate between Earth and the demon realm, and the valves are an integral part of his plan. 

     The entire plot is very woo-woo, filled with demon names, demon language, and demon shenanigans. I must confess that even though I went back and read my plot summaries (the ones included in this post), I was still frequently at a loss as to who was who and what were the long-term ramifications of the Plantation episode that climaxed novel 6. Lots and lots of characters step in and out of the plot of this book, and frequently their previous roles are not explained in any detail, so you must rely on your memory of past events to get you through. Unfortunately, my memory only took me so farnot far enough in some cases. I did keep plowing ahead, though, and the going eventually got easier. But in the first half of the book, my pace was glacially slow because I had to keep looking up the characters (in the glossary at the back of the book) and past events (in my reviews). That's not a good way to read a book.

     This is a plot filled with betrayals, new friends, old enemies, and a convolution of woo-woo. It is definitely NOT a stand-alone. Even if you have read all of the other books (as I have), you will probably find it difficult to remember the histories of all of the characters and their ever-changing relationships with one another.

     Back in the early books, I was a huge fan of this series and enjoyed every book. But when all the demonic, abracadabra freakiness took over the plots, my enjoyment of the series began to take a nosedive. I'm sure that Rowland has a long-term plan to finish out the final two books in the series, but I hate that this book is so transitional that it doesn't really resolve any issuesjust postpones them for the next two books. As I said in another recent review, the author of a noveleven a series novelowes the reader a complete story, and that means resolution of at least a piece of the conflict. That doesn't happen in this book. 

    Click HERE to read or listen to an excerpt from Vengeance of the Demon on the novel's page at Just click on the cover art for print or on the "Listen" icon for audio


  1. This review says S4; however, your author page says S3.

  2. Book 4, "Sins of the Demon" is scheduled to be released on 01/03/2012.