Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Book Review Club - May

This month I'm reviewing Angie Fox's paranormal romance The Dangerous Book for Demon Slayers for Barrie Summy's Book Review Club.

Have you heard of the sophomore slump? For writers, this is what happens when you spend years working on your first novel: learning, preparing, plotting, drafting, revising, and workshopping. You submit it, it sells, and wham! you have a two book contract. Now what? You have to write the second novel in a matter of months. You've never done anything like that before; you've poured everything you had into that first, wonderful novel.

Yeah, Angie Fox did not suffer from the dreaded sophomore slump with The Dangerous Book for Demon Slayers, which published last week, only nine months after Angie's debut novel (and New York Times best-seller) The Accidental Demon Slayer.

Everything that was good in The Accidental Demon Slayer was still good in The Dangerous Book for Demon Slayers, and the rest was even better.

Fox is just so creative and original. Her voice is fresh, and, hey - geriatric biker witches, roadkill magic, a straight-laced preschool teacher turned demon slayer - what's not to love?

Maybe just two small things. Like the first novel in the series, this one is tight and fast. Sometimes it's so tight and fast that it feels a bit rushed and I wonder - hey, what just happened? How did we get here? I think I missed something. But certainly tight and fast is better than sloppy and dragging, so I'll take it.

My other little complaint is with the romance angle. Don't get me wrong, I'm all about sexy Greek griffins. But Lizzie was a preschool teacher just a couple of weeks ago. She'd never heard of demons or magic, she'd never met her Grandma or smokin' hot Dimitri. Since then, life has been a whirlwind of trying to get up to speed . . . and stay alive.

I get that Lizzie and Dimitri have shared some intense experiences (read the first book to explore that understatement!) but Lizzie's transition to acceptance - and love - was awfully fast. She kept talking about "the old Dimitri," "this new man," and "the real Dimitri" (P. 106). But after only knowing a guy for a couple of weeks, how could she really be sure what the "old Dimitri" was like all of the time?

I'm thinking she couldn't, since Dimitri behaves very unreliably in this novel: disappearing, lying, keeping huge secrets, being undependable . . . and feeding on her without asking for permission. Lizzie sleeps with him anyway, and thinks about love when they mostly seem to connect through sex throughout the beginning and middle of this story. It gets a lot better at the end, don't worry. That's good, because for a while I was thinking that this seemed like a very unhealthy relationship and I was rooting for Lizzie to dump the griffin!

But mostly The Dangerous Book for Demon Slayers is great: a clever, funny, creative, surprising, fast read. So let's wrap up with a few more positives, shall we?

Fox did a really nice job of catching up new readers - no easy task in a paranormal - without boring return customers like me. And she has some wonderful turns of phrase throughout this book. I'll close with a wee little quote from the first scene.

"Pardon," I mumbled as I braced one hand on a rust-flecked cigarette machine and eased a black boot up and over the very hairy man who seemed to be using the selection knobs for a pillow. His mouth slacked open and a snore rumbled in his throat. Of course he wouldn't have noticed if I'd tap-danced across his whatnots, but I was raised as a good Southern girl and, well, old habits die hard.

Check out the other reviews this month over at Barrie Summy's!

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