Touched by a Demon, Book 2
Review of Touched by a Demon, Book 1
Heat Factor: What can I say? It gets hot in hell.
Character Chemistry: Very sweet
Plot: Satan’s master plan is sadly convoluted
Overall: Great world building, but I want a demon who needs redemption!
Readers, I would like to introduce you to Abaddon (Bad to his friends), the Certified Cinnamon Roll Demon. He is so sweet and snuggly – just ignore the horns. He might have signed up to do something distinctly reprehensible, but he’s doing it for a good reason. And honestly, except for that whole possessing the body of a human and lying about his true identity thing, he is a very lovable hero.
Now, I love me a good Cinnamon Roll Hero. And I also appreciate that Estridge is playing around with genre conventions by writing a snuggly demon for us all to love. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite work for me. I think it was because when we are first introduced to Bad, it seems like he’s a typical demon (you know, messing with the AC settings in Hell and doing his best to ingratiate himself to Satan for purposes of self-advancement); when it becomes apparent that he is actually not even a little bit evil, but is doing evil things for noble reasons, it feels like Estridge is trying to give us both a lovable hero AND a hero who must work for redemption, and she doesn’t quite balance the tension between these two opposing forces.
In addition, the plot is a little bit convoluted – mainly because the stakes are really unclear. Satan needs to collect some magical statues to do something evil, but it’s unclear why and how these statues are really magical or how any of this works. Yes, paranormal romances are sometimes ludicrously convoluted, but the stakes in the first book in the series were so clear that this was a bit of a letdown.
But how about the romance? It’s decent. We’re not in swoon territory (except for an exceptionally beautiful date that Bad plans for Keeffe), but there was nothing rage-inducing either. Except for that whole demon-possessing-a-human-body thing, they have good communication, and Bad is great about building Keeffe up when she needs it.
I just listed a lot of critiques. Let me be clear. The Demon’s in the Details was immensely fun to read for several reasons.
First, As I mentioned in my review of The Demon Always Wins, Estridge’s portrayal of Hell is fun and creative, and she does some excellent world-building here which gives it even more depth. (You do not need to read Book 1 in the series to understand what’s going on, by the way. The only repeat characters are Satan and Lilith.) She also raises some thought-provoking questions about the nature of evil. For example, what makes a demon a demon? Demon-hood is not intrinsic, turns out. Abaddon’s a demon because he works for Satan, not the other way around; it is the act of working for Satan that makes him take on demonic characteristics.
Second, while in retrospect I was a little disappointed in Bad’s arc, reading a likable hero is really soothing, and sometimes that is what you need in your life.
And third, what really makes Estridge’s books stand out is her portrayal of religious practitioners. (Note: I have a doctorate in religion with an emphasis on the portrayal of religious people in popular media, so, uh, I might care more about this than the average reader.) There are several devoutly Catholic characters whose faith is central to the plot without preachiness.
I voluntarily read and reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. We disclose this in accordance with 16 CFR §255.
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