demonloverReviewed by Sara Drake

Callie McFay has finished a PhD in folklore and has begun the search for a job. At Fairwick College, she gets a job and much more. Inexplicably drawn to an old Victorian with an odd reputation, she becomes both a home owner and possessor of original documents written by one of her favorite Gothic writers. More importantly, she finds herself dreaming of a shadowy lover, one capable of fulfilling her erotic desires.

I must admit to a pet peeve. I hate when an author tells me a character is an expert in a field and then writes scene after scene when the character shows no knowledge of their own field. For example, Callie wrote a book on the sex lives of demon lovers, she has advanced degrees in folklore, yet at no point in the book does she demonstrate any knowledge of either topic. She asks the other characters and reads books looking for information that most people who have read a book on demon lovers would have already known. While some of Ms. Dark’s fantasy elements came straight from her imagination, many more were drawn from folklore. Callie should have had a much deeper understanding than she did.

Ms. Dark created a vivid, well-imagined world that sprang to life from the pages. The basic concepts were original, offering fantasy and paranormal readers something different. The writing was lyrical and draws the reader immediately into the story. I fell under its spell from the first page. However, the academic world-building held multiple irritations to me. Callie appears to have fallen into a full-time job that requires her to teach only one class. Wow, I want one of those! The views we see of Callie’s teaching gave me the impression that she was running a book club rather than an academic course. Actually, that is unfair to book clubs who often discuss literature in much greater depth than anything we saw in Callie’s course.

The plot became easy to predict. I reached the end of the book having anticipated all of the plot twists, with the exception of one whose sole purpose seemed to be to set the book up as a series. The lack of surprises disappointed me but I still did enjoy the journey. The world, the characters, and the writing were all fun. The sex scenes certainly provided titillation, were well written, and fairly short. While some of the scenes did not serve much to move the story forward, they provided background ambiance.

I am so torn about The Demon Lover! I enjoyed it, in fact I am considering giving the second book in the series a chance. Yet, parts of it really annoyed me. The bottom line, I felt the author could have researched Gothic literature and folklore more, or if she did extensive research, she should have included more in the book.

Rating: ★★½☆☆ 

Sara Drake has been an avid reader since a young age. She has both a Master’s in Mental Health Counseling and a Master’s in History.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Ballantine Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.