** spoiler alert **
Hid this because looking at it now, I get kind of disgusted...
Well, my friends probably know what's coming. I loved this book!
LOL, JK, JK. I had you for a second there, didn't I? I agree with reviewers that realistic Part I
of Demon Angel
exceeds Part II
by far. In Part I
, we enjoy tension between medieval knight Hugh and demon Lilith as enemies and lovers, equals. Lilith tries to lure him, and Hugh parries- yet admirably remains a gentleman, though she throws herself at him repeatedly. They engage each other and laugh together, despite the dangerous undertone to their game. Their banter's by turns clever innuendo and intriguing theological debates about sin, both quintessential to their period. (Props. Brook must have some medieval British literature instruction.)
By Part II (the remaining 33 chapters of the 40), events have undergone a seismic shift. Hugh wallows in guilt. Lilith plays the wounded, enduring heroine while the hero takes her actions at face value and responds accordingly. He's kept in the dark, the better to make a martyr out of Lilith. Later, he feels guilty because he did not know that under the lying cocktease (for centuries) there's really a complex woman dying to be loved. He ought to have known that when she said "no" she really meant "yes." I'm sure rapists everywhere will be vindicated.
Chapter 20 reveals almost all of Lilith's woes, and the hero forces himself on her, justified with an explanation plausible only in Romancelandia. Once again, we must pity Lilith and vilify the male. It's notable that our hero only has the advantage or control of their interactions during love scenes, animal that he is. Good to know that if the hero can't be good, at least he can still rouse an orgasm from the heroine. What else is he good for, after all? Following this, he becomes fawning. He repeatedly flagellates himself for... everything. He exposes his feelings, and when she balks to reciprocate he lets her wheedle out of it. Some readers might have found him patient. I didn't care for their one-sided relationship.
Rinse, repeat. Meanwhile, as the hero is expounding upon the heroine's greatness, apologizing to the heroine for the umpteenth time, receiving reassurance from the heroine, or borrowing guilt and thinking about the heroine in melodramatic fashion ("Spilt milk, oh no! Will she be upset? Will she think it was her fault? Oh no!"), demons kidnap people. The suspense/action takes a distinct backseat to the "romance" and frequently involves demon's bargains that hinge on a technical point in the demon mythos invented by the author -so already, we're relying too much on "telling"- and nested, convoluted lies that would only interest the author ("I was lying when I said this and this, so what I really meant was..."). There wasn't a lot of action in this PNR. It was a bit like reading about Lady Gaga
without mentioning her wardrobe.
Too bad. I liked the writing style, and the emotion was deep, the characters and story complex and layered. I just cannot find their one-sided relationship and all the guilt and pity and martyrdom romantic. Even for a lover of angst like myself, this was too melodramatic. This read almost like women's fiction: Lilith and Her Progress using Hugh as a Conduit.
Or misandry. For those interested, I recommend reading this in chapters since the dialogue is self-referential and imbued with subtext. Although this encourages continuity, one loses the vein of events or dialogue stopping in the midst of a chapter, just FYI.Update: After reading some excerpts from her other novels, I think I've come to the conclusion I don't care for Brook's one-sided relationships. They seem invariably to feature a heroine who doesn't need the hero -'cause she's all that- while the hero oozes admiration and lust. Also, the heroine is invariably A Strong Female. She's had to endure so much and with spirit. The hero cannot compete. Despite the fact that her narratives sometimes speak from the male's point of view, they are always exulting the heroine. I wish she loved her heroes as much as her heroines.