Book Review: THE DEMON LOVER by Juliet Dark

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Series: Fairwick Chronicles, #1
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Released: December 27, 2011
Source: Review copy from NetGalley

Since accepting a teaching position at remote Fairwick College in upstate New York, Callie McFay has experienced the same disturbingly erotic dream every night: A mist enters her bedroom, then takes the shape of a virile, seductive stranger who proceeds to ravish her in the most toe-curling, wholly satisfying ways possible. Perhaps these dreams are the result of her having written the bestselling book The Sex Lives of Demon Lovers. Callie’s lifelong passion is the intersection of lurid fairy tales and Gothic literature—which is why she’s found herself at Fairwick’s renowned folklore department, living in a once-stately Victorian house that, at first sight, seemed to call her name.

But Callie soon realizes that her dreams are alarmingly real. She has a demon lover—an incubus—and he will seduce her, pleasure her, and eventually suck the very life from her. Then Callie makes another startling discovery: Her incubus is not the only mythical creature in Fairwick. As the tenured witches of the college and the resident fairies in the surrounding woods prepare to cast out the demon, Callie must accomplish something infinitely more difficult—banishing this supernatural lover from her heart.

———

THE DEMON LOVER is a unique story – definitely more of an erotic Gothic fantasy than a paranormal romance. It’s told from the point of view of Callie McFay, an author who takes a teaching job at Fairwick College. Callie’s field of expertise is Gothic literature and its fairy tale/folklore influences. She’s particularly drawn to the myth of the incubus, writing about him in her book The Sex Lives of Demon Lovers.

To Callie’s delight, she buys Honeysuckle House, the former home of Dahila LaMotte, a reclusive Gothic romance novelist who died in 1934. Even more exciting – Dahila’s journals on writing and first drafts of her novels were left in the house. They gave Callie a shocking glimpse at what was really going on in Honeysuckle House all those years ago.

Callie’s parents died when she was young, and as a teenager, she was visited by a fairy tale prince in her dreams. He kept to the shadows of her mind, offering comfort in her times of grief and loneliness. Being in Honeysuckle House seems to have brought him back, only now Callie’s encounters with her dream man are very erotic. Could he be a real incubus like the ones she wrote about in her book? If so, she must find a way to get rid of him before he drains her life force and leaves her for dead.

I had mixed feelings about this book. First, the positives. The writing was excellent. I loved the author’s voice. She created the perfect eerie Gothic atmosphere for this story. The world building was also a strong point. I loved how the college was a refuge for many mythical creatures, each one very unique. Honeysuckle House was an intriguing character, too.

On the flip side, I had trouble connecting with Callie. Maybe her personality could have been stronger. I just never cared for her that much. I’m hoping she’ll come into her own in the next book. I also thought the plot could have been tighter. The first part of the book was about Callie and the demon lover, but then the focus changes to the side characters. The ending was not what I expected (a cliffhanger, of sorts), but since the story continues in THE WATER WITCH, I won’t get too upset.

Rating: 3½ Stars

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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