Pros: Tense, detailed plotting; interesting world; nifty characters; fun protagonist
Cons: Very complex world; bad guys somewhat shallow
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Review book courtesy of Penguin Group.
Demon Mistress is book six of Yasmine Galenorn’s Otherworld series (why on earth don’t publishers make that obvious on book covers the way they used to?). I happened to start the series with book five—one of the perils of being a book reviewer—so I will warn you that this is a very intricate world. It’s possible to get into it part-way through the series, but I don’t recommend trying to do so if you can avoid it; pick up the earlier books first.
This is one of those series where the publishers seem to have nailed the back cover text when it comes to summing the increasingly-complex premise up for you, so I’ll quote:
We’re the D’Artigo sisters. Half-human, half-Fae, we’re savvy—and sexy—operatives for the Otherworld Intelligence Agency. But our mixed-blood heritage short-circuits our talents at all the wrong times. My sister Camille is a wicked-good witch whose magic is as unpredictable as the weather. My sister Delilah transforms into a tabby cat at the worst possible times. And me? I’m Menolly, acrobat-extraordinaire-turned-vampire. And if the nerds from hell don’t get their act together, I’m going to turn their toga party into a bloodbath…
The sisters have their work cut out for them this time as they discover a nerds-only version of a college fraternity—with an emphasis on demon-summoning, necromancy, and all sorts of evil! There are plenty of ghouls, a soul-sucking squid, a new necromantic neighbor for the girls, and a continuation of Fae court intrigue.
Menolly is my favorite of the D’Artigo sisters so far. She’s blunt, un-diplomatic, sarcastic, and fun. She’s also bisexual, and I get so many straight romances and erotica novels as review books that it makes a nice change of pace. She isn’t the type for settling down as easily as her sisters, but she has some fun and sweet-hot exchanges with a female shape-shifter and a couple of “friendly” demons.
The tense fights, frights, and demon-bashing take front and center in this book, and I love that. (Too many paranormal romances skimp on the plot and rely on personality conflict between love interests to somehow keep things moving, which doesn’t work very well.) In Night Huntress I found the fights a little awkward and D&D-ish, but they flow very well in Demon Mistress.
The sisters and their rag-tag coterie of allies lend themselves to a delightful air of humor and snark, so I should note that there’s some rather dark adult material in this book as well. Menolly has had a pretty painful past, and reminders of it do crop up. Her memories of her treatment at the hands of the vampire that created her haunt her, and make relationships difficult for her.
The bad guys are definitely of the eeevil variety, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing—it definitely makes for easy, fun butt-kicking. Instead it’s the good guys who tend to be cast in shades of gray in what I’ve read of this series. (In the last book I had trouble liking Delilah’s love interest at all; I find Menolly’s interests to be much more enjoyable.)
All in all, Demon Mistress certainly makes for enjoyable summer-time reading!