"The Demon in Me," Michelle Rowen

Pros: A rather fascinating start to an unusual series
Cons: Poor Eden gets embarrassed a lot; tone struggles a little between dark and campy; a character or two could have used a bit more detail
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Review book courtesy of Penguin Group

 

Eden has an unreliable touch of psychic ability, and a knack for being in the right place at the right time… or is that wrong place, wrong time? Right place, wrong time? Wrong place, right time? Any and all of the above, most likely. She’s crushing on the hunky cop who doesn’t believe in anything supernatural (especially psychic consultants), and her first experience working with him is nothing short of traumatic. It also leaves her with one really big problem: a disembodied demon possessing her.

Darrak’s physical body was destroyed hundreds of years ago, and now he’s forced to move from body to body, host to host, just to survive. This is the first time he’s been able to communicate clearly with his host, and even better, Eden’s psychic energy allows him to manifest during the daytime. He can feel that the witch who cursed him is somewhere nearby; he just has to get Eden to help him convince the witch to lift the curse. Before, of course, Eden decides that she’s going crazy. Or has him exorcised (i.e., destroyed). Or falls for that annoying blond cop he dislikes so much…


 

Yet another side effect of having the house repaired: I’ve gathered together the disparate books in a few series I’d wanted to review. So although Michelle Rowen’s The Demon in Me was put out a couple of years ago, the premise looked interesting and I decided to dive into the “Living in Eden” series from the beginning. The premise is a lot of fun—a rather prudish and geeky young woman is stuck with an all-too-sinful demon. And if she doesn’t get rid of him soon, well, let’s just say bad things will happen. Yet her options are limited, because she’s finding it hard to hurt him; he may drive her nuts, but she’s having trouble reconciling him with the image she has of a demon.

I wasn’t entirely fond of Eden’s particular brand of geekery—plots in which the main character is constantly being embarrassed and humiliated in various ways don’t really appeal to me. Luckily this wasn’t carried out too terribly far. Thankfully her back-and-forth on whether Darrak is “good” or “evil” makes a lot of sense—there are plenty of layers of details to uncover, and nothing is entirely as it seems. I didn’t have to have the usual frustrated moment of “why on earth are you believing this person who’s obviously trying to tell you a bunch of bull?” because things had more depth and complexity to them than that, and she was understandably confused, not simply changing her mind on a dime.

A few of the characters could have used a little more depth, or been a tad less one-sided. Honestly, I never considered Ben a serious competitor as a love interest. Malcolm (a young man who wants to protect hapless humanity from the things that go bump in the night) was portrayed a little simplistically, although I liked what I saw; hopefully there’ll be more to him in later books.

It also felt like the tone wavered a bit. It’s certainly possible to get a good balance of campy and dark going, but sometimes things seemed to come down a little far on one side or the other. Hopefully that’ll smooth out a bit as the series progresses, too.

All in all it’s a fun concept for a series, and I’m looking forward to what happens next (we’re certainly left with plenty to chew on!).

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