Review: “The Demon Prince,” Ann Aguirre

Pros: Such a delicious couple!
Cons:
Rating: 5 out of 5

After reading Anne Aguirre’s The Leopard King (Ars Numina book one), I was so eager to read The Demon Prince (Ars Numina) (Volume 2) that I didn’t even pause to review the previous book first! In book one, Alastor, prince of the Golgoth, was a sardonic thorn in Dominic’s side. Now he’s been given sanctuary by the cat clan. It turns out that he is little-loved by his brother the king, and is considered entirely expendable–except by his group of fellow exiles, who love him fiercely. There’s a problem, though. Alastor has a rare genetic disease that threatens to kill him at every turn. He has a finite number of doses of his medication left, and when it’s gone, it’s just a matter of time before he dies. Sheyla, one of the doctors of the cat clan, sets about trying to recreate his medicine. Before she can finish, however, the Golgoths are mobilized to help save the city of Hallowell from the main Golgoth army. Sheyla accompanies Alastor in order to keep working on saving him.

Sheyla and Alastor are both such wonderful characters. Alastor faces everything with his own particular brand of humor. Sheyla is a grump, and I’m all but certain she’s meant to be non-neurotypical. (Also, both are bisexual, as we eventually learn.) It turns out that grumpy, no-social-skills Sheyla is very confident in bed, however, and very comfortable with taking charge. Alastor absolutely adores her as he gets to know her, and she’s shocked to find herself developing feelings for him.

I totally appreciate that Ms. Aguirre neatly sidestepped one of my least-favorite tropes–the one in which two women are rivals for a man’s affection and hate each other because of that. Rowena, one of the Golgoth exiles, seems to be in love with Alastor, but it doesn’t stop her from being friendly with Sheyla, and it also doesn’t stop her from being a strong character in her own right.

The inevitable attack on Hallowell is tense and engaging, with some definite surprises in store. Our various heroes are separated as they defend the city, and they’ll have to face some real losses. I look forward to finding out more in later books!

Now if you’ll pardon me–I have to go read book three.

Content note: explicit sex.

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