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Demon’s Kiss by Eve Silver

September 8, 2010

Okay, I’ve done it. I’ve finished a book when I said I would. It was rather like running a marathon. I’m not used to reading on a time schedule which, of course, meant that things I had to do besides reading cropped up right and left. And suddenly, I decided to take a spinning class instead of doing my regular workout. That lost me an hour of my usual reading time.

Although, maybe I would have made all the time in the world to finish Demon’s Kiss if I had liked it more. I’ll be upfront and say that I got this book at my favorite used bookstore but I only chose it after half an hour of standing in front of the Paranormal section picking titles up only to put them down again. I always try to be optimistic when reading something by a new author. There’s nothing better than finding a new someone who writes the kind of books that really work for you–then you often have a whole backlist waiting for you to discover. Then, it’s not just a matter of waiting until the next new book comes around–there’s plenty of old stuff to keep you occupied!

Eve Silver, however, was not one of those authors for me. I knew that almost right away, due to this exchange between two of the books minor characters (and no doubt, heroes for the later installments in what is clearly a series) and the hero, Ciarran.

He sucked in a slow breath, narrowed his eyes. “So how is it that Asag, a demon of uncommon power walks unbound, unfettered by his summoner?”

“Not just Asag.” Darqun leaned in close. “Yesterday I found a minor demon pawing through garbage in a back alley. It had no keeper.”

“No frigging way.” Javier slapped his palm against the table.

“Way,” Darqun grunted.

I rolled my eyes when I read this exchange. Was I being asked to believe that the three guys who talk this way are bad-ass sorcerers who have lived for centuries and continuously work to save the world from demon kind? Really? They don’t even use proper swear words, not to mention the high note of melodrama in their speech and a lot of alliterative adjectives. Heh. I mean, unbound was plenty–why clarify with unfettered? Does Ciarran doubt that his friend will understand him if he doesn’t use lots of synonyms? If that’s the case, then I better put on my happy face for all those demons ‘cuz I don’t think I’m gonna live all that long. And don’t get me started on his use of “T’would” and “T’was”. I’ll just say my eyes practically rolled right out of their sockets and leave it at that.

Don’t think I’ve forgotten the heroine! Her name is Clea. She takes everything in stride. I mean everything. At the beginning of the book, Clea is nearly attacked by a demon. She’s a hot commodity because she is something called a conduit, which, as far as I can tell, means that she can steal Ciarran’s power and, also open the portal between the demon and human realms. Ciarran thoughtfully shows up in time to save her life and he basically whips her away from her old life (which includes a job and medical school) but that’s okay because her parents died years ago in a car crash and she’s literally just buried her grandmother. So, no one misses her, really. I can’t say I blame them. Never once does Clea lament the fact that she has been dragged away from the job that allows her to pay the rent, or her third year of medical school, for which she quite clearly states she is paying for through nose. I mean, duh, it’s medical school. What boggles me is that, if I had finished three years of medical school and some demons came in and, basically, destroyed my life, I’d be a little pissed. But not Clea. According to Ciarran, she’s brave and stupid. Oh, wait, that last one was me talking.

Okay, okay, that all sounds a little harsh. I really hope no one ever shows this review to Eve Silver. Although, I have a hard time imagining that will ever happen. The sad part is that I’m not done nitpicking. Almost as soon as Clea and Ciarran meet (or meet again, rather, since they did [albeit informally] twenty years ago) they have almost instantaneous sexual attraction. I’m not kidding. It’s zero to sixty in sixty seconds. Or whatever the phrase is. I don’t mind–in fact, I like it–when characters are attracted to each other on the spot. What bothers me is when the characters leap from “he’s cute” to purple prose in the space of a heartbeat. It’s not that I think such things never happen, it’s just that it detracts from the deliciousness that is sexual tension.To be honest, I was bored with Clea and Ciarran’s relationship almost from the moment it started. There were no surprises, no interesting elements and by the time they finally gave in to their urges, I was like, okay, already! That’s enough!

Other niggling plot points: As I mentioned, Clea and Cirran (more alliteration) meet twenty years before story starts, on a particularly tragic night in the former’s life. At one point, when Clea is forced to return to the event of the tragedy, she reflects that she has dreamed about a certain tree at the crash site often in the years since the accident. This makes me wonder: If she so clearly remembers the tree, why doesn’t she remember Ciarran’s face? If the events are so burned into her memory, then it doesn’t ring true to me that she doesn’t recognize him when they meet again.

Also, I mentioned that Clea is a medical student, right? Well, when Clea and Ciarran finally, er, do the deed, they have a brief interaction that all responsible couples have. Yes, the one about a condom. Which makes sense. As a medical student, Clea is probably well-informed about the importance of safe sex. But when Ciarran assures Clea that he can’t catch any human diseases, she takes him at his word. This is, like, the paranormal version of a guy saying, “I’m totally clean. There’s no way I could have anything.” And then the girl finds out she’s got chlamydia six months later. Not to mention the fact that wearing a condom isn’t just about sexually transmitted diseases, it’s about pregnancy. I don’t know if it’s possible for Ciarran to have children–maybe that particular part of his physiology is different–but Silver never brings it up. I thought, at first, Clea would be pregnant at the end of the novel, like it was intentional, but I was wrong. She isn’t. And Clea never thinks about the possibility. Which just seems just plain impossible for a person who is supposed to be educated about the human body. But maybe they don’t teach that stuff in medical school anymore. Maybe the classes are more along the lines of  “Charging Your Patients the Most Amount of Money Possible” and “Making Patients Wait Longer (Advance Studies)”. Who knows.

There is one thing that I can say that is positive about this book: the publisher gets props for a relevant book cover. Ciarran has one gloved hand in the book. So does the man on the cover page. Hey, don’t knock it. It’s not every cover page that bears some relevance to the story. Sometimes I’m convinced publishers put all the cover art in a big hat and let their children pick them out.

Bleh. I’m tuckered out. I didn’t know I had so many thoughts about this book until I wrote them all down. I would like to apologize to Eve Silver for panning her book so severely. Maybe someday, a long time from now, I will pick up another one of your books and see how you have improved as a writer. I hope so.

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