Series: The Guardians

Retro Review: Demon Angel by Meljean Brook

Posted February 8, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Retro Review: Demon Angel by Meljean BrookReviewer: Holly
Demon Angel by Meljean Brook
Series: The Guardians #1
Also in this series: Demon Moon, Demon Night, Demon Bound, Demon Forged, Guardian Demon
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: January 2nd 2007
Pages: 432
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

For two thousand years, Lilith wrought vengeance upon the evil and the damned, gathering souls for her father's armies Below and proving her fealty to her Underworld liege. Bound by a bargain with the devil and forbidden to feel pleasure, she draws upon her dark powers and serpentine grace to lead men into temptation. That is, until she faces her greatest temptation—Heaven's own Sir Hugh Castleford...

Once a knight and now a Guardian, Hugh spent centuries battling demons—and the cursed, blood-drinking nosferatu. His purpose has always been to thwart the demon Lilith, even as he battles his treacherous hunger for her. But when a deadly alliance unleashes a threat to both humans and Guardians in modern-day San Francisco, angel and demon must fight together against unholy evil—and against a desire that has been too long denied...

 ******As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.
Man, I miss Meljean Brook. Per her website, she’s still writing, but things are going slooow. We haven’t had a new release from her in way too long. Demon Angel isn’t my favorite Brook novel, but it sets up this world so beautifully I had to repost this review. I feel a series re-read coming on.
This review was originally published July 15, 2013

The world building was imaginative, sensual and amazing. I was pleasantly surprised by the way Brook drew me into her fierce battle for souls and the fight between good and evil. I was also drawn in by the two lead characters, Lilith and Hugh. Though they came from two different worlds (literally) and were on opposite sides of an eternal battle, their connection to one another came across as not just sexual, but very emotional as well, which made their constant conflict all the more believable.

I also enjoyed the secondary characters and the relationships they had with Lilith and Hugh. Colin, the vampire they both befriended despite themselves; Sir Pup, Lilith’s hellhound; Savi, Hugh’s roommate and even Auntie, the woman who once took Hugh in, were fabulous characters, and while they played a large part in the overall story, they in no way intruded on the focus of the main story.

There were too many questions left unanswered, I think. Part of the appeal of this book is it really makes you think. Nothing is tied up in a nice, neat little bow, there are questions left unanswered and things you have to figure out on your own. Which was good and bad. I felt there were a few too many things left unexplained. However, because this is the first book of a series, I’m willing to wait for the next book before passing judgment.

I really struggled with the pacing. As much as I enjoyed this book, it was very slow moving. At times, the pace would pick up and I’d be sucked in, unable to set it down, and then it would get bogged down again and I’d have a hard time giving it my full attention. I understand that a lot of the information imparted was important for the story and the basis of the world Brook created, but at times there was Too Much Information. I think, in all honesty, the story could have been 100 pages shorter and been better for it.

Overall, I adored the storyline, the world building and the characters. I can’t wait for Demon Moon. I do hope, however, that the pacing will work better than it did in this one.

I think I’m going to give this one a solid:

4 out of 5

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This book is available from Berkley Sensation. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

*This review was first published at Sanctuary’s Finest.

four-stars


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Review: Guardian Demon by Meljean Brook

Posted September 18, 2013 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Guardian Demon by Meljean BrookReviewer: Holly
Guardian Demon by Meljean Brook
Series: The Guardians #8
Also in this series: Demon Moon, Demon Night, Demon Bound, Demon Forged, Demon Angel
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: August 6th 2013
Pages: 576
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
five-stars

The new novel in the Guardian series from Meljean Brook, bestselling author of the  Iron Seas novels...

After a terrifying encounter in Hell destroys her trust in Michael, the Guardians’ powerful leader, former detective Andromeda Taylor is ready to call it quits as one of the angelic warriors and resume her human life again. But when demonic forces threaten her closest friends and she uncovers a terrifying plot devised by Lucifer, Taylor is thrown straight into Michael’s path again…

To defeat Lucifer, Michael needs every Guardian by his side—and he needs Taylor more than any other. The detective is the key to keeping his own demonic side at bay, and Michael will do anything to protect her and keep her close. And when Taylor manifests a deadly power, her Gift might tip the scales in the endless war between Heaven and Hell…or it might destroy them both with a single touch.

 

This is the book I’ve been waiting for. Though the leader of the Guardians hasn’t always been my favorite character, I have to admit he’s intrigued me from the beginning. I meant to re-read the series to prepare for this book, but once I received it I couldn’t wait and dove right into it. Though I’d forgotten many of the details of the previous books I felt Brook did a credible job of bringing me up to speed without bogging the story down. I would say this is a book best read as part of the series.

This novel is split into two stories. Story One is that of Taylor and Michael. Not just their romance, but the growth and changes they experience as individuals. Taylor is still trying to come to terms with her new life as a Guardian, and Michael’s betrayal of her in Hell makes her adjustment that much harder. As she struggles to find her new sense of self, she grapples with the decision of whether or not to continue on as a Guardian or go back to being human; not a decision to be made lightly.

For thousands of years Michael has held the esteem of his fellow Guardians. To have lost that, along with Taylor’s good opinion of him, sends him reeling. Plus, he was more attached to Taylor than even he realized. When she rejected him it caused more damage than he could have predicted. He wants to have what time he can with her, because the final battle their faced with will probably destroy him. But it’s hard for them to get quality time together when she’s terrified of him.

Story Two is that of the final confrontation between Lucifier, Belial and his demons and the Guardians. Brook’s world is so intricate. There are a million threads leading a million different place. She pulls them all together here and it culminates in an epic battle between the good, the evil and the lesser evil. One of the most fascinating things about this series is the gray area. The gray area is what made this book so emotionally compelling. Good is good and evil is evil..except when evil is good. This multi-faceted and three-dimensional world held me firmly in its grip until the very last page, and beyond.

I laughed, I cried, I broke out in a cold sweat.

Though I’m sad to see the series end, I have to admit this was the perfect way to close it. Michael didn’t disappoint. As much as I enjoyed the romantic aspects of the story, I was really drawn in by the final battle between the Guardians and the Demons. A dramatic and stunning conclusion to the series.

5 out of 5

This book is available from Berkley. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

five-stars


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Review and a Giveaway: Demon Forged by Meljean Brook

Posted October 5, 2009 by Holly in Giveaways, Reviews | 40 Comments

Review and a Giveaway: Demon Forged by Meljean BrookReviewer: Holly
Demon Forged by Meljean Brook
Series: The Guardians #5
Also in this series: Demon Moon, Demon Night, Demon Bound, Guardian Demon, Demon Angel
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: October 6th 2009
Pages: 432
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Acclaimed author Meljean Brook returns to the darkly sensual world of the Guardians with the tale of a prophecy, a devilish bargain, and a doomed love...

Four centuries ago, Guardians Irena and Alejandro would have succumbed to the need burning between them -- if a demon and a monstrous bargain hadn't shattered the possibility of love. Torn apart by her shame, Irena avoided Alejandro for centuries -- until a vampire's call for help threw her into his arms again.

Alejandro can control fire, but he's never been able to control -- or quench -- the flames between him and Irena. And he knows that Irena, hardened by her hatred for demonkind, will never accept that he now works at a demon's behest. But even as he fights for a second chance, a shocking betrayal and a deadly prophecy shake the foundations of the Guardian universe, and all Hell threatens to break loose...

 

Demon Forged is the 8th book (the 5th full length) in Meljean Brook‘s Guardians series. I have to say, she was really blessed by the cover gods. This one is absolutely amazing, but so were all of her others.

Normally when I read these novels the romance is at the forefront and the overall story-arc takes a backseat. That wasn’t the case for me here. Though I enjoyed the romance between Irena and Alejandro, I was more caught up in what was going on in the Guardian world. Brook’s world is complex and imaginative, and trying to discover all the twists and turns makes for fascinating reading.

Irena and Alejandro had serious chemistry. That’s something that carried over from previous novels. I was intrigued especially by Irena, who was shown in the past to be hard, strong and seriously kickass. My opinion of her didn’t change in this novel. I might want to be her when I grow up.

Alejandro wasn’t as compelling as Irena, but he did compliment her perfectly. He didn’t exactly standout in comparison to her, but neither did he fade into the background. His quiet strength and iron control were the perfect balance to her flashy temper and bold outspokenness. In the beginning especially I thought Irena outshone Alejandro, but at the novel progresses and he opens up more, it’s obvious he chooses his battles wisely. Although at first he seems passive, it isn’t long before we realize there’s more there than we were led to believe.

As always there’s a lot going on. Storylines from previous novels are expanded on here, and more information is brought to light. As I said above, I was more drawn to the overall story arc than I was the romance. But don’t misunderstand, I enjoyed both. I was just more caught up in the overall events and what they’ll mean in the future.

I wasn’t totally surprised by certain things that happened at the end of the novel. But I was well and truly shocked at the final result. I never would have expected the way certain characters ended up. I know many people (myself included) often read the end of a novel before the beginning, but I would warn you not to do so in the case. I hesitate to say more as I don’t want to spoil it.

Another winner from Meljean Brook. It dragged a bit in the middle, but the end took me totally by surprise. The characters were everything I expected of them, especially Irena. A more kickass heroine I’ve yet to meet. Overall, it was amazing.

4.5 out of 5

This book is available from Berkley. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

Giveaway Alert: I have a shiny, brand new copy of Demon Forged to giveaway. Leave a comment on this post before 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, October 7th and you’ll be entered to win. Giveaway Alert

four-half-stars


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Review: Demon Bound by Meljean Brook

Posted November 3, 2008 by Holly in Reviews | 6 Comments

Review: Demon Bound by Meljean BrookReviewer: Holly
Demon Bound by Meljean Brook
Series: The Guardians #4
Also in this series: Demon Moon, Demon Night, Demon Forged, Guardian Demon, Demon Angel
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 326
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
five-stars

Novice Guardian Jake Hawkins has a power that could help Alice Grey out of her deal with a demon. But in helping her, he never expects to fall in love. Now fleeing for their lives, they’re about to discover a secret that will change their universe forever.

Alice Grey has been a Guardian for over a century. When she was a human, she made a bargain with the demon Teqon. She agreed that she would give him the heart of the head Guardian Michael. This bargain has been haunting her all this time and now Teqon is asking that fulfill her debt. Jake Hawkins, a novice Guardian has trouble controlling his gift of teleportation. He teams up with Alice to help her find a loop-hole in her bargain with Teqon.

 

This is the most recent addition to Meljean Brook‘s Guardian series. It’s no secret that I’m 100% obsessed with this series and that I have a major girl crush on Meljean herself. I think she’s brilliant as an author, and what I know of her as a person is just as wonderful. Having said that, I almost didn’t finish this book. Actually, I almost didn’t read more than a chapter or two before setting it aside. It’s a testament of my love for her that I finished it at all.

Alice Grey was trapped into a bargain with the demon Teqon in which she promised to deliver the heart of The Doyen Michael or forfeit her soul. As she struggles with her decision, she avoids close contact with all the other Guardians. Not just because she’s afraid of coming to care for them, but more because she’s afraid of what might happen if they come to care for her.

Jake Hawkins is a novice Guardian who’s still trying to master his talent – teleporting. He stumbles upon Alice when he accidentally shifts and lands in some ruins Alice is investigating, though he doesn’t realize at first who she is. Once he finds out she’s “the” Black Widow, he’s intrigued by her. The more time he spends with her, the more fascinated with her he becomes. Especially since she’s determined to keep him at a distance when he only wants to get closer to her.

Of course, the attraction they’re battling is the least of their worries. Alice’s bargain, nephilim, demons, other Guardians; all are coming together to put both of them in danger. When Jake and Alice end up in Hell, it’s just the icing on the cake. But what they find there isn’t something they ever could have predicted. Will the information they come away with free Alice from her bargain, or doom her to an eternity in Hell?

I loved this book. Well, after I got past the first few chapters I loved it. Ok, and even after the first few chapters I had a few issues, but…well, I suffer from arachnophobia. Having said that, this book wasn’t easy for me to get through. Alice’s Guardian gift is the ability to communicate with arachnids (I don’t say the “S” word, it’s dirty). I’m sure you can imagine how hard that was for me to deal with. As I said above, it’s a testament of my love for Meljean that I even continued reading it. I’m glad I did, because the story was amazing. Meljean more than made up for torturing me in the beginning. g

Alice was very interesting. She starts out as a creepy, weird woman who hides in the archives in Caelum and frightens the novices. But as the story progressed I found her to be such a contrast of independent yet vulnerable. On her own she was a wonderful character – aloof and standoffish, yet warm and loving and yes, creepy. But with Jake she really shined. I really loved watching her come out of her shell. They complimented each other so well. Watching them grow and mature together is what really made this story.

Jake. Ah, Jake. What can I say, I loved him. He was such a beautiful counterpart for Alice. He was strong, caring, loving, honorable…perfect. Though he seems unsure of himself in the beginning, it isn’t long before we see his well of inner strength. And the way he attached himself to Alice and became her champion made me all melty inside. He had demons of his own to face, and he did, but it was the way he stood up for Alice, stood by Alice, that made his character for me.

The storyline takes more twists and turns with this entry. If you thought you had the world and all it’s complexities figured out, you’re sure to be surprised. A new element is introduced in this novel that once again throws the Guardians for a loop. I can’t wait to see where these new changes take the overall story arc of the series.

Besides my one issue I found this entry in the series to be just as well done as the previous ones. I was concerned that because Jake was described as so young earlier in the series that I’d have a hard time connecting with him, but as always Meljean showed us appearances can be deceiving. He may have only been a novice guardian, but he was just as complex as all her other characters. The overall storyline was as complex and beautifully done as always. I can’t wait for the next installment.

4.75 out of 5 (I had to take away from the grade because of the sheer creep factor..I’m still having nightmares)

This book is available from Berkley. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

five-stars


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Review: Demon Night by Meljean Brook ~ Now with Link to Excerpt

Posted January 24, 2008 by Holly in Reviews | 6 Comments

Review: Demon Night by Meljean Brook ~ Now with Link to ExcerptReviewer: Holly
Demon Night by Meljean Brook
Series: The Guardians #3
Also in this series: Demon Moon, Demon Bound, Demon Forged, Guardian Demon, Demon Angel
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: February 5th 2008
Pages: 448
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
five-stars

Meljean Brook returns to explore the seductive corners of the dark, as a forbidden attraction tempts danger under the canopy of the Demon Night.

Charlie Newcomb worked hard to get her life back together. But all that is shaken when she's set upon by three vampires desperate to transform her beauty into something evil. Because Charlie is the vital link to something they want--and need: Charlie's flesh-and-blood sister, a medical scientist whose knowledge could be invaluable to the predators.

But to get to her, they must first get to Charlie, who's now under the intimate protection of Ethan McCabe. As her Guardian, Ethan is attracted to her vulnerabilities--as well as her strengths. The closer he gets, the more protecting her becomes not just his duty, but his desire. Will it be enough to save Charlie when the demon night falls?

I have to start out by saying…I love that cover. Love it. I’ve spent more time than is healthy over at Meljean Brook’s website staring at it. Seriously. She was totally blessed by the powers that be in the cover department. Lucky girl.

I’m a Meljean Brook fangirl. I loved her first book in The Guardians series, Demon Angel, I absolutely adored the second book Demon Moon, and I’m in love with this, the third book. She has the most amazing way of telling a story, with equal parts humor, depth and emotion.

One of the most amazing things about Ms. Brook’s stories is the imagery. If an author is good, she can pull me into her story and make it so I feel like I’m watching it, rather than reading it. More like a movie showing in my head, one I’m totally engrossed in. Other times I feel like I’m being told a story, but not drawn into it. MB definitely falls into the category of the former. It’s not that I feel like I’m the heroine, or any of the other characters, but that I’m right there with them as they follow their journey.

There were times whilst reading this when I truly felt like my heart would break. My palms got clammy and a knot formed in my stomach. Other times I was so emotionally overcome I felt tears welling in my eyes. It was…amazing.

Charlie was an interesting character, full of contradictions and inner strength. She’s a recovering alcoholic and former Opera singer who has a lot of personal demons to fight. At first glance, she seems weak and self-pitying, but as we – and her darling hero – come to learn, she’s nothing if not strong and self-aware. There were times when my heart hurt reading about her, and other times when my stomach ached from laughing so hard at her witty and sarcastic personality. I do so love a witty and sarcastic heroine.

Ethan (Drifter) was an equally interesting character. Following along with Charlie as she learned more about him, his past, what drives him, was truly fascinating. Just when I thought I had him figured out a new side to him would show and I’d be back to wondering just who, exactly, he was. His determination to protect Charlie was wonderful, but the underlying need to care for her – to make sure she was always comfortable and happy, as well as safe – was what made him so irresistible and compelling. It wasn’t so much his actions, but the reasoning behind them.

Basically, these were three dimensional characters that were much more than they appeared to be.

The plot itself was well fleshed out. While there are other things going on (an investigation into the lab Charlie’s sister Jane works for, vampires after Charlie, a Demon I haven’t quite figured out yet, and a super scary demon that was released from Hell) I never felt like I couldn’t keep up or too much was happening at once.

We saw Lilith and Hugh, and Savi and Colin, and Sir Pup, Lilith’s Hellhound. Seeing them was wonderful, and MB did a fabulous job of keeping them in the background, without having their presence overshadow the main story.

I’m intrigued by Charlie’s sister, and the sub-plot that involved her. I’m hoping we’ll see more of her in future books.

Overall a well fleshed out, colorful, emotional tale you don’t want to miss.

5 out of 5

This book is available from Berkley on February 5th. Pre-order it here or here in eBook format.

Also, exciting news! Meljean Brook has agreed to Guest Blog with us the first week of February, so be sure to check back. She even mentioned something about a giveaway…:)

Update: The Good, The Bad and The Unread was lucky enough to get an Exclusive Sneak Peek of Demon Night. Go check it out..you can read the first four chapters! How lucky are they?

five-stars


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