The Demon Lover (The Fairwick Chronicles #1)

Originally published January 6, 2012

The Demon LoverBy Juliet Dark

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication Date: December 27, 2011
Genre: Gothic Paranormal
Source: Netgalley

“I gasped . . . or tried to. My mouth opened, but I couldn’t draw breath. . . . His lips, pearly wet, parted and he blew into my mouth. My lungs expanded beneath his weight. When I exhaled he sucked in my breath and his weight turned from cold marble into warm living flesh.”

Since accepting a teaching position at remote Fairwick College in upstate New York, Callie McFay has experienced the same disturbingly erotic dream every night: A mist enters her bedroom, then takes the shape of a virile, seductive stranger who proceeds to ravish her in the most toe-curling, wholly satisfying ways possible. Perhaps these dreams are the result of writing her bestselling book, The Sex Lives of Demon Lovers. After all, Callie’s lifelong passion is the intersection of lurid fairy tales and Gothic literature—which is why she finds herself at Fairwick’s renowned folklore department, living in a once-stately Victorian house that, at first sight, seemed to call her name.

But Callie soon realizes that her dreams are alarmingly real. She has a demon lover—an incubus—and he will seduce her, pleasure her, and eventually suck the very life from her. Then Callie makes another startling discovery: He’s not the only mythical creature in Fairwick. As the tenured witches of the college and the resident fairies in the surrounding woods prepare to cast out the incubus, Callie must accomplish something infinitely more difficult—banishing this demon lover from her heart.

Goodreads Summary

Let’s take a moment and just look at the cover, shall we? Pretty…

In the sleepy, isolated little town in upstate New York, Calllie McFay accepts a teaching position in the folklore department at Fairwick College, which appears to be a close-knit community. Experiencing a writer’s slump after the success of her first book, The Sex Lives of Demon Lovers, she finds inspiration in an unusual place in Fairwick – Honeysuckle House, a place that everyone seems reluctant to see her buy but one that she’s drawn to. Its former owner was the author of bodice-ripper romance novels and the notebooks filled with her striking memoirs enthrall Callie almost as much as her invisible nighttime lover. When the darker, violent side of the incubus shows its face, Callie realizes how much danger she’s in – and what unusual allies and enemies she really has in Fairwick.

An important thing to get out of the way is that despite the pretty cover and semi-misleading title and blurb, this isn’t a romance in any traditional sense. There’s no happy ever after, not even a happy for now. I don’t think that’s a spoiler – consider it more of a warning if you’re thinking about picking this up.

The main story, if you ignore the occasional nonsensical little side stories that go nowhere, is pretty interesting. Callie’s been purposely drawn to Fairwick, to this incubus, and I was excited about the general idea of the story with all of its darkness. Once I got past the no-romance thing, I just let my expectations go. I was mostly pleased with the way the story of the town’s otherworldly history came out and the sinister things that happened – there’s plenty of evil, gross stuff and things that will make you say, “eww,” in here, including the type of sex Callie has with the incubus. My inner demon child sort of liked this storyline. My OCD adult self had a lot of issues with the way that a seemingly impossible situation would suddenly be fixed by a revelation of some new fact – or person – that came out of nowhere.

Argh, do I have mixed feelings about Callie. On one hand, I like her nerdiness – she loves her books, the references she makes to other authors and texts are comforting and familiar for this type of story and character. She’s obviously an odd duck, not because of her fascination with folklore necessarily, but because not much that happens in Fairwick seems to throw her. Invisible wind sex with an incubus? Startling, but not enough to make her leave her house or anything. Find out the town is populated by fairies and all sorts of other creatures? Huh, well that’s interesting. She also struck me as a hopeless snob because of her “voice” and the amount of navel-gazing she does. She’s obviously very smart but boy, does she make a lot of TSTL choices.

The story had a tendency to get muddled sometimes – it seemed to run in circles as the characters repeated actions, missed clues that should have been obvious or there were places I thought that I was reading filler that wasn’t getting me anywhere. I loved all of the touches that reminded me how dark and sinister the story was – it was mostly the mundane actions of the characters that bothered me, particularly Callie’s drunken and generally unnecessary housemate.

My Summary: I love gothic romance but this only barely qualifies as any sort of love story because I have a terribly active imagination and am willing to give the author the benefit of the doubt that the next book will do something with Callie’s “relationship” with the incubus. However the story began, by the end of the book there are questions about his free will – none of that bodes well for Callie or the incubus so I was very glad to see that this is going to be part of a series (when I first read this, it was unclear). However this is classified, I enjoyed it because it was different, creepy and a little freaky. It won’t appeal to everyone, but now that I have a better idea about what it is and where it can go, I’m looking forward to the next book.

My Rating: B+



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