Meljean Brook – “Demon Night”

2 Mar


GENRE: Romance / Paranormal
PUBLISHED: Berkley Sensation, 2008

WHY THIS NOVEL: I read the two previous novels so it was no question about reading this one.


The back blurb:
“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 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 wrote these comments around 5 a.m. This came about like this: I finished reading Demon Night and then didn’t know how and, more importantly, what to write about it. I went to bed and woke up at 4 a.m. without being able to get back to sleep again. With nothing much to do, I thought again about Demon Night. My thoughts were still muddled and chasing each other so to get some semblance of order (to be able to sleep again), I came up with four categories. At five, I realized I definitely wouldn’t be able to go back to sleep and I got up and wrote down the whole stuff.

Looking at my list now, I decided to keep it like it is. I like it this way.

DISCLAIMER: Although there are categories labelled “subjective” and “objective” what goes where is hugely subjective and debateable. The way it is here, it’s the way I see it.

More subjective nitpicking:

  • Ethan’s “Miss Charlie” started to irritate me after some time.
  • Charlie’s most important character trait is her neediness / her dependence on other persons. I know what Brook is getting at here but for me it didn’t completely work because in the background I also got this vibe that “needy = not worthy to be loved” (putting a condition on who is worthy to be loved) which doesn’t sit well with me.
  • I thought Ethan’s “slowness” at the end annoying.
  • Are Ethan and Charlie in love or in lust? The powerful attraction between them overshadowed this difference a bit for me.

More objective nitpicking:

  • The “external” plot can be summed up with: New discoveries (one a bad-ass demon) and a killing. I think this feeling of nothing-much-happens stems from that a lot of things happen off stage (Charlie’s sister’s discovery; Michael’s absences; the deal with the new bad-ass demon) and then are told to the main characters (Charlie/Ethan). They themselves react more than they act there. (I’m not sure about putting this here because although I tried to come up with examples it’s still more an overall feeling than anything I can pinpoint down to specific details.)
  • There are two Huh?-instances (mostly because I thought something was missing).
  • Charlie’s most important character trait is her neediness / her dependence on other persons. Somehow I don’t really get to see it in the story. I’m told this is so but I never see her behave that way (or in a way that would make the fuss about her neediness at least really justified). Mostly, it seems all in the past. Instead, I see a character who’s very aware of her “weakness” and who goes nearly the other extreme in her behaviour (that is, not asking for help at all). (This seemed like overcompensation because “needy = not worthy to be loved” (see above) and according to gospel, the heroine in a romance novel has, above all, to be likable and worthy to be loved.)
  • The “villain” (as far as you can call a character that in a story with demons, vampires, nosferatu and Lucifer) was easily spotted for lack of possibilities FOR THE READER (not so for the characters in the story; also, this isn’t romantic suspense so it’s not that important)
  • Ethan’s “slowness” at the end of the novel seemed out of character which was why I was annoyed by it (see above).

More subjective “me like”:

  • a heroine who has really fucked up and who is really fucked up
  • the deal with Charlie’s sister and her lover and that not all is rose-gardenly at the end
  • interesting hint about Michael at the end
  • theme of neediness and communication
  • strong focus on the main characters and their romance
  • Ethan’s “cowboy” character (especially with less of the “Miss Charlie” thing) and his willingness to give Charlie everything that she needed

More objective “me like”:

  • strong world building – it’s just so much fun when you see how the pieces fit together
  • the not-much-happened external plot has far reaching implications = nice set up for the next novel(s); or Brook’s ability to write in a way that it seems as if not much external stuff is going on because it’s always intertwined with internal stuff
  • Everything can become important. Example: the reader gets to see how Charlie and her sister prepare to cook together. It’s clear that they don’t have much experience but they want to make a duck. Later in the story there’s one sentence about Charlie’s coat still smelling of burnt duck. This example is about something that’s not important for the story but it illustrates Brook way to write. Everything can count and the reader has to keep up.
  • Internal conflict: the heroine is thrown into a situation where her weakness and so the challenge of her life (her tendency to depend on others) is the very thing she has to do/is needed for what she has to do to survive. Talk about character development.

As with the previous two novels I read by Brook, this is nitpicking on a high level. Demon Night is an intelligent read and keeps you on your toes. It makes me really happy-happy.

On another note: Meljean Brook posted a hint for the next one. And I – skipping around the room here – I knowz.

Yeah!


Would I recommend this novel? Yes.

Would I read this novel again? Yes.

Grade: 4 / 5


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