Meljean Brook – “Demon Bound”

22 Nov

GENRE: Romance / Paranormal
PUBLISHED: Berkley Sensation, 2008

SERIES: “The Guardian” series, 4th full-length novel

WHY THIS NOVEL: I have the impression that there is actually a plan for the background story in this series. Plus, I love the way Brook writes her characters. In short: this is my favorite paranormal series.

The back blurb:
“Among the Guardians, Alice Grey is known as the Black Widow–a woman trapped in a web spun by the demon Teqon. To save her soul, she agreed to deliver to Teqon the heart of the oldest and most powerful Guardian of all, or else be damned for eternity. After more than a hundred years, Teqon is calling in his debt.

Jake Hawkins is a novice Guardian whose gift of teleportation could be invaluable to Alice as she determines her next move. But in aligning himself with her he never expect to fall in love. Now, their passionate flight to escape Alice’s damnable bargain is threatening both their souls. For they’re about to discover a hellish secret about the Guardians, something that will change their universe forever.”

I always saw the ongoing story arc in the Guardian series as concerned with the question of free will. Demon Bound is a perfect example of this with it’s present time story line and the story line about the history of the Guardians. Even more, the present story line has two characters who strive to do the right thing (even if they are afraid) while the story line about the Guardians looks at the question if doing something out of goodness means doing the right thing. What reasons are there to do things?

There are a lot of comments and reviews around so here are just

Some of my highlights

The first chapter

All relevant story lines and elements are present in this chapter. Alice’s bargain with Teqon, the mysterious history of the Guardians, Alice and Jake’s romance (they kiss, after all!), Alice’s and Jake’s character. Great chapter!


Alice likes to keep to herself and others away, and she has quite a few things up her sleeve to achieve that. She’s creepy as hell but badass (in a good way) at the same time and she has to settle her nerves quite frequently. She also has her special kind of humor and wit.

Alice smiled into the night sky. What a wretched creature she was. A Guardian possessed of extraordinary powers, yet blind and deaf without eight-legged companions.
How very pitiable. Hardly fit to crawl through the sewers of Cairo, let alone the marble courtyards of Caelum. She ought to be eating rats… No, she ought to be feeding them her own contemptible entrails. That was, if they would not turn up their twitching noses at such an offering–
If she went any further, she would burst into laughter. (22)


Jake is easy-going and says what he thinks, most often without thinking first:

“You[r] head isn’t screwy,” she said, joining him at the panel. “But when I tell you the date, you might begin to think mine is.”
“I already–”
“Your filter is leaking again, novice.” (45)

But he never sets out to be cruel on purpose. He’s also quick to learn and very perceptive. He’s confident but he scares easily. Nevertheless, he finds the strength and courage to do what needs to be done. He’s honorable and tries to do the “right” thing.

Alice and Jake

Thanks to this little gem by Jake early in their acquaintance:

“You’re pretty much the only female who doesn’t make me think about sex when I’m near you. So I’ll point out that you’ll be good practice for when I’m around real women.” (47)

Jake nearly goes crazy trying to get through to Alice after he thinks differently because Alice of course thinks Jake’s not interested in her. So good. It’s really great how they learn to look closer and discover each other.

They are fun together:

“That wasn’t a tarantula,” Jake said. “That was a bear.”
“Oh, come now. She [Alice’s pet spider] isn’t that large.”
“A dog, then. A wolf.”
“She’s more like a cat. She even purrs.”
“I’ll bet.” Probably while eating kittens. “A mountain lion.”
Perhaps an ocelot.”
“Too small.”
Alice met his gaze, and instead of freezing him, the ice in her eyes sparkled with humor. “But she so loves to jump.” (52)

Jake’s not above baiting Alice:

He [Drifter] was going to leave it there, but Jake wouldn’t. No matter how much it cost him.
“So everything you’re wearing is made of the same stuff?” And in the temple, it had been smooth and warm under his hands. “Even your bloomers?”
Irena broke out with a loud laugh, startling the humans around them. Charlie groaned, and Jake tossed a five-dollar bill on the table in front of Drifter.
A human couldn’t have tracked the speed at which Alice reached over, pinched the money, and sat again. Jake’s body tightened, but he forced his mind of of her skirts. Tried to.
When she moved quickly, everything rigid became supple, her body long and fluid.
“They aren’t made of spider silk, novice. I weaved them from the legs of those widows who have passed,” Alice said, her back straight now. “For when one is a Guardian, loyalty is the utmost virtue. And so I keep my friends close–even if they itch.”
“You’ve got itching down below?” Jake leaned in and lowered his voice. “They’ve got powders for that now.” (64)

But the best thing about them is: they know each other.

Writing like this

Jake looked at the gaping hole in the side, the twisted wires. Something flickered through his psychic scent–remembered terror, remembered pain. She vanished the cage again. (38)

foreshadowing something revealed later. Small details count.

I liked

  • Alice contemplating rubbing against Jake’s thigh wedged between her legs when they are trapped in a small niche by nephilim. “An inch, she thought, over the course of an hour” (117).
  • that their first time wasn’t perfect at first but Jake, always wanting to do what is right, didn’t give up and they got it right in the end (leaving aside his abrupt departure after it)


Spiders creep me out and yet reading this book, I nearly became fascinated by them.

Why this isn’t a 5/5

  • There are a few things that seemed too convenient for me.
  • Except for the Spiderman-like escape, the middle part was a bit slow. A lot of background info was revealed (Alice, the Guardians) and the revelation about the Guardians had Alice and Jake in a rather passive role.

But I liked a lot of things in this novel, so I didn’t really care much about my “problems.” Demon Bound is my favorite in the “Guardians” series so far.

Would I recommend this novel? Yes.

Would I read this novel again? Yes.

Grade: 5 – / 5


4 Responses to “Meljean Brook – “Demon Bound””

  1. Carolyn Jean Saturday, November 22, 2008 at 3:32 pm #

    This is a fantastic review. I really found it informative, with your first chap discussion, the excerpts and what isn’t perfect stuff. I have this in my TBR. Must get to it!!

  2. Taja Sunday, November 23, 2008 at 9:41 am #

    Thanks, Carolyn Jean!

  3. Christine Saturday, March 14, 2009 at 9:37 pm #

    I can’t believe I missed this fantastic review, Taja! I know November was extremely busy for me, but still… as a Meljean Brook fan, that is unacceptable! So is the fact that I still haven’t bought or read this book yet! Argh! I have to get it!

    I know there were a ton of reviews for Demon Bound circulating at the time, but I’m glad you wrote this one. I love reading small quotes from novels that reveal great insights to the characters and their relationships. This was really well done.

    I really want to read this now!!!!

  4. Taja Sunday, March 15, 2009 at 9:50 am #

    Awwh! Thank you, Christine!

    Yes, there were so many reviews around at that time, I found it rather intimidating to write one, too. I still like my “solution.”

    (And I can’t believe you haven’t bought this one yet. 😉 ) (Well, okay, I can understand how this could happen. 🙂 )

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