Monday, 10 September 2012

Personal Demon by Kelley Armstrong

Title: Personal Demon
Kelley Armstrong
Publisher: Orbit
ISBN: 978-1-84149-397-8
Pages: 476
Series: Otherworld #8
Type: Adult Urban Fantasy
Source: Gift

Hope Adams owes Benicio Cortez a favour, and when he calls it in her hunger for chaos leads her to accept and travel to Miami. Benicio needs her to infiltrate a gang of supernaturals who are causing problems for the Cabal, but Hope becomes intoxicated by the danger and soon finds herself in over her head. When Karl Marsten discovers the shared debt is being fulfilled by Hope alone, he tries to rescue her only for them to discover that the conflict between the gang and the Cabal is deeper and more dangerous than anyone could have predicted.

This is the eighth book in the Otherworld series (which started with Bitten) and sees half-demon Hope Adams take the narration role along with Lucas Cortez. I wasn't sure what to think of the joint narration at first as this is the first time a main book in the series has been written like this, but it soon becomes clear that the complexity of the case needs two viewpoints to explore. There are certain things Lucas can't show as he isn't part of the gang and others that Hope can't show as she is external to the Cabal.

Hope was first introduced in the novella 'Chaotic' featured in Dates from Hell and then appeared in the previous book (No Humans Involved) so her backstory has been partly covered before, although this installment gives more depth and shows things from her perspective. Hope's power is an attraction to chaos, which has the side benefit of allowing her to act as a chaos detector. I really liked how Hope identifies supernaturals by using visions (a storm means a Tempestras demon while running through woodland identifies a werewolf) but I had a hard time identifying with her at times.

I loved that Karl Marsten took a big role in this book as I've wanted to learn more about him since his introduction in Bitten. His backstory is explored a lot more, as are his motivations and choices which gives the romance a different quality. Karl however is not alone in his affection for Hope and she finds herself in a love triangle with gang member Jaz. I'm not a big fan of love triangles and this one did detract from the storyline a bit.

The story itself is cleverly plotted and deceptive in its depth. Changes take place that will echo throughout the future books of the series and the Cabal world-building gets a boost as the intricacies of the Cortez family are explored. Karl's backstory also adds a view of life as a mutt (non-Pack werewolf) which contrasts with the Pack's opinions. There are lots of twists and turns and the ending caught me by surprise, although at times the pacing felt like it was dragging.

All in all, this was a great read and I'm looking forward to Living With the Dead.

Plot: 9/10
Characters: 9/10
Ending: 9/10
Enjoyment: 8/10
Cover: 7/10

Overall: 42/50

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