Thursday, August 19, 2010

REVIEW: Demon Forged by Meljean Brook

ISBN 9780425230411
Series: The Guardians, Book 9 (inclusive of novellas in anthologies)
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
(c) December 2009, Penguin Putnam Inc
Meljean Brook's website

Rating: 5 stars

Available in Book Depository (print).

Meljean Brook astounded me with her complex worldbuilding and amazing story arc. She has a talent for keeping you on your toes and on the edge of your seat, where you couldn't help but keep on turning the pages. Not only that, but she drew her characters with a bold pen, making them stand out, especially Irena. Her writing style has also improved a lot since Demon Angel and Demon Moon. I was one of those who couldn't follow the jumps in her thoughts and I hated reading a story that didn't flow, that required me to reread passages just so I could understand what the hell was going on. I was tempted to give all of her other books a miss, but at several bloggers' and friends' urging, I decided to give her another chance. I'm glad I picked this up.

Irena and Alejandro are Guardians, those who protect humans and vampires from the demons. (Meljean Brook's website contained a Guardian primer if you want to have an overview.) Irena once bargained with a demon for Alejandro's life, and the shame she felt made her believe she'd lost whatever she could have had with Alejandro. From then on, she hated demons with a passion and she couldn't understand how Alejandro could work for one. As for Alejandro, he couldn't stop blaming himself for Irena's decision and thought Irena hated him for the position he had put her in, that he'd destroyed whatever could've developed between them. Thus, for four hundred years, their contact was purely on a professional level, until a vampire's call for help brought them together on a case.

Irena is brash and blunt. Her temper rises all too quickly to the surface and she is the type to settle an argument with a fight. I thought the cover depicted her all too well. She is just what I imagined Irena to be. Yet, she is likeable, and underneath her tough exterior and bad-ass attitude, she has her own vulnerabilities, most of which stem from the horrific nightmare she experienced at the hands of the demon. She is strong, but not so strong that she is not receptive to change. And she has worked her way into me early on such that I was rooting for her all the way. No one deserves her hero more than Irena.

Alejandro was a Spanish nobleman in his past, and after being transformed into a Guardian, he is around eleven hundred years younger than Irena. Wow, talk about age difference. Though younger than Irena, Alejandro holds his own around her and he is able to meet her fight for fight. Her anger ignites his passion, but what I found to be profound about their relationship was that he knew her, really understood her--her moods, her reactions, even the things she wasn't saying. It speaks much of Alejandro's love for her, even four hundred years ago, that he would take the time to know her to that extent.

The tension, sexual and otherwise, between Irena and Alejandro sprang right out at you from that first time they met in Rome when they heeded the vampire's call and never let up. While they may not express their feelings for the other, their actions and words speak otherwise. Romance at its best. Sweet and bitter, poignant to the core. Then, as I had said, there's the way Alejandro understood her, the way he knew where she would go to meditate and to think, and the way he could pre-empt what she wants or needs.

What I found amazing about the story was that Irena's and Alejandro's story is but a part of a bigger tale. In fact, their story is woven seamlessly into the series story arc, and it's the series arc that has gotten me hooked and fascinated by this world that Ms Brook has created that I am seriously considering reading the previous books in the series just so I'll know the entire story. Something foul is going on in the Guardian universe--betrayal and uprisings and danger to humanity. Though Irena and Alejandro attained their HEA (read it to indulge in their romance), the book's ending has a bittersweet quality that tugged at the heart. I am definitely following this series and will be picking up the next book, Demon Blood.


Danielle said...

You won the "One Lovely Book Blog Award"! You can view it at

Paranormal Haven said...

This series is pretty new to me. I just got the first book in the series a couple weeks ago and look forward to starting it.

Stephanie G
Paranormal Haven

VampFanGirl said...

I'm a huge, HUGE Meljean Brook fan which makes me always surprised when people say they couldn't get into DEMON ANGEL or DEMON MOON. I don't understand, I thought both were astounding, ground breaking reads. BUUUT I'm super glad you fell in love with DEMON FORGED. What an ending huh?

And yes, you absolutely MUST go back and read the books you've missed in the series.

FYI, I just finished Brook's HERE THERE BE MONSTERS prequel novella for The Iron Series. O-M-G So good!!

Alright, so I think I've met my fan girl quota for the day...

Carole said...

@Danielle Thanks so much for the award! :) We'll do a post on it soon.

@Stephanie G The series is great! Awesome worldbuilding, and I really echo Silver's review.

@VampFanGirl I understand what Silver had gone through coz it's the same for me. Pls don't misunderstand, as you say, the concept of the series was groundbreaking. But there's a little problem that we had with Meljean's writing. It just didn't flow for us.

But I've read her subsequent works (after Demon Moon) and her writing's better, made me a fan!!! This prompted me to rec the series again to Silver, whom I knew was looking for more great PNR reads. I'm glad she liked Demon Forged and she's already got the other Guardian books from me. LOL I daresay we'll be reading her review of them soon.

But yeah, I totally love Demon Forged. I'm looking forward to Michael's story and 2012 just seems so far away!!!

Carole said...

@VampFanGirl Forgot to say, I'm gonna get Burning Up soon, too! :) Her novella in there kickstarts her new steampunk series, and the first book, The Iron Duke, is coming next month! Can't wait to read them. :)

Erotic Horizon said...

Good to know this one clicked for you...

Meljean has some awesome covers....


Carole said...

@EH Totally. Surprisingly, I like her girl covers (Demon Blood and this one) than the boy ones (Demon Night and Demon Bound).

Carol L. said...

Enjoyed the post and review. Ms Brook is a new to me Author. But this series looks and sounds like an interesting read. I'll add it to my TRL.
Carol L.

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