Thursday, October 2, 2008

Not the exorcist you'd expect

In Morgan Kingsley's world, demons are an ordinary, everyday sort of thing. Raised in a family in which hosting a demon is considered the ultimate act of sacrifice for the greater good, Morgan is a definite black sheep. The thought of being trapped in her body, reduced to passenger status while another being takes control of her destiny is nothing short of terrifying to her.

Not that she doesn't understand the good that those who allow themselves to be possessed by demons (legal demons, that is) can do: with the added preternatural strength and accelerated healing ability, the demon-possessed make excellent law enforcement officers, firefighters - all kinds of things. But Morgan still finds demon "hosting" abhorrent - and ends up becoming an exorcist. She exorcises rogue demons who take over their hosts by force, often leaving their victims with permanent mental damage.

The novel opens with Morgan exorcising a demon from a young girl, which presents the power and dangers of demons in a most instructive way. Morgan is nearly overcome by the powerful demon herself, and at first she doesn't quite understand why she isn't, when by all rights it should have easily been able to transfer from the child to her. When she finally learns the truth, her world turns upside-down, and she finds herself working against death threats and demon adversaries. When anyone could be possessed by a demon, it's impossible to tell who to trust.

I am always a bit skeptical upon trying out a new paranormal series, because they are so hot right now that less-than-stellar books are being published. I hope for something new, not a rehash of the same old things that I could get by rereading an old favorite. This did have an interesting twist with the demon/human aspect of society, and the story was gripping with a variety of interesting characters. I did wish for a bit more backstory to be woven into the novel - Morgan tells us a lot that we must take at face value, rather than experiencing things through flashbacks. For example, one of the characters is Morgan's best friend, but there is no sense of shared history or depth that gave me a real feeling of what was at stake when certain events threatened their relationship. And while we see that Morgan and her boyfriend are very attracted to each other, I didn't get a very good sense of their relationship with each other beyond that (what they had in common, what they did together outside the bedroom, etc.). Still, it is just the first book in the series, and it was certainly fast-paced, enjoyable read. I intend to get the sequel, as the conclusion left many issues unresolved, and I am very interested to see the direction the series will take from here.

Books in the Morgan Kingsley series:
1. The Devil Inside
2. The Devil You Know
3. The Devil's Due

4. Speak of the Devil (forthcoming)

The Devil Inside (#1 in the Morgan Kingsley series) by Jenna Black (Dell Spectra, 2007)

Also reviewed at:
My Kingdom for a Book
What I'm Reading

6 comments:

  1. Sounds pretty interesting. How in the world did you put that beautiful banner at the top of you blog. It is beautiful. I have been looking at the layouts of these blogs and can't figure out how to do that or how to put things on the side of your blog. I just wondered if it's complicated to do that. Hugs, Helen

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  2. Hi, Helen - thanks for stopping by! There is a lot of great info on the blogspot site, and I found it a bit overwhelming at first but just did little bits and pieces at a time, figuring out things as I went. I think for the photo I just cropped it in a photo editing program, and I think there's a place - look in layout - where it gives you the opportunity to upload an image instead of whatever the template you're using has. My blog is from a blogger template that I've just fiddled with a bit, changing fonts and background colors, etc. To put stuff on the sides, just go to layout again, and experiment with adding different things. Polls are fun - I haven't done one in a while. Link lists, etc. Just play around with it - I'm sure you'll figure things out! :-)

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  3. I'm hesitant about new paranormal series for that reason too. This does sound interesting though!

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  4. Ladytink - I did enjoy this one. It didn't knock my socks off, but I'm quite happy to read the next one and see how things progress. I'll let you know!

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  5. Sounds good, I will wait and see what you think of book two and see if the relationships develop. You know I do like my urban fantasy :)

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  6. Rhinoa - I love it, too. That's why I keep trying all these new ones. What else to do when we're stuck waiting for our favorites to come out with new books?! I'll let you know how it goes.

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