Published 2008 371 pages
Summary (from the book jacket)
Hope Adams, tabloid journalist and half-demon, inherited her Bollywood-princess looks from her mother. From her demon father, she inherited a hunger for chaos, and a talent for finding it. Like full demons, she gets an almost sexual rush from danger - in fact, she thrives on it. But she is determined to use her gifts for good.
When the head of the powerful Cortez Cabal asks her to infiltrate a gang of bored, rich, troublemaking supernaturals in Miami, Hope can't resist the excitement. But trouble for Hope is intoxicating, and soon she's in way too deep.
With a killer stalking the mystical hot spots of Miami, Hope finds herself dangerously entangled, and has no choice but to turn to her crooked werewolf ex-boyfriend for help. What started as a simple investigation has spiralled into chaos. And Hope finds chaos irresistible...
For a woman who didn’t know what she was getting into, there’s only one way out: it’s time for Hope to unleash her most potent primal instincts and open herself, mind and body, to everything she most fears and desires.
Kelley Armstrong has certainly been busy of late! Personal Demon is her eighth full length novel in the Otherworld series, last summer (2007) saw the release of her first straight crime thriller novel, Exit Strategy, and this summer she is set to release The Summoning, the first book in a YA trilogy set in the same universe as the Otherworld novels. That’s a lot of writing!
If readers are worried that this huge creative output may have resulted in Personal Demon being a rushed job, they need not fear. Personal Demon has the usual level of high quality of writing that fans of the Otherworld have come to know and love.
While Personal Demon is top quality urban fantasy I do feel that I must point out for the vampire fans amongst you that this story doesn’t have a single vampire in it. This probably won’t be a surprise to existing readers of this series who will already be aware that the Otherworld contains a huge range of paranormal beasties (including vampires) but that the author usually gives emphasis to the werewolves and magic users in her stories.
Personal Demon is narrated in first person by both Hope, a half demon with a lust for chaos, and Lucas, youngest son of the leader of the Cortez Cabal. This dual narration works well and allows readers to follow the machinations of the Cortez Cabal with Lucas while Hope is mostly unaware of them. At the same time the reader can also follow Hope’s adventures as she infiltrates a gang of supernatural thieves and comes face to face with her werewolf ex-boyfriend Karl again. The story of how Hope and Karl first met is covered in a novella called Chaos from an anthology entitled Dates From Hell. While Hope and Karl often refer back to events on the night they met you don’t need to have read that story first to understand what is happening in this one.
With the majority of the story being told from Hope’s perspective there is a romance plot line as well as the supernatural mystery one. Hope herself makes an interesting protagonist. When demon powers were being handed out she was very unlucky and instead of getting any of the useful (or cool) abilities such as the ability to control the weather, teleport, turn her skin to iron or control fire she just got a demonic lust for chaos. She can sense chaos as it unfolds and her desire to feel the chaos means that she constantly has to battle not to make more chaos when disaster strikes within her chaos sensor range.
Personal Demon may not have vampires but that really is no cause for complaint since it has plenty of other original paranormal creatures to keep readers entertained. First rate characterisation makes for realistic supernatural characters and this, combined with a high octane mixture of paranormal mystery, thrills and romance is guaranteed to keep readers speeding along as the story goes from one high to another.
Recommended reading (yes, even without vampires!).
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Kelley Armstrong has many original short stories and a novella about the characters and creatures from her published books on her website (just follow the Extras link to ‘Online Fiction’.) Visit Kelley’s website.