Posted on August 12, 2009 by Monica Valentinelli
As the sixth book in the Otherworld series, Demon Mistress offers a blend of new characters and plot twists that are built the foundation of what Galenorn has written throughout her books. Demon Mistress is told from the point-of-view of Menolly, a half-vampire/half-fae woman who is part of the D’Artigo sisters. Who are the D’Artigo sisters?
Menolly, Camille, and Delilah are the D’Artigo Sisters—half-human, half-Faerie operatives for the Otherworld Intelligence Agency. Their latest assignment is to root out the secret society responsible for unleashing chaos magic against the city—and to stop a demon from devouring Delilah’s soul. –SOURCE: Amazon.com Description of Demon Mistress
The book starts out with the discovery of a journey that belonged to bartender Sabele, an elf living in the world above who worked at the Wayfarer. The scene gives us a chance to get familiar with Menolly’s perspective and brings us up to speed on some of the relationships between the characters and how they interact with the world around them. In the Otherworld series, there are plenty of organizations with the urban fantasy setting that have their own “rules.” For example, Menolly staked her sire; this event had its own set of ramifications in the vampire society. While there is a fair amount of acronyms and jargon specific to this series, you’ll find a complete glossary at the back of the book to help you understand what they mean and how they relate to the story arc if you get confused.
Once we get reacquainted with the characters, Chase (whom Menolly’s sister Delilah is involved with) gives the sisters a call to investigate strange, unexplainable deaths. Soon, the sisters are led on a dangerous adventure to not only confront the demons attacking members of the Otherworld, but to also find the person (or creatures) responsible for drawing out these ancient demons from the deep out into the open.
Like all investigations, some information that the sisters find out is not straightforward or linear. There are plots within plots in this series, and Demon Mistress offers new information for fans that have been reading all along. One of the things I liked in particular, was that some of the new details that were revealed were downplayed a bit so you could enjoy the demon-hunting story without wandering off into a different direction.
If you recall from earlier books, the main antagonist is named “Shadow Wing.” As the main protagonists, the D’Artigo sisters are trying to stop him from collecting all the spirit seals that would allow him to open every portal that separates the Subterranean realm (e.g. where demons reside) from the rest of the realms — including Earth. While Demon Mistress is a part of that story arc, it’s written so that anyone — new or devoted reader — could pick it up and enjoy it. Coupled with the glossary, those two pieces together make it good for any reader, regardless of how familiar you are with the setting.
Dubbed a “paranormal romance” by the publisher Berkeley, Demon Mistress has passionate scenes with plenty of action and new characters. The relationships in this book are an important-yet-integrated part of the plot, because the interactions don’t happen in a “bubble.” For example, Menolly and her were-girlfriend Nerissa have their own set of problems because of the responsibilities that Nerissa faces within her own society. Menolly’s relationships and sexuality are also a huge part of her nature, for there’s a good reason why part of her is drawn to the incubus Roz and another part to the demon Vanzir. By making them part of the plot, the relationships aren’t an “add-on” but a necessary and somewhat realistic part of the storyline. While this is an urban fantasy, Galenorn seems to say that if you do fall in love (or lust) there could be both benefits and drawbacks, since the relationships in her world aren’t wholly idealized.
I feel that the Otherworld series continues to improve with each book, partially because of the way that Galenorn handles multiple characters in the storytelling. Even though this book is written from the first person perspective, there are several characters which make this a “team-centric” book. In this way, the Otherworld is not just about the D’Artigo sisters, it’s about the people and relationships that are built around them, too. Even with the multiple characters from previous books (and some new ones as well) I never got confused or had to go back and re-read sections to see where I was in the story.
If you’re interested in checking out this book, be sure to read the Chapter Preview for Demon Mistress right here on Flames Rising.
Review by Monica Valentinelli