Saturday, December 20, 2008

Demon Bound, more baron and holiday exchange #18!

Baby Food Baron continues!!
Meljean Brook is posting her chapter--chapter SIX--of The Baby Food Baron today! So check it out. If you haven't read the first five chapters yet, you're in for a treat!

To access the first five chapters, please buckle your seat belt, put your tray to the UP position, fasten your oxygen mask securely over your nose and mouth, open your air sickness bag and place it on your lap, strap a floatation device to your body and start here.

Okay, also I finished Demon Bound last week and I have a few thoughts. So I guess this is officially fawn-over-Meljean day at Thrillionth page.

My very favorite random things about Demon Bound

This is another Meljean Brook book that hits the sweet spot between fresh, fun worldbuilding, fantastic writing and a strong romance and action storyline. It is always such a rich thing to get all three.

Demon Bound has a strapping young Guardian novice Jake getting caught up with Alice, also a Guardian but she’s been around far longer. She’s a kind of archivist/archaeologist—think foreboding librarian with hidden—make that very well-hidden—sensuality. She’s not prim so much as creepy, and heavy into spiders. She’s also bound by a deal she made with a demon to kill head Guardian Michael! Gasp!

Onto the random things...

Fun creepy surprises in hell
Ah, yes, another Meljean Brook book that involves a trip to hell. I really enjoyed Brook’s richly imagined hell here, which builds on the hell of previous books in a satisfying way. I’ve always been a fan of the screaming frozen fields, and this comes into play as one of the non-attractive options open to Alice vis a vis her tragic bargain.

Little disappointments and blunders
The relationship between Jake and Alice has a wonderful, naturalistic feel to it, and I think part of the reason is that it’s paved with so many missteps; Jake and Alice are kind to each other, but they also hurt and misjudge each other in little ways, then repair their blunders and this builds a strong bond between them. The interaction is wonderfully human, and that’s a quality I love in this book. There are a couple scenes in particular where I was surprised at how wrong Brook let things go. I really enjoyed that.

The ‘feeling the head’ scene
We’ve all had the buddy or brother who gets the crew cut and everybody has to feel their head. It’s a universal, tactile memory and I love how Meljean uses it here. All the Guardians get into rubbing Jake’s crew-cutted head, but Alice never does. And as the sexual tension builds between these characters, the rubbing of Jake’s head takes on way more significance and charge, and makes a great scene when it finally happens.

Alice’s voice
The point of view switches between Jake, who was killed in the Vietnam war before becoming a Guardian, and Alice, a woman who came of age and died in the Victorian era. I particularly enjoyed Alice's voice itself, which I found to be intelligent and oddly humorous; it gave me a strong sense of her personality, and the feel of a fully developed consciousness. I particularly enjoy the chapter and section starts. Like the first line of the book:
How easy killing a Guardian would be. Even Michael, the most powerful of all the Guardians, would fall if a sword cleaved through his heart or his neck.
There is quiet music in these sentences, but if you follow the series, it is a totally shocking thing to say. Or this, after a sexual escapade
How depraved they were.

Alice lay on her stomach beneath her worktable, the marble floor cool beneath her cheek. It was odd to be thankful for a slit in her drawers, but she supposed that if the opening had not been there, her bottom would now be exposed, and she simply did not have the strength to cover it.
The nuances of the Guardian ranks
The Guardians felt more nuanced in this installment. I wonder if it was because half this tale is told from the perspective of Alice, a more unpopular member of the group. Alice feels rejected and slightly demoralized as a Guardian, and purposely creeps out the younger Guardians. This perpetuates her experience of rejection and isolation; it also discounts and disrespects the younger Guardians, and of course, Jake himself is a younger Guardian, and the others are his pals. So that was an issue with them.

What's more, the fact that the Guardians seem to have factions and members who dislike or resent each other—and the sense that that may grow—made the Guardians feel grittier and more real in a new way this time around.

So overall, another exciting installment! It’s such a fun thing in life to be able to count on favorite writers for this level of entertainment. One caveat: I do not think this is a good book to start the series with because it’s heavy on the world building and wonky details of Guardian realms and history— fascinating if you’re into the series, but overwhelming to a newbie. Heck, start with Demon Angel. Some people didn’t get into it, but honestly, I thought it was fabulous. And you get the infamous clawed door scene.

More on Demon Bound:
Racy Romance Reviews
Alpha Heroes
Dear Author
Book Binge

Oh, what do we have here? A holiday gift exchange…#18!!


KT Grant said...

Jake is so cute I want to put him in my pocket and rub his head all day long ;)

I loved how Meljean mentioned the way women were handled by doctors to get rid of their "hysteria". Alice just wanted to enjoy sex with her husband, who in turn couldn't handle her, so in turn destroyed their marriage by having a doctor do what he couldn't do.

And the way Alice told Jake about how her "hysteria" was cured sent chills down by spine.

Can Alice make me some clothes? I am seriously lacking.

Holly said...

1st - I absolutely ADORE these Christmas gift exchanges you're doing. Srsly. This one is probably my favorite, too.

2nd - I'm so NOT feeling that damn picture you included. Bring back Creepy Lil CJ, I say, and get rid of the icky icky icky creepy stuff. *shudder*

3rd - You're spot on about this novel, on all counts. I just can't say enough good things about it. Which makes me sound freakish and stalker-like, so I'm going to shut-up now (but did you know Meljean said I can have her babies. Booyah!).

Carolyn Crane said...

KB: that was so creepy. Way creepier than spiders. Maybe you and Alice can do a trade. I understand you knit some interesting garments.

Holly: Thanks Holly! LOL. Wait, YOU are having her babies? You must name them Melholly.

Joanna Chambers said...

You always make me REALLY want to read what you're reading, CJ!

Ana said...

Or Holjean.

I think Meljeana would sound so much better though. or Anamel *grin*

CJ, I agree with you on all accounts on this book as well , not a surprise that is on my top 10 of 2008.

meljean brook said...


Of course, then all the kids at school would call her Smelly Melly.

And *squee and warm fuzzies!*

Ladytink_534 said...

I seriously need to get some of these books! Spiders really aren't my thing though...