Demon Underground is S.L. Wright’s sequel to Confessions of a Demon. Wright begins pretty much right at the end of Confessions with the life and times of Allay, a human girl turned demon. Demon Underground is a straightforward urban fantasy novel with a nice blend of action, social interaction and lots and lots of romantic angst.
In Demon Underground, Allay is dealing with the aftereffects of having taken down one of the most powerful demons in New York City. The relationship she had begun with Ram, another very powerful demon, continues as a central theme of the book. Allay is constantly caught up in the tug-of-war between her mistrust of a demon more powerful than herself and an overwhelming sexual and emotional connection with Ram. It’s not my favorite part of the book, but it fits with the genre.
Wright parades a number of different demon characters through the story. Many are merely normal demons trying to survive and find a place where they are safe. Some are powerful and manipulative, and don’t live by a moral code that Allay can accept. This conflict of morality — her human values versus the realities of being a demon — makes for a large part of the difficulties that Allay has to face. She doesn’t want to be a bad person, even if her definition of bad doesn’t really apply to most demons.
The final theme is the conflict of hiding demons from humankind to avoid persecution. When one of the major demon players in the city makes plans to profit from a possible exposure of demonkind, Allay gets caught up in the middle of trying to stop it or at least protect herself and others from the aftereffects. Her solutions are unique and stressful for her, but that’s part of what one expects in urban fantasy.
On the whole Demon Underground is passable. Wright’s concept of demons and their symbiotic relationship with humans, introduced in Confessions of a Demon, is still my favorite aspect of the story. It’s interesting and plausible enough to be a welcome change from the oversexed vampire/werewolf theme that we are often subjected to. Demon Underground falls short of its predecessor in that it focuses more on politics and relationships rather than continuing to develop innovative fantasy ideas. This series is decent, but not something that you want to place at the top of your to-be-read pile.