The Trouble with Demons by Lisa Shearin
I can’t imagine anyone who enjoyed Magic Lost, Trouble Found and Armed and Magical being disappointed by The Trouble with Demons. For this novel, Ms. Shearin turned up the darkness, turned up the romantic tension, and turned down the snark. All without sacrificing action or fun. Plus, it’s longer!
Raine’s chaotic world gets even more so in The Trouble With Demons when someone opens a Hellgate, releasing a legion of demons on the Isle of Mid. They want something, and naturally, Raine is at the thick of it. The sentient rock known as the Saghred is also up to some unexpected tricks and is snaring all of Raine’s friends in its clutches. Talk about piling on the problems!
I was glad to see the reduction in snarkiness. Armed and Magical bordered on being a bit too snarky for my taste, but in The Trouble with Demons, Raine doles out the sweetness as well as the snark. I was afraid that Raine was going to turn out to be a bit too sharp-edged, but happily, it is not so.
Shearin has been teasing her blog readers (myself included) all year with hints about the triangle between Raine, Tam and Mychael, which she brings to a new level in this novel. It wasn’t what I expected, and I was pleasantly surprised. I was also glad that there wasn’t too much sex or too much rivalry. After all, only two weeks have passed since the events in Magic Lost, Trouble Found. And I think I can see Raine developing a preference between the two men.
I’ll get my nit-picks over with. When there isn’t mind-reading going on, a surprising number of characters are able to not only guess Raine’s thoughts, but respond to them as if she said them aloud. I think this sort of thing should be done only occasionally, otherwise Raine will start to seem too transparent. Also, the timing in the ending seemed a bit off. The tension seemed drawn out over too many pages. If you imagine the novel’s tension as a hill, it rose up to a plateau and then stayed there for quite a while before the final resolution. At one point, it seemed like a certain female demon waited around until Raine was finished with what she was doing before continuing with her evil schemes.
Enough with the critiques. The action is nonstop. When you have a demon infestation, it does tend to keep you hopping. Especially when they start popping out of the toilet. The actual ending was great, including some very welcome developments with Sarad Nukpana, Rudra Muralin and Raine’s father, Eamaliel Anguis. Raine also has a new determination to focus her efforts on parting herself from the Saghred. The novel is very racy, but not at all sexy. Does that make sense? Map lovers will be thrilled with the new map at the front of the book. Now all it needs is an appendix full of names, concepts, and foreign words and phrases. Hint, hint!
One thing I hope to see in the next volume — a return to Mermeia, the canal-city locale of the first book. I just loved that setting, with all its districts, each having its own mood and character. Especially the Ruins.
The Trouble With Demons delivers shovelfuls of fun, which is exactly what we have come to expect from this series. It’s great for urban fantasy lovers who might need a vampire break. It’s Jennifer Rardin meets Terry Brooks, but substitute sexy goblins for vampires. The action is nonstop, the relationships are deepening, the ending was satisfying (for now) and there are lots of twists and surprises. The final two chapters serve as a sort of epilogue, which only whets the reader’s appetite for the next Raine Benares book.
FanLit thanks Tia Nevitt from Debuts & Reviews for contributing this guest review.
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