Author: Meljean Brook
Release Date: September 6, 2011
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
The Guardians #7 (does not include novellas)
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Format(s): Paperback (336 pgs), e-book
Book Source: Publisher
About the book:
Nicholas St. Croix is familiar with the evil of demons. After his father’s death, a demon took over his mother’s body and raised him. Six years ago, his “mother” was responsible for the disappearance of the woman he loved, and Nicholas swore he’d find her—even if he had to go to Hell and back. Except she finds him first—and with one tormented kiss, he knows she too is a demon. Now he is determined to take his revenge…
Ash is a half-demon with no memory of her past or how she got to Hell. All she knows is that Nicholas St. Croix holds the key to her identity. And though he’s clearly drawn to her, Nicholas makes no secret of his distrust of her. Yet one kiss at a time, he breaks down her defenses as they battle an array of demons and Guardians. But is Ash’s greatest enemy the man at her side?
What I’m talking about:
For those that don’t already know this… I adore the Guardian Series and Meljean Brook. I have been anxiously awaiting Demon Marked, not because of the primary characters, but rather because I know the series will be ending after the next book and I wanted to see where Meljean went with this one. Let me tell you, this book was better than I hoped!
Ash isn’t really sure who or what she is – she doesn’t remember Before, only After. Something unknown happened to Ash and now she only recalls that for three years she was locked in the Nightingale House, living each day without experiencing any emotions, never eating nor sleeping. After her escape, she begins to track down clues that might help her learn her history, the biggest clue being Nicholas St. Croix.
Nicholas has his own agenda – finding the demon, Madeline, that impersonated his mother and ruined his life. He lives for the sole purpose of revenge. Thinking he can use Ash as bait to bring in Madeline, Nicholas agrees to help Ash, even though he doesn’t trust her. Together they begin to piece the puzzle together, learning that there are exceptions to every rule.
I was immediately drawn into this story from the get go. Thanks to Meljean’s amazing ability to create engrossing, detailed worlds and plots, I became wrapped up with finding out about Ash’s past. Who is/was she and how did she become this way? The story unfolds at the perfect pace, mixing the mystery-solving with action and romance.
Ash is a great character. She is different from any of the other heroines in the series. Like Lilith, she is a half-demon, but unlike Lilith, Ash is an “infant” and has no idea what’s been done to her. She has none of the typical demon personality traits (lying, scheming, out to ruin humans). Ash’s development from an emotionally-void creature to the warm and loving demon is a delightful journey. I loved watching her discover feelings and try to logically process the world around her. She never gives up and has an innocent faith that things will work out.
We first met Nicholas St. Croix in Demon Blood (review HERE, purchase information: Demon Blood (The Guardian Series)) He didn’t have a huge roll in the book, and you don’t have to have read it to enjoy Demon Marked. Nicholas has lived his entire adult life trying to bring down his mother. It is no wonder that he cannot trust Ash when he realizes Madeline may be responsible for creating Ash. Yet, Ash continually challenges his perceptions, and he gradually learns to accept Ash for all that she is. He is flawed, but caring and I adore his love for Ash.
Although this book isn’t one of the more sex-filled romances in the series (and I like smut in my romances!), it really works for Demon Marked. The story moves at such a natural pace, I never felt cheated in the romance. Both Ash and Nicholas had hurdles to overcome to be able to give their heart to each other and they each do so without games or leaning too heavily on each other.
When I met Meljean at AADPhilly (more HERE), she mentioned that it was hard to write this book because she had to set up the next (Michael’s) book (have I mentioned how much I’m looking forward to that book?!). I have to say that I as I read this book, I complete forgot about looking for clues for the next one. Michael became just a character that supported Ash and Nicholas’ story. Demon Marked stands on its own as being one of my favorite Guardian novels.
Loved it – enthusiastically recommend (A)