Demon Bound is the fourth full length novel in the Doyen Scrolls by Meljean Brook. Meljean Brook consistently writes very good novels. They are all in the third person (not my favorite, I prefer first person), but I like them anyway. :) There is a short story that she wrote before the first novel, but the first novel is Demon Angel, which is one of my favorite books from this writer.
This is one of the books that I read at the beginning of the year, but for some reason I neglected to write about it, even though that was the whole purpose of my starting a blog. In this series there are Guardians, former humans that have been given super strengths, gifts, the ability to change their appearance, wings and immortality. The Guardians are humans that have sacrificed their lives protecting, or trying to protect other people from supernatural threats (like demons, etc). There are vampires as well as angels and demons in this series. The vampires have a few levels of vampireness- nosferatu, who are truly evil, and vampires who seem to behave well enough. The guardians tend to leave them alone unless they are interfering with the free will of humans. Some of this is explained in the beginning of Demon Bound, before the actual story begins, so if you have never read any of the books, you'll know a little about what is going on. Each of the books focus on a different pair of characters, and each book contains a romance within it.
This book's main characters are Alice Gray, known as the Black Widow and Jake Hawkins, a novice Guardian. Alice is shy of relationships and people in general so she tends to remain in the upper realm (Caelum-where the Guardians have a place to live if they choose). Alice encourages being called the Black Widow by creating illusions of spiders around her, dressing in black clothes and tending spiders. Alice also has been trapped in a bargain with a demon, to bring the heart of the main Guardian or lose her soul to the demon. This story is about how she tries to stay away from fulfilling the bargain while trying to stay away from everyone, including the demon.
Jake has newly discovered his gift of teleportation, though he makes mistakes (doesn't always land exactly where he plans), and becomes an ally with Alice, though she doesn't really want him around; he feels a little creeped out by Alice and his attraction to her. The story takes them to a few places around the world, and to hell. It is a love story as well as a horrific angel/demon fantasy. Nobody has it easy in Meljean Brooks novels. Jake and Alice both do some amazing things in order to keep both Alice from losing her soul and the head guardian safe, and they also learn some things no-one really wants to know; find out that nothing is as straightforward as it seems.
Meljean writes well, the dialogue between characters is great, and there is lots and lots of danger, scarey and sad situations, and the building of the relationship between Alice and Jake is sweet/bitter. Jake teases her unmercilessly and Alice tries to chase him away with bad temper, but in the end....
If you like romance mixed in with your urban fantasy this will be a wonderful book, as well as a wonderful series to read. The romance is not too heavy, most of the books have a little bit of sex - but not an overwhelming amount. All the books are well-written with very interesting characters and side characters (or is it secondary characters? am I making them sound like a side order?) that make appearances in all the books.
I'm looking forward to the next book in this series, which features a woman blacksmith from a very, very long time ago, centuries in fact. She makes an apperance in Demon Bound. The new book is called Demon Forged and an excerpt is posted here. Demon Forged comes out in October of 2009. Demon Bound came was released in November of 2008.