Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers; Review

by Madeleine Rex

Title: Personal Demons

Author: Lisa Desrochers

Published: September 14th, 2010

Number of Pages: 368

Rating: 4/5

Review Sent to Tor*:

Personal Demons is a twisted and steamy paranormal romance that, frankly, is anything but just a paranormal romance. The fight between good and evil is more of a heated and very entertaining argument, one that kept me clutching my copy and holding it closer to my face than was probably necessary. Lisa Desrochers’s versions of Hell and Limbo are fascinating, unique, and richly described. Surprisingly humorous and undoubtedly highly addictive, Personal Demons is a book not to be ignored – particularly when a certain demon and a certain angel take the stage…

Synopsis:

Frannie Cavanaugh is a good Catholic girl with a bit of a wicked streak. She’s spent years keeping everyone at a distance—even her closest friends—and it seems her senior year will be more of the same…until Luc Cain enrolls in her class. No one knows where he came from, but Frannie can’t seem to stay away from him. What she doesn’t know is that Luc works in Acquisitions—for Hell—and she possesses a unique skill set that has the King of Hell tingling with anticipation. All Luc has to do is get her to sin, and he’s as tempting as they come. Frannie doesn’t stand a chance.

Unfortunately for Luc, Heaven has other plans, and the angel, Gabe, is going to do whatever it takes to make sure that Luc doesn’t get what he came for. And it isn’t long before they find themselves fighting for more than just her soul.

But if Luc fails, there will be Hell to pay…for all of them. [From Goodreads]

Review:

Though I, unsurprisingly, have mixed feelings about this book (funny, how often that happens), I enjoyed it immensely. Hence the 4/5 rating that was almost a 3/5, but I figured I should go with my initial instinct, which had voted for the former.

Lisa Desrocher’s debut novel has an incredibly unique take on the ways of Heaven and Hell. The histories and current realities of the two that we are made aware of in this book fascinated me. Yes, yes, some might be a bit appalled at the differences between these worlds and the ones they believe in religiously, but this is fiction people. Let your imaginations run free and welcome the imaginings of others. (Sorry for the odd-ball comment. I just think this is something people might find issues with and wanted to express my view.)

I think one of the immediate turn-offs for me was Frannie’s character and her prevailing indecisiveness. We all have our problems with love triangles (It’s inevitable.There’s just too much drama and tension to avoid irritation and arguments. Let’s face it) – one of mine is the main character who runs between two different boys, pretty much taunting them as she kisses Boy One and then moves on to some smooching with Boy Two. Frannie does a fair amount of this. In her defense, the girl becomes pretty shaken up as a result of various events in the book, but I simply cannot truly excuse the kissing wars. I also felt uncomfortable at times and wish that people hadn’t gone as far as they did down that road I hate wandering down with a character (hint, hint). It dampened the experience for me a bit.

However, I did enjoy the book. Yes, I already said that, but I’ll say it again. The tension, the heat of everything – it was all mesmerizing and wildly entertaining. There is not a single thing I can say against Lisa’s prose, as I was carried through the story seamlessly. Frannie’s voice is clear and distinctly different from Luc’s (the other point of view) – although the lines blurred a bit more for me toward the end, but that might have been their effect on each other. And what I wouldn’t give to have been able to read from Gabe’s POV! His mind was always such a mystery, while I knew every thought and feeling of Luc’s and Frannie’s.

Anyone who’s read the book is wondering at this exact moment what team I’m on (Remember? Love triangle!!). You need not wait any longer – I am determinedly Team Gabe. He’s the angel! Sorry, but I have a weakness for the apparent good guy. Give me the clean and virtuous, please. Personal Demons’ version of an angel might be vastly different from my own, but he’s an angel all the same, and that’s a hardy credential in my book. I loved that Gabe manages to be the good mysterious boy. I’ve never entirely understood him as I have Luc or Frannie, and that’s because his head was the absent one. In some ways, he was a void. I’m eager to have a bit of sight into his mind in the future. I hope Gabe will prevail. My friend, Harmony, and I actually had a “heated” argument on the subject of Luc vs. Gabe that we shared with Lisa. It was pretty entertaining, if I do say so myself… particularly because Harmony is the official Fangirl Captain on Team Luc. I’ve volunteered for Lieutenant on Gabe’s side (I’m not kidding).

Now, Luc is one doozy of a character as well. He’s undoubtedly very conflicted and his “journey” is fantastically interesting. My opinion of him altered drastically between the beginning and end of the book. Lisa expertly fooled with my feelings. I can’t honestly say what I think of him as of now, but I can attest to the fact that Lisa is a professional at realistically evolving a character’s personality. I’d say don’t make the mistake of judging him too soon (as I did), but it was simply too fun to be surprised. Go ahead and jump to conclusions, because even having them blasted to smithereens was a good time!

As I said before, Frannie isn’t one of my all-time favorite people, let alone main characters. She doesn’t have some of the qualities I really admire, and at times I wondered just why it was that so many boys were falling over their own feet in their haste to get to her. However, I don’t need to entirely admire a main character to enjoy an intriguing story or side-characters that fascinate me. And I firmly believe that people can change in more ways than we could ever imagine.

When I finished Personal Demons, it would be an understatement to say that I wanted the next book in the series (which, depressingly, will be released in a dreadfully long time, as this book has yet to hit shelves as it is). I believe there are tweets out there in cyberspace that say something to that effect (but very probably with more exclamation points and possibly capital letters). This is one book that ends both satisfactorily and terribly – only terribly because you are left with this irritating itch that you must read more. The ending’s also quite funny, which only made it harder to stomach the fact that it’s over… for now.

With a combination of hilarious banter between angel and demon, a love triangle that will amuse you to no end, and a fascinating take on Heaven and Hell, Lisa Desrochers Personal Demons is bound to entertain and grip readers. I’m eager to hear what others will think of this surprising and utterly creative debut.

*Thank you so much for the ARC!

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