Recently, Himself and I discovered that since we’d read the last Women of the Otherworld series, there were a few books that had either slipped through the net, or Armstrong had added and given that we’re both fans of her writing, we decided to track down these books.
Hope Adams, tabloid journalist and half-demon, inherited her Bollywood-princess looks from her mother. From her demon father, she inherited a hunger for chaos, and a talent for finding it. Like full demons, she gets an almost sexual rush from danger – in fact, she thrives on it. But she is determined to use her gifts for good.
When the head of the powerful Cortez Cabal asks her to infiltrate a gang of bored, rich, troublemaking supernaturals in Miami. Hope can’t resist the excitement. But trouble for Hope is intoxicating, and soon she’s in way too deep…
Hope is a really interesting character. We first meet up with her in No Humans Involved – see my review here – when she tries to help Jaime in her investigation. Armstrong has a nifty device in her Women of the Otherworld series – each book features a different female protagonist within her world. So she is able to give us different slices of her paranormal community from a variety of perspectives, giving her world a complex, layered quality.
Armstrong’s characters are always appealing and each one is different, with their own particular strengths, weaknesses and obstacles to endure or overcome. Hope – the name is ironic – finds herself drawn to chaos and people who attract or create strong emotions, such as fear, anger or excitement. So working undercover with the gang provides her with plenty of opportunity to get hits of the rush. Until a particular person from her past turns up, convinced that she is in over her head and determined to extricate her from her current situation.
Hope’s story isn’t the only one in this book. Lucas Cortez, husband of Paige, and declared heir to the Cortez Cabal and fortune, also becomes entangled in this affair when the Cortez cabal finds itself grappling with a major situation. As he flies in to deal with this particular emergency, we also get reacquainted with characters who have featured in previous books, allowing us to follow their continued character arc throughout the series. It is a nifty trick – given the number of different characters within Armstrong’s Otherworld, I have found it relatively easy to keep track of exactly who has done what to whom.
I enjoyed Hope’s adventure and her impulsive attraction to danger. As for the antagonists – there is a theory that in a thriller such as this, it is the baddies that are the engine of the story. Their motivations and actions are the triggers that create the drama along with the resulting fallout and Personal Demon is a classic example of how this can be effectively achieved. Without lurching into spoiler territory, I found the antagonists in this tale riveting and terrifying, while their motivation comes from a deep-seated longing to feel secure. The wrenching truth is that their reasoning for doing what they do is spot on. Which is an uncomfortable truth and raises a dilemma – if you feel yourself threatened with good reason, are you entitled to strike back with sufficient force so as to eliminate that threat even if it involves killing innocent people? Judging by the rising body count in parts of the world such as Syria and Israel, far too many folks think the answer is yes…
But don’t go away thinking this book is remotely dry or preachy. Armstrong is far too an accomplished storyteller to get bogged down in anything that will hold up the driving force of her narrative. This is an entertaining, paranormal romp with a dose of sexy excitement among the other mayhem that abounds. As winter trudges onward, curl up in front of the fire and get whisked away. You don’t even need to have read the other books, although I recommend you do.