Touch of the Demon (Kara Gillian #5) by Diana Rowland
She’s used to summoning supernatural creatures from the demon realm to our world, but now the tables have been turned and she’s the one who’s been summoned. Kara is the prisoner of yet another demonic lord, but she quickly discovers that she’s far more than a mere hostage. Yet waiting for rescue has never been her style, and Kara has no intention of being a pawn in someone else’s game.
There’s intrigue to spare as she digs into the origin of the demonic lords and discovers the machinations of humans and demons alike. Kara is shocked to discover that she has her own history in the demon realm, and that the ties between her and the demonic lords Rhyzkahl and Szerain go back farther than she could have ever imagined. But treachery runs rampant among all the lords, and she’s going to have to stay sharp in order to keep from being used to further their own agendas. The lords have a secret that dates back to earth’s ancient history, and it could have devastating repercussions for both worlds.
Yet more than anything else, Kara’s abilities as a homicide detective will be put to the test—because this time the murder she has to solve is her own.
For those of you who have been paying attention recently, you’ll probably be surprised at this relatively low rating. Don’t get me wrong, I still really enjoyed this book, but it’s time for me to start being a bit more critical—this book disappointed me compared to some of the earlier ones in the series, and I’d like to go dig into why. I still really enjoyed it—the plot is excellent, and I feel like in that respect these books just keep getting better and better.
However, I’m starting to have a problem with the pacing, and I could sense that Rowland struggled with getting through some of the narrative parts. Unlike the earlier books in the series, this one spans a good deal of time—at least a couple of months. We had two major peaks in the action, and after the first major peak I almost felt like the book should have ended—not because of length, but because of the reader’s need to process and accept what has happened. We experienced a major revelation in the series, and then basically dropped immediately back down to reading about Kara sitting around and waiting. From there it was a bit jerky and uneven again, and I found myself getting frustrated by the fact that nothing was really happening. Don’t get me wrong, the things that did happen during the slower parts were needed, but it was much more difficult to get through.
More annoying than anything else, though, was the fact that for most of the book Kara kind of fell flat as a character. Based on her incredible intuition shown in prior books, I would have expected better of her in this one. I can understand being morose given her circumstances, but she should still be using her head. She pulled a complete 180 about two-thirds of the way through the book as more pieces fell into place, but her relationship with Mzatal, one of the demonic lords, changes literally overnight. Granted, there was a major turning point there for a reason, but I would have liked to have had that demonstrated as it happened, rather than just getting Kara’s reaction the next day. Which again, disrupted the pacing for me.
In general, this one kind of felt like Rowland wrote about 60%, struggled with it, set it aside, and came back to it later. That’s great and all, I highly recommend doing that rather than forcing a conclusion. I don’t know if that’s what she did, but I definitely have the general impression that there are two distinct chunks of book here. I’m still not sure if I would have preferred to have this split into two distinct books with a little bit more detail to fill in some of the time/space necessary to do that, or if I’d prefer that this one had been a bit more condensed. I could go either way, really.
Again, the plot was still excellent, and I’m definitely still looking forward to the next book … But I might read something else first to give me some distance from the series.
Posted on July 11, 2014, in High Fantasy, Urban Fantasy/Paranormal and tagged book reviews, demon lord, demonic realm, demons, diana rowland, fantasy, kara gillian, mark of the demon, paranormal, supernatural, urban fantasy. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.