Disclaimer: I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for a review
The Demon's Librarian is a reissue (cover updated) from an original 2009 publication. Head Librarian, Franchesca (Chess) Barnes discovers an ancient library of demonology manuscripts just as a nasty sewer dwelling creature has moved on from snacking on rats to innocent schoolchildren. If Chess' new activities weren't daunting enough, things get a whole lot more complicated when she meets Ryan, a Drakul--part demon, part loyal servant of the Order. As it turns out Chess' inane talent for magic and demon-slaying is not due to her brainy Head Librarian status. Instead, she's a rare and much needed descendant of others with powerful magical mojo.
What I liked...
Chess is fun, assertive and captivating female heroine. There's good snark and I loved the actual library quips since I'm a librarian too. The premise that Chess discovers the books, reads them and figures out how to make the dagger and other magical items work is pretty cool as is her initiative to go slay some demons. I had to chuckle at the joke that she learned all this just because budget cuts eliminated the maintenance worker in the building!
The premise is sound and I would have liked this to be setting up more of a series rather than a standalone. I would be curious to see how Chess develops her powers and such.
What I didn't like...
1) It felt like readers were thrown half into the action. I thought the world-building and explanation of the Order and other mythology were severely lacking. I'm not a reader who needs every minute detail spelled out, but overall this just didn't cut it for me.
2) Chess starts out with such potential and then turns into the damsel in distress a bit too many times. She pulls through in the end; however, the multiple fainting spells and needing to be rescued gets a bit tiresome.
3) The cover. The reissue is misleading that the novel is a paranormal romance. While there is romance to a degree and it is paranormal, there is not so much smexyness as the toned shirtless man on the front would lead readers to believe.
4) I hated the 'caveman' persona featured by every man in the book. Paul was just atrocious and the brief glimpse at the other Order members wasn't much better. Ryan certainly has his redeeming qualities but the overprotective half-demon you shall do as I say or I'll freak out and ravage you and kill everybody else bit was tedious. Just liked Chess, I cringed every time he called her sweetheart and seethed by the end when she accepts it as cute.
Final rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars
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