Welcome to another episode of Late Night Reading!
This week, I'm pleased to review the second in John Dylena's trilogy: The Demon in my Heart.
You may recall that this is an erotic dark urban fantasy about a man who falls in love with a rather demanding succubus. The Demon in my Heart is so much more than that, though. The world John has crafted expands to its fullest extent here, and in addition to some wonderful romance and wicked sex, we get to attach ourselves more to the characters he has created and invest ourselves more fully in what is becoming an epic adventure.
The Demon in my Heart literally picks up where The Demon at my Door left off. Let's see how much of this review I can get through without spoiling it for you as we break it down after the jump!
John really blew me away. The Demon in my Heart manages to correct all the errors of its predecessor without losing any of the style or story that made it so interesting to begin with. In fact, I'd say that you can see John's improvement from the very first page, and it only increase exponentially from there.
John continues to provide us with a unique urban fantasy. His demon laws and customs are intricate, but not so much that you'll get ensnared or bogged down by them, and he's created an entire culture of underworld denizens that are just as alive as any of his main cast. There were very few predictable elements (called it about Rachel, though) and I'm really interested to see how what he's established in these two books plays out in the third and final installment.
Cover Art: ★★★★★
Very nice choice of fonts, easy to see, and a gorgeous model in a slightly-haunting pose. John is very good at cover design, and this one is no exception.
Character Development: ★★★★★
One of my complaints concerning The Demon at my Door was that there wasn't quite enough going on with the male protagonist. The Demon in my Heart flips that on its head. John takes a much more active role in this story, and it's the better for it. Raethiana continues to shine, and Awina is as lovable as ever, although as a personal preference, I wish she had a little more of her old personality back (obviously I understand why that's not really possible). Everyone is given the perfect amount of screen time with the exception of one character who presents themselves near the end, but I can tell that will be rectified in the next book.
Editing: ★★★★★ (4.5)
John improved not only as a storyteller, but from a technical aspect, as well. Although his prose isn't perfect (and whose is, honestly?), he flows easily from one scene to the other with a fluidity that more than makes up for some of his clunkier sentences or dialogue. I deducted half of a star because toward the end, I spied several mixed-up words, spelling errors, and a hanging quotation that wouldn't stop clawing at my brain. But seriously, 98% of the book was very well-managed and the tense errors that plagued the first were completely gone. I was overjoyed to see this and it helped keep me riveted to the story for the entire duration.
Story Satisfaction: ★★★★★
I can't wait to see what happens next. John has a way of providing the reader with the Good Kind of Cliffhanger (TM) as opposed to the Bad Kind of Cliffhanger (TM). The Good Kind of Cliffhanger (TM) leaves the audience wanting more because they've enjoyed what they've eaten and can expect the next course to be even sweeter, while the Bad Kind of Cliffhanger (TM) leaves the audience dissatisfied because they only got to eat half their meal because the other half was too raw, so the chef took it back to cook for a few more minutes but it's been a while since he's come back and you can't really remember if the meal was good in the first place because it was kind of cold and mealy to begin with, but you're still hungry so at this point you're just sitting and waiting for the rest.
The Sex: ★★★★★ (4.5)
In the first sex scene, John gives us a more lingering view of what he's capable of, romantically speaking. I enjoyed the extra details, especially in the more tender moments between him and Rae. While it was still somewhat rushed, there was more than enough of it to keep me satisfied, and I always ended up smiling at how the couple interacted with one another. I enjoy a little sweetness, even in a story about demons, and John really delivers.
You can purchase John Dylena's book by clicking the cover image at the top of this post. It is also available from Amazon and Smashwords.