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Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Book Review: King of the Damned by Juliana Stone
Author: Juliana Stone
Series: League of Guardians, book 2
Source: From Edelweiss
Buy it here: Amazon | Book Depository
For more information visit Juliana Stone's website
Reviewed by Stephanie
Thanks to a bad decision made centuries ago by a James witch, the entire family has been marked by a demon lord that consumes the women that bare his mark. Rowan is unlike any witch that came before her. The power residing in her is immense and if the demon lord gets his claws on her, it will irreversibly tip the scales in favor of evil.
Rowan is fierce and although she's terrified, she's determined to face her demons head on. She tried to get away from it all but the brutal murder of her beloved grandmother has her back home and ready to give all she has to end the family curse. Rowan's not perfect but she's honest and refuses to hide while others fight. What I found most appealing is that she wasn't afraid to go after what she wanted. She doesn't play games and I couldn't have been more thankful for that.
A member of the League of Guardians, a secret supernatural organization that keeps the balance between good and evil, Azaiel is sent along with 2 others to keep Rowan away from the demon lord at all costs. Azaiel is a fallen angel who spent countless years in hell after a fateful decision. Now, he's back on earth and given a chance to right his past wrongs. The attraction he feels for Rowan is unexpected and he feels undeserving of someone like Rowan. I can't point to anything specific I didn't like about Azaiel but he didn't have that extra something that made me swoon. He was a good hero that's in need of redemption, he just wasn't great.
Rowan took the lead in their relationship. She was the aggressor and Azaiel had to turn her down because nothing could come of their relationship. I liked this role reversal and that Rowan wasn't willing to take no for an answer. I didn't really feel a deep connection but the attraction was there and when the smex finally happened, which wasn't until the last 20% of the book, it was pretty explosive.
The pace was a bit uneven. A battle would ensue against demons, and then there would be James family drama. There would be intense moments where Guardians were discussing Rowan's fate without her knowledge, and then more family drama. There would be a trip to hell with no promise of success, and then, you guessed it, more James family drama. There's also a lot of lead up to the show down against the big bad demon lord who plans to use Rowan in every despicable way but then the finale was over too quickly. It wasn't as satisfying as I would have liked it to be.
This is a spinoff of another series and the previous book featured characters from the original books so it all felt familiar. In King of the Damned, you recognize some faces and places but for the most part, it's new so it took me a while to get into. Even with its pacing issues, once I got into the book and started investing in the characters, I was entertained until the end. Most of that was due to Rowan. She's a mix of powerful, sexy, intelligent, and vulnerable and the shining star of this book. I don't think it's necessary to go back and read the original series but you may want to check out Wicked Road to Hell, League of Guardians book 1, before tackling this book so you better understand what the League is about and why they're interested in the James family.