January 9, 2013
The Demon Lover (Fairwick Chronicles #1) by Juliet Dark - Book Review #1
When I first read the synopsis for The Demon Lover I thought the entire book was going to be about a woman who is taken with an incubus, who uses the woman to become flesh. And the book is about this- but it is also so much more.
Callie McFay accepts a teaching position at Fairwick College, which surprises her as much as it does her long-distance boyfriend, Paul, since they had discussed him moving back to NYC and living together. But something about Fairwick- and the hauntingly beautiful Honeysuckle House that Callie buys- draws her in. Soon she begins having disturbingly erotic dreams at night: A shadow enters her bedroom at night and takes the shape of a man before seducing her and ravishing her in the most toe-curling, brag-about-it-to-your-girlfriends-if-only-he-were-real way. Callie thinks this is because she just wrote a bestselling book about demon lovers. She has always been fascinated with fairy tales and Gothic literature- which is how she found herself a professor in the folklore department at the college.
But Callie soon discovers that these are not, in fact, dreams- but that her demon lover is very real and is trying to suck the life out of her so he can become real. Soon Callie is startled to discover her incubus is not the only supernatural entity in Fairwick- Fairwick College has employed many supernaturals. She has the very challenging job of banishing her incubus not only from her bed, but from her heart, and that is not the only supernatural challenge that she must face. There is the troubling fact that Dean Lizzie Book is slowly fading, that numerous students are sick with unidentified fatigue and anemia and its getting worse, that there is something eerie about the Eastern European & Russian Languages department, that her grandmother is holding on to a surprising secret, and that the writer who used to live in Honeysuckle House before Callie may have been writing all of her erotic romances about the very same incubus that now visits Callie.
Amazingly and brilliantly, Juliet Dark (you may also know her as Carol Goodman) manages to weave all of these story lines throughout each other and at a pace that many writers fail to master. It got slow for about 50 pages in the middle, but then it picked up again and never stopped its rollercoaster ride again. I loved the way Dark weaved the mythical fairy tales with the contemporary story. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes paranormal stories and/or fairy tales.
I kept a log of all of the new words I learned from the book, too. I love when books do not dumb down for their readers.
triptych- a picture or relief carving on three panels, typically hinged together side by side and used as an alter piece. As in "Here at Fairwick there is a long tradition of giving asylum to refugees. That is what the painting on the outer doors of the triptych represents."
sublimated- modified into a culturally higher or socially more acceptable activity by instinctual impulse. As in "I'd analyzed the incubus's apperance in Dahlia LaMotte's novel as a symbol of Violet Grey's sublimated longing."
trope- a figurative or metaphorical use of a word or expression
heath- an area of uncultivated land
samovar- a highly decorated tea urn used in Russia
confab- an informal private conversation or discussion. As in, "I hugged Brock, making him blush madly, and asked if he would like to stay for dinner. After a hushed confab in something that sounded like Old Norse, he said yes."
invectives- insulting, abusive, or highly critical language. As in, "She listened in silence, her lips purses, her eyes focused on the city traffic, opening her mouth only to hurl invectives at an SUV with New Jersey plates that cut her off."
acanthus- a herbaceous plant or shrub with bold flower spikes and spiny decorative leaves
filigree- ornamental work of fine (typically gold or silver) wire formed into delicate tracery. As in, "I did notice, though, that etched amid the swirling acanthus filigree were two crescent moons facing away from each other, just like on the IMP card, which I still had in my hand."
clerestory- the upper part of the nave, choir, and transepts of a large church
bestiaries- descriptive or anecdotal treatise on various real or mythical kinds of animals
lacuna- an unfilled space or interval; a gap
intaglio- a design incised or engraved into a material
unbidden- without having been commanded or invited. As in, "Unbidden image."
diaphanous- light, delicate, and translucent
languor- the state or feeling, often pleasant, of tiredness or inertia
kelpie- a water spirit of Scottish folklore, typically taking the form of a horse, reputed to delight in the drowning of travelers
creel- a large wicker basket for carrying fish
punctilious- showing great attention to detail or correct behavior. As in, "Although her spoken English was awkward, her written command of the language was impressive and she was a punctilious stickler for grammar and spelling."
chattel- a personal possession
cairn- a mound of rough stones built as a memorial or landmark. As in, "Before I left the room I noticed that he's piled the gray riverstones into a small pillar- as if he's been fashioning a grave cairn. They looked so eerie I unpiled them."
This book was lent to me for review via Net Galley.