The Demon Lover by Julia Dark

Fairwick Chronicles, #1


Since accepting a teaching position at remote Fairwick College in upstate New York, Callie McFay has experienced the same disturbingly sensual dream every night: A mist enters her bedroom, then takes the shape of a virile, seductive stranger who proceeds to ravish her in the most toe-curling, wholly satisfying ways possible. Perhaps these dreams are the result of her having written the bestselling book The Sex Lives of Demon Lovers. Callie’s lifelong passion is the intersection of lurid fairy tales and Gothic literature—which is why she’s found herself at Fairwick’s renowned folklore department, living in a once-stately Victorian house that, at first sight, seemed to call her name.

But Callie soon realizes that her dreams are alarmingly real. She has a demon lover—an incubus—and he will seduce her, pleasure her, and eventually suck the very life from her. Then Callie makes another startling discovery: Her incubus is not the only mythical creature in Fairwick. As the tenured witches of the college and the resident fairies in the surrounding woods prepare to cast out the demon, Callie must accomplish something infinitely more difficult—banishing this supernatural lover from her heart.

"A lie told out of love isn't the worst thing."

Such a complicated book/rating. The Demon Lover takes a lover of Gothic fiction, books and old legends and lore and plants her in a small town where most of the residents and co-workers at the local college aren't what they seem. The slow-paced story lands Callie in interesting situations as she's drawn to a rambling, old house filled with the legend of an incubus, and by the end of the book the reader isn't sure who to trust. Truthfully Callie seems TOO trusting of some of the residents I don't particularly care, and not trusting enough of a particular incubus, but that aside - it's a unique story.

First, there's always instant kudos for main characters who are book lovers. Not only that, but she has her class watch Gothic films like Rebecca, Dracula, and a few others. What a fun class that must be! There's some red herrings on who is who and what is what - I finally guessed one of them accurately, but it goes through my mind on several occasions that someone else may be a villain or friend in disguise. For example, hasn't she ever heard not to trust the fae? We shall see.

While the premise is strong and the plotline drew me in right away, the slow-paced story seemed to lose its direction a few times. The author could have combated this by tying up some loose ends sooner, chopping down on small things that could have been left out of the story, or else adding in a little more steam. For a story that involves an incubus, it's disturbingly vague on intimate details, even if you do realize its going on quite a bit. But still...

Gothic vibes galore and paranormally rich, this would have been a four star had it not been for that ending. Depressing and slightly lackluster, it soured my enjoyment down a star, but I'm curious on the second and how much better I'm sure this series will keep getting.

And seriously, I want to be a literature professor of gothic literature! No Shakespeare needed for me, thanks. Is there even such a thing? Some fictional characters have all the luck.

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