PERSONAL DEMONS (Personal Demons #1)
Paranormal Young Adult
Received from publisher for review
Frannie has always been the type of girl to settle for a guy. She leaves the complicated, good-looking guys for her friend Riley, and likes to keep it simple with the less popular, less drama-potential types. Luc is the very antithesis of all of these qualities. He's gorgeous and dark, and the eyes of every girl in school follow his every move. He incites drama. And unfortunately for Frannie, she finds that this time, she's not content to pass on him for someone less interesting.
Luc is a demon. Sent from Hell itself to tag Frannie's soul so King Lucifer can have access to her rather unique abilities. This should be a simple tag job. Get in, get her to sin, tag her soul for Hell and move on to the next soul and the next mark. Lucifer isn't the only one keeping an eye on Frannie though, and Heaven sends its own representative in the form of Gabriel to tag Frannie's soul for them.
While attempting to thwart Gabriel by spending time with Frannie, Luc begins to realize she's not just another soul to tag, and his job is becoming more and more difficult to execute. For the first time in centuries, he's not entirely sure he wants to succeed at his given task, but where there's one demon in Hell, there's another, and Luc isn't the only one capable of getting the job done.
Personal Demons is like a literary soap opera where drama is omnipresent and the characters make inexplicable decisions that have us rolling our eyes and shaking our heads in dismay, but for all their melodramatic antics and shallow emotional conflicts, we still can't find the strength to tear ourselves away from the pages, compelled to continue on just to see what could possibly happen next. Once we embrace the fact that hormones seem to rule Frannie, and we cast aside her at times irrational choices and constantly fluctuating attraction to Luc and Gabe, there's a good story to be found–one that presents us with a choice between Heaven and Hell that on the surface should be so easy to make, but upon further inspection we realize is more difficult than we could have imagined. If either choice would result in a life that became no longer our own, but one where we were merely the puppet of a powerful entity, could we really accept such a fate for either side, or would the desire to control the outcome of our own lives muddle the clarity of such a decision? While wading through all the romantic entanglements can be tedious, there's something inherently interesting about Personal Demons, a draw emanating predominantly from Luc that lures us in as easily as does its daytime television counterpart, keeping us turning the pages as we find ourselves just as susceptible to the demonic pull as Frannie is.
Frannie is a character who we find ourselves trying desperately to understand, but who remains outside of our ability to fully comprehend. She states repeatedly in a journal she writes to her deceased brother that's she's not the type of girl to lust after boys, but her every action says otherwise as she continually waffles back and forth between her affections for Luc and Gabe, neither of whom has done anything to warrant her interest save looking handsome and setting every teenage girl's heart at school aflutter. Though we are privy to Luc's thoughts and therefore understand some of his vulnerabilities as the story progresses, Frannie has no such access, making her instant and continued attraction to him frustrating when his actions blatantly contradict his thoughts. She is extraordinarily weak-willed, her "love" for either Luc or Gabe depending mostly on whose physical presence she's in at the time, but the potential for growth is clearly present (particularly toward the end), providing a sliver of hope that Frannie may escape the swirling abyss of hormones in which she's currently submerged and step out a woman capable of making sound and thoughtful decisions.
Though Frannie is a bit of an emotional mess, we do get to see a progression toward maturity from Luc, his growing attachment to her having some fascinating effects on his demonic essence. Where he starts out self-serving and devoid of sentimental attachments, seeking Frannie's soul as a means to promote himself and garner favor with King Lucifer, he begins to develop a pesky human conscience that prevents him from being so superficially defined and expands his character into multiple dimensions. He sees what tagging Frannie's soul for Hell will do to her, stripping her of any control over her actions and leaving her an empty husk when Lucifer's work is done, and while our connection to Frannie remains troubled, we can't help but feel for Luc as he struggles with this newfound need to put her well being before his own. Despite being a demon of Hell with a soul of darkness, he is the highlight of this story and the main character with whom we form a character and reader relationship.
Ms. Desrochers has written an enjoyable first installment that initially provides entertainment at face value, but leaves us with the potential for future complexity as the battle between Heaven and Hell rages on. Though the teen angst threatens to swallow us whole and Frannie's romantic indecisiveness inspires many a frustrated snort, we still find ourselves curious as to what fate has in store for all three of them, and we are nonetheless involved in their story as we look forward to to the next escapades of a mortal girl, her demonic suitor, and his angelic competition.