Monday, July 11, 2011

Review: Original Sin

(Personal Demons #2)

Lisa Desrochers
Paranormal Young Adult
400 pages
Tor Teen
Available Now
Received from publisher for review

Warning: Synopsis contains spoilers from Personal Demons, but no spoilers for Original Sin.

For Frannie Cavanaugh, things should be pretty ideal. Her former-demon boyfriend Luc has been made mortal thanks to her unusual gift of Sway, and her twin brother Matt who passed away years ago has been sent back to her as a guardian angel. Then she has gorgeous angel Gabe keeping an eye on her as well. Life is supposed to be good.

Except those in Hell aren't as enthusiastic about Luc's transformation and defection from their ranks as Frannie is, and they decide to come after him in force to figure out just how his mortality is possible. With Luc in constant danger and Gabe having to leave her in the hands of only Matt as a guardian, Frannie struggles to get control of her life and protect those she loves by attempting to learn more about her Sway.

The demons are extremely intent on reversing the heavenly tag on Luc's soul though, and their methods of achieving their goal threaten everything in Frannie's life: her boyfriend, her family, and her friends. She quickly realizes a tag on her soul for Heaven doesn't protect her from pain, and Hell and King Lucifer will stop at nothing to claim they feel is rightfully theirs.

Original Sin is a story that beautifully escapes the snare second books in a series sometimes fall prey to, increasing the emotional intensity and physical action while also answering some of our lingering questions from book one before forcing us to ask new ones. While Personal Demons had a bit of a lighter feel and some rather spectacular romantic waffling on Frannie's part, this second installment shows us some significant character growth while introducing new elements that never let us forget we're reading a story that deals with demons. There are darker and more serious undertones this time around, trapping us in a bubble of tension and unease as every character's most minute action proves to have a serious ripple effect on those around them. We devour the pages as the divide between good and evil becomes not so clearly delineated, and decisions are made that cause fissures to form in our hearts, waiting for the slightest of provocations to crack them wide open and send us reeling.

Frannie, a difficult young woman to like in the first book due to her constant indecision with regard to Luc and Gabe, is remarkably more mature in majority of Original Sin. Content with her relationship with Luc, we are spared her incessant pining for Gabe and her frustrating habit of shedding clothes whenever in the presence of either one of them. She attempts to better understand her Sway while also coping with the difficulties and dangers of her new celestial and demon-tainted existence. Toward the end some of her newfound growth does begin to dissolve under the emotional onslaught of certain events, and though she resorts to some familiarly bothersome behavior, we are able to take comfort in the thoughts and actions we've witnessed throughout most of the book, hoping we'll only see more of them in the future.

Ms. Desrochers spares us no drama in this story, spending the beginning hundred or so pages getting us reacquainted with the characters and allowing us to bask in the warmth emanating from Luc and Frannie, their incandescence spreading from the pages to our tingling fingertips before those crackling sparks are doused with a deliciously painful turn of events. Their relationship in Personal Demons was superficially enjoyable and full of angst, but Ms. Desrochers manages to draw us under the surface in Original Sin, ensuring we have a vested interest in their happiness before unleashing a barrage of tests that threaten everything we've just come to hold dear. This unpredictability is welcome despite the pain it causes, and we find ourselves appreciating the new darkness as it obscures our vision and keeps us on edge wondering what torment might come next.

One small drawback in this installment is the addition of Matt's point of view to both Luc and Frannie's, his selfishness and disregard for his sister's wishes slightly off-putting until we reach the end and better understand the role he is to play, but up to that point we read his scenes quickly in the hope of returning to Luc and Frannie as soon as possible. In spite of that drawback as well as some continuing issues with Frannie, Original Sin is a highly entertaining read and one full of interesting twists that have us looking to the future with guts clenched and muscles held rigid as we wait to see what Heaven and Hell hold in store for those of us on the mortal coil.

Rating: 4/5


  1. I did not like the first book so much because I was so annoyed with Frannie. It's good to hear that there is character growth and that it's darker. Perhaps I might even read the second part.

  2. I don't really know what to make of this series. Some people love it, others hate it. I'm not sure if it's for me. Though it is nice to hear that the MC is less annoying in this one because from what I recall, she was a major source for the dislike of Personal Demons by many bloggers.

  3. I am glad to hear Frannie matured somewhat in this instalment. I liked her in the first book but she still annoyed me. Another great review Jenny :)

  4. Oooh I've been meaning to read these books forever -- I've got to move it up on my to-read list.

  5. I was not a huge fan of the first book in this series, so it is good to know that the second book finds Frannie more mature and that her indecision on which guy she wants is fixed. After reading your review, I might need to read this one to see if my original thoughts will change.

  6. I enjoyed the first book in the series for the most part. It was definitely mind-candy and I'm glad that this one is just as good. I wasn't going to read Original Sin, but I think you have swayed me with this review. Thanks, Jenny!

  7. Misha - Frannie irritated me in book one as well, but she's better in this one (until a few slips at the end). It's definitely darker too, I like the direction it's going:)

    Aylee - I think if you go in just wanting to be entertained you won't have a problem, if you go in expecting huge things from book 1 you'll be disappointed. Frannie's a lot to take in that first one, but book 2 is better:)

    Nic - She annoyed me too, she shows much progress in this one!

    Anna - They're just fun I think, nothing earth-shattering, but entertaining to read:)

    Jan - The first book was definitely problematic, I was impressed with how much darker this book was and we got a lot of interesting revelations and twists which I liked. It was less on the romance and the love triangle, and more on some other elments:)

    Christina - Mind candy is a good way to put it, you didn't have to think too much with Personal Demons, but this one is more complex which I really liked:)

  8. Agh! Just got this book as well, super excited to get into it!

  9. I definitely agree--I was pleased with how great Original Sin was! And yeah, Matt annoyed me, too. He was pretty terrible brother. Haha.

  10. I didn't read the review only because I haven't read the first one yet. Def need to get on that since I accually won Original sin. It will be on my IMM once it gets here. I will def read this review before i read original sin though.

  11. I do not know about this one. Several reviews I read of book 1 were so negative and I felt the whole book would annoy me

  12. Savy - Can't wait for your thoughts!

    Lauren - Matt was a pretty terrible brother, I'm hoping at some point he's going to redeem himself (he has quite a bit of that to do though).

    Laura - If you don't care too much for the first one, give this one a try, I thought it was much better. I still enjoyed the first one on a superficial level, but I thought this one really stepped it up:)

    Blodeuedd - Book 1 was a bit of a challenge, I'm glad I decided to give this one a try though, I was pleasantly surprised!

  13. Another series I'm behind on. I bought the first book a while ago but still haven't gotten to it yet.

  14. I'm not sure how much I'm liking the introduction of additional POV's in second installments. It seems like it is become a trend, but I think it is too overwhelming and takes away from the actual story. I guess the jury is still out, but I'd think I like it better when it is just two alternating POVs.

  15. I have this book and need the first. No, don't worry... I'm waiting until I get the first to start it. :) I'm glad you enjoyed it even if there were some problems with Matt. Even though you wanted to skim his parts, I like that you couldn't wait to get to Luc and Frannie. Yep... need that first book.

  16. Uhg--I wanted to smack Matt upside his head and tell him to get over himself! So selfish, so truly uncaring about his own sister's safety. I think I would have preferred to hear from Gabe...or just stick with Frannie and Luc. But maybe it's leading up to more in the next installment. Thanks for the great review!
    Happy reading,
    Mary @ Book Swarm

  17. Jenny - It's a series that has gotten seriously mixed reviews, but I'm enjoying it:)

    Missie - I definitely could have done without Matt. When we get to the end it's clear he's going to be important moving forward, but he was just a bit of a pain in this one. He kept thinking he was helping without actually thinking about what Frannie wanted.

    Melissa - Definitely start with book 1. I had forgotten a couple of the details from PD, and had to strain a bit to figure out somethings in this one:) Book 2 is much better than book 1 in my opinion!

  18. Even though I loved the premise of this series, I really didn't enjoy the first book. Frannie drove me insane! lol! I don't think I'll be checking this one out, unless it gets a UK release.

  19. ohh nothing better than a gut clencher..Ive heard so many great things about this series, I doubt Ill get around to it due to the heavy on the demon angle but I loved your review..;)

  20. Mary - Me too. I was over him really quickly! He was just flat out cruel to her at times.

    Leanna - I had trouble with book one as well, but I thought this one was an improvement:)

    Tina - Glad you enjoyed it!

  21. I know how much Frannie annoyed you so much in the first book so I'm very happy to see that she's matured for the most part. Does the Matt POV seem to be thrown in there or does it serve a purpose? It kinda seems haphazardly. Just wondering.

  22. Rummanah - In the beginning it didn't seem as though he had much of a purpose which just made his actions more frustrating, but by the end it's clear he has a bigger role to play:)

  23. I liked this one too. I liked the darker aspects. Frannie was less annoying. My one complaint was that none of them were able to figure out who the one character really was. I mean, come on, I got from the time she was practically introduced!
    Teens Read and Write

  24. More maturity! That's awesome! I'm not a fan of authors adding additional pov later on in a series (I know this is only the second book) bugs me for some reason! Maybe I'm the only one.

  25. I've totally been putting off reading this series... I just can't decide if I WANT to. It sounds good, I just don't have the, "OH MY GOD I NEED THIS" feeling with it!!


  26. Before reading this review you couldn't have paid me to read Original Sin. Personal Demons had me ripping my hair out in frustration with Franny - but more mature you say? I may just give it a try,

  27. So I seriously just got Personal Demons and Original Sin in the mail today and want to start reading them ASAP but I can't because a) I have to finish "Forever" first and find out what happens to my darling Sam and Grace and b) I am so behind on my indie book reviews *Whines!* But yes, I cannot wait to read these books! Thank you so much for the great review Jenny!

  28. I've seen mixed reviews for Personal Demons so I've debated whether I want to read this series or not. If Frannie gets more mature though and the sequel seems better, I'm willing to give this one a try.

  29. I liked Original Sin but it sounds like you enjoyed it more than me. I actually liked the addition of Matt's POV. I didn't like him - he drove me insane, actually - but I thought he was a great foil for Luc and Frannie. Plus I love the idea that angels can be bad too.

  30. I've never read this series although I have heard really good things about it. I think I'll have to finally pick it up. The whole storyline sounds really good and I have a thing for demons *cough cough* Larissa Ione *cough cough* sex demons *cough cough*. Awesome review Jenny!

    In the Closet With a Bibliophile