Title: The Demon You Know
Author: Barbara Elsborg
Publisher: Loose Id
At a Glance: The Demon You Know was an incredible story with fascinating worlds and impossibly rich characters.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: A good demon?
Ezra is a timekeeper in Hell, responsible for building and maintaining the clocks that tick away eternal torment. He’s never believed he deserves to be in Hell, and when the reason he’s there is revealed, he’s horrified…yet filled with hope. But is this just another form of torture? When Ezra’s given a chance to go to the surface, he’s determined to uncover the truth, but his fellow demons seem just as determined he won’t survive the journey.
A bad angel?
Roman doesn’t understand why an angel who failed his training the first time round has been given the job of policing paranormals in the UK’s capital city. He’s consumed by unhappiness. He might not be in Hell, but sometimes it damn well feels like it.
When Roman meets Ezra his failings come back to haunt him. Ezra makes him want to break the rules, but an angel protecting a demon? Discovery would bring an eternity of suffering, and with a boss none other than the archangel Michael, it’ll take more than a miracle for the lovers to stand together.
Review: Barbara Elsborg is a new author for me, and I must gladly admit I will be purchasing this author’s back work based on the strength of this novel, The Demon You Know. I found it to be an incredible story that made me hungry for more about this alternate world and the demons and angels who inhabited it.
Roman is a conflicted angel. Hyperaware of his own failings, and tied to a past that left him emotionally scarred, unable to trust, and reluctant to love, he metes out justice to paranormals of all kinds and loathes himself for doing it. When he stumbles upon a homeless young man at the shelter where he volunteers, his curiosity is aroused. You see, Roman can read people, but there is something different about Ezra, and Roman is inexplicably drawn to the man, sexually and more. There is something so right about being near to Ezra, and Roman can’t seem to pinpoint why.
Ezra thinks he is a demon—albeit a poor one. He doesn’t like Hell, but then, who does? He suffers endless abuse there, both physical and sexual, and hides most days, simply trying to avoid conflict that follows him everywhere. But, he is also unique among the demons in that he can recall going to Hell as a child, something that is totally unheard of in any realm. Yet Ezra is sure of it, and that is why he holds fast to the idea that somehow he is not meant to be there. When he’s chosen to be sent on a soul gathering on the surface, Ezra is determined to spend his days there not hurting others and gathering their essence but living a “normal” life for those brief days he’s above ground. Little does he count on meeting an angel who may be both his salvation and his one-way ticket back to Hell.
This novel was stunning in the way alternate worlds were built. Hell was an amazing place, raw and evil, one could almost feel the heat and grit that existed there. Ezra had no hope there and the despair, along with the violence done to him, was so real that you are immediately drawn to this character and wanted so badly for him to somehow succeed in escaping his plight. Ezra was not just a victim, though. That would have merely made him one-dimensional. No, Barbara Elsborg introduces a fascinating twist that makes Ezra so much more than just a weak character we should pity and, in doing so, she reveals the inner strength that has allowed him to do more than just survive the horrors of Hell.
This author cannot only craft fascinating worlds but peoples them with interesting characters that all play a part in the eventual solution to Ezra’s personal dilemmas. Side characters are rich and appealing, even when they are ones you want to punch in the face! I so appreciated the idea that Roman was a flawed angel, and not always due to his own faults. The idea that Heaven and Hell manipulate their occupants in order that they may gain that which they desire most was a second fascinating twist to this action packed novel. Roman was so determined to be better, to be the angel he knew was expected of him and yet, he was so very human in so many ways. Roman and Ezra together were both amazingly erotic and beautifully tender.
The Demon You Know was an incredible story with fascinating worlds and impossibly rich characters that made me hunger for more story by novel’s end. I am excited to have found this author, and encourage you to check out her work. She is a fascinating storyteller with a rich imagination.
You can buy The Demon You Know here: