The Demon’s Librarian by Lilith Saintcrow
Warning – you may have read this title already. I read it a few years ago, in 2009 BK (before Kindle). This is a stand alone demon hunting story with a very prim and proper librarian…..not!
Publisher’s Description: Demons are preying on schoolchildren in her city, so Francesca Barnes does what any red-blooded librarian would do—she does some research and goes hunting. But the books she finds in a secret cache don’t tell her the whole story. Chess has no idea what she’s just stepped into or just how special she is.
Orion is Drakul, part demon, and a loyal servant of the Order. He doesn’t expect a motorcycle-riding librarian to be messing around with demonic forces, and he doesn’t expect her to smell so damn good. But Ryan’s got bigger problems. His partner has disappeared, and the forces of Darkness are rising.
Now Chess is Ryan’s only hope of finding his partner, and Ryan is Chess’s only hope of survival because the demons now know Chess exists and that she is the heir to a long-lost power that could push back their dark tide. If Ryan can keep her alive long enough, she just might be the key to destroying the demons completely.
But Ryan doesn’t know he’s been betrayed by the very Order he serves. And if Chess does, by some miracle survive, he won’t ever be able to touch her again. . .
Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel. (In other words… SPOILERS)
I read this back in 2009 and I thought it was ok. I still think it’s ok. It’s not a regular paranormal romance template–it does have a little mystery and adventure to it. I understand from Ivana that Ms. Saintcrow did not especially love this book when she looked back at it from a more seasoned perspective, but I did like it. It wasn’t awesome, but it was good enough.
When I read romance, I like the strong alpha male because of his protective instincts, but in real life I’m not really sure that’d float my boat. Chess is a newbie and Orion is there to protect her but he (and this is the part I’m not sure how I feel about) unwillingly falls in love with her. Also, I must admit that even though Orion is a demon, his instincts when it comes to Chess are a little disturbing. I also felt very agitated when it came to how the Drakul were treated more like slaves that were expendable. The story was inconsistent in a couple of places and that tended to throw me for a loop. I did remember bits and pieces from 2009, but my memory has holes in it as I couldn’t place the events at all. The mystery was a typical betrayal that I could see coming several pages in advance. In the end, it’s all good, though. I was bothered by the fact that Chess was treated like a child but she got to prove herself by the story’s end. I was glad that she didn’t have to depend on Orion entirely (she actually had to save HIM) and he found out that she was a pretty tough and resourceful cookie.
I will give 3 stars instead because of the story’s non-conformity tangent. Oh, you know they will end up together and you know that the good guys win, but it’s not as cut and dried as some.
Ruby Lee says…
To say that I am conflicted about The Demon’s Librarian is like saying Antarctica is a little cool this time of year. There were times that I wanted to put it down and walk away and there was a time that I was so engrossed in the novel that I covered all my food in pepper instead of salt. (I read during lunch.) There were times that it made my blood boil and I think I will start there.
I love the romance genre and I don’t think that you will find anyone at One Book Two that is a bigger advocate for romance than I am. I think that romance can be just as thought-provoking, meaningful, and powerful as any other kind of book. But there is one message that romance author sometime send that makes my head spin around.
[Pulls out soapbox. Steps onto soapbox. Takes a deep breath] Authors do a huge disservice to women and their profession when they use the underlining threat of sexual violence as a way to show that a character is so smitten with another that he or she can’t control themselves. For example several times Ryan physically forced Chess to hold absolutely still and obey him because he couldn’t control his urges and he was afraid that he would sexually assault her. I know that there was a much more romantic spin put on each situation but that is what it boils down to. Yes, I understand that he was a Drakul which made him part demon but I don’t care if it is story set in the normal world or a story completely spun in supernatural fantasy. The message that someone really loves you when they can’t control their own actions or emotions is dangerous. That is not love. It is abuse in every sense of the word.
[I hear someone in the crowd shout out “What about erotica?”] The games that two (or more) consenting adults play are very different. Each person has a choice and the freedom to say “No.” Chess had no such freedom because she had to obey Ryan or he physically made her obey him. [Sighs. Steps off Soapbox.]
Here is why I am conflicted. The story also dealt with classism and sexism. Chess broke down barriers set in this fantasy world so Drakuls were treated equally and she also gave power to women so that they were able to be seen equal as men. I think the part of this story when she broke down those barriers was very powerful and I appreciated the message it sent.
I am giving this story a 2. Normally a story with an underlining tone of sexual violence would be an automatic “one” but the messages at the end saved it.
1 pawprint. I was very excited to read this story because I thought it was the autobiography of Gladys, the demon librarian at my local branch for the last 642 years. She deserves to have her story told as she helped spark the love of reading in this demon kitten. She knew which spell book to recommend and when it was time to move me to harder subjects like the fine art of torture and the Harry Potter series. So imagine my disappointment when I found out it was another romance story. Gladys, your book is coming!
If you like this book, try…
- Embers (Anya Kalinczyk) by Laura Bickle
- Shades of Fury series by Kasey MacKenzie
- Messenger series by Eileen Rendahl