I'll admit, right from the start, that I've been a slavering fangirl of Ms. Brook's Guardian novels from somewhere around page one of Demon Angel
, the first novel in the series. For one thing, the books are long — 400 pages or so — which gives Ms. Brook time to really develop her narrative and fully flesh out her characters. For another thing, the world-building is superb and consistent, which anyone who reads paranormal romance knows isn't always the case. And, yeah, she writes compelling, believable love stories about supernatural beings who are just as troubled and insecure as any "normal" human you'd meet on the street. So, why are you reading this instead of running as fast as you can to get your mitts on ANY of the books in this series? I'm serious. I'm not half as interesting as Brook's characters and my writing is nowhere near as accomplished.
Still here? Well, then, I suppose I should tell you a bit about Demon Forged.
I didn't like Irena, the heroine, at the beginning. Brook often writes prickly heroines, but Irena was downright cactus-y. But she had her reasons and as the narrative progressed I began to understand Irena better, which made me like her better. Watching her newly rediscovered relationship with Alejandro unfold with all of the wrinkles and bumps and awkward encounters that one expects from two people trying to reignite a flame that never really got a chance to burn brightly made their (sorta) HEA deeply satisfying. And the deepening of the Guardian mythology, the internal (and external) politics, and the world-changing choices made by some of the characters all contributed to my enjoyment of this entry in the series and made me anxious for the next one.
But what stays with me now, days after finishing, is Irena. As I said, I didn't like her in the beginning. I don't think I actually liked her much at the end, either. But, I felt for her. I still feel for her. I felt like Brook let me into Irena's head and heart in a way that few authors are capable of doing. And, let me tell you, Irena's head and heart are not always comfortable places to be. The fact that I was willing to spend so much time with an uncomfortable character like Irena is testament to Brook's skill.
Why are you still here? You have five books to read. Why am I still writing? I have five books to start rereading.