Warning: This book review contains some spoilers for “The Demon Lover” by Juliet Dark.
I’m back with another book review, and this time I’m reviewing “The Demon Lover” by Juliet Dark! It’s been a little while since I reviewed something on the fantasy/supernatural side, let alone something involving incubi or succubi. I figured this would be a fun book to read and review.
Here’s a summary so we know what it’s about:
“Since accepting a teaching position at remote Fairwick College in upstate New York, Callie McFay has experienced the same disturbingly sensual dream every night: A mist enters her bedroom, then takes the shape of a virile, seductive stranger who proceeds to ravish her in the most toe-curling, wholly satisfying ways possible. Perhaps these dreams are the result of her having written the bestselling book The Sex Lives of Demon Lovers. Callie’s lifelong passion is the intersection of lurid fairy tales and Gothic literature—which is why she’s found herself at Fairwick’s renowned folklore department, living in a once-stately Victorian house that, at first sight, seemed to call her name.
But Callie soon realizes that her dreams are alarmingly real. She has a demon lover—an incubus—and he will seduce her, pleasure her, and eventually suck the very life from her. Then Callie makes another startling discovery: Her incubus is not the only mythical creature in Fairwick. As the tenured witches of the college and the resident fairies in the surrounding woods prepare to cast out the demon, Callie must accomplish something infinitely more difficult—banishing this supernatural lover from her heart.”
There are many dubiously-consensual sex scenes happening in this novel, especially in the first half of this book. If you are wary of this type of content, you may want to skip this book.
Plot Development: 1 out of 5 stars
This was the most boring book I’ve read this year, when it came to the main plot. I was incredibly intrigued by the incubus lover of the main protagonist, as well as the overall setting of the book when reading the summary. However, this book seriously underdelivered on both fronts. It also doesn’t help that there are about five main sex scenes in the first half of the book alone. In fact, there are more than five sex scenes in the first half of the book, if you count the protagonist reading bodice-rippers during the book as full sex scenes as well. I understand that yes, there is an incubus, and yes, incubi suck the life out of people through sex. However, five sex scenes in the first half of the book was way too many. I wish I could say that the book lightened up on sex scenes after the halfway point, but there were three more that happened, and none of them were necessary. The constant sex scenes slowed down the pacing entirely, and I eventually kept skipping over them due to how many there were.
Other than the sex scenes, I felt that the main plot didn’t have much of a structure in it. There was the subplot of Liam and Callie’s romance, obviously, but nothing else seemed to permanently stick through the rest of the book. Many little things that happened, like the revelation of some side characters being witches or fae for example, but none of it had a major impact on the main plot and could’ve easily been left out. There is also a sideplot of sorts where Callie reads through this Viking bodice-ripper, but it doesn’t lead to anything important in the book.
Character Development: 1.5 out of 5 stars
I thought that Callie would be way smarter than she was portrayed in this book. I’m appalled at how long it took her to realize that she had an incubus feeding off her, especially given that she literally wrote a book called “The Sex Lives Of Demon Lovers.” Her point of view was very bland, for lack of better words. Her story told in first-person point-of-view did nothing to help me, as a reader, sympathize with her or enjoy reading her.
Liam, as an individual character, felt flat. I felt that he was only there to fulfill the role of him being a the sexy incubus who’s good in bed, and nothing else. The plot tries giving him a plotline where he learns to romantically love Callie (hence the romance). However, none of it ever felt convincing to me as a reader.
All the other characters also felt underdeveloped. There was so much potential with them, especially with some being witches, fae, etc. However, none of them got the proper time or focus for development.
Romance Development: 1 out of 5 stars
The romance between Callie and Liam was lacking chemistry at best, or borderline-abusive at worst. Both Callie and Liam had jealousy issues with each other right off the bat. The two of them constantly fought over small things other than jealousy, too. The only time they were ever being genuinely romantic was when they were having sex, or doing activities that ended up leading to having sex. Just because there are many sex scenes doesn’t mean that it is a convincing romance.
Worldbuilding Development: 1.5 out of 5 stars
A lot of the worldbuilding took until the last third of the book to understand, for me. I felt that information needed felt lacking at times. Other times, there was too much information to process at once throughout the book, especially at the midway point. This especially happened when revealing the true identities of many of the side characters. There could be more development for the “doorkeeper” role that Callie has. I also wanted more clarity on what exactly is opposing her or working with her. Unfortunately, the book was incredibly unclear with explaining any of these concepts. The plot twists felt too random, and made no sense as well.
Overall, I’m rating this book 1.5 out of 5 stars!
If you’re looking for a lot of sex scenes to read in a book, this is for you. Otherwise, I honestly don’t recommend this fantasy book to read, especially with the confusing worldbuilding and lack of character development.
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