Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Book Review: The Demon You Know by Barbara Elsborg

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.

Dani's rating:

“You use hosts to find the right targets. Thieves, thugs, murderers, bankers, lawyers. The obvious fuck-ups. The ones like you.”

I’m a secular, agnostic Jew, so hell, heaven, angels, and demons are not things I think much about. I acknowledge them as abstract, symbolic ideas. But I was raised in a Catholic country, so I'm fascinated with the concept of evil vs. good, wrath vs. forgiveness.

The Catholics have hell, heaven, and limbo. The Mormons have three levels of heaven. Dante wrote about nine circles of hell.

Elsborg’s hell has eight levels and a fiery pit.

A friend led me to Bloodline, the second book in this unofficial series (Jumping in Puddles is the first, with an M/F romance). In that book, the mysterious Roman, leader of the secret paranormal patrolling agency in London (the hub of paranormal activity. Because. London. Come on.) saves Inigo, Micah’s partner.

Roman has power and secrets. He’s lonely and punishes himself for choices he must make. Roman thinks he’s failed and doesn’t dare fly.

Ezra is the “Worm” of hell, detested and brutalized by demons. Ezra came to hell as a child and has no memories of life in the mortal realm. He yearns to feel snow, see a rainbow. He craves kindness and a gentle touch.

Ezra is good.

This is not a light book. It’s dark, scary, fast-paced, sexy, and suspenseful. Danger lurks at every corner. Demons hide in bodies and steal human energy. A power-hungry angel hurts instead of healing.

Ezra and Roman have an instant physical connection, but Roman doesn’t trust Ezra. How can an angel trust a demon? Ezra doesn't dare dream of forever. He'll take the stolen moments, the ones he can hold in his heart when the light disappears.

I desperately wanted these MCs to get their HEA, but there were so many obstacles in the way. Elsborg puts Ezra and Roman through hell and back.


The ending is terrifying. Lucifer wants fear and greed to prevail. Love has to be stronger than hate.

And it is. LOVE WINS.

“I’ve waited all my life for you … All that sadness inside me, and you’ve saved me. I didn’t know what love was. I didn’t understand that to be loved, you have to love … Happiness isn’t a place. It’s you.”

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