Lynn Viehl: Private Demon

Private Demon (Darkyn #2)
by Lynn Viehl
(fantasy, paranormal romance)

This is the second book in Lynn Viehl’s Darkyn series. It follows up If Angels Burn with the same semi-predictable but still very enjoyable plot style, yet there is nowhere near the unsettling feeling that comes from the torture scenes in the first book. This is still a dark fantasy, or perhaps an urban fantasy (the definitions blur a little), but there were no scenes that I will skip when I do a re-read (as there was in the first one).

I enjoyed this book, probably more than the first one. I like the heroine in If Angels Burn better, but she shows up in Private Demon as a supporting character, so that made me happy. In fact, many of the cast of the first book recur in the second. It was an easy sequel to read: a few new characters, the return of old favorites, and not too much re-telling of the previous plot. It had been several months since I read the first book, and Viehl blended the summary with new plot so seamlessly that it seemed I had just finished reading the previous book.

There isn’t a lot of the plot that can be told without giving away things from If Angels Burn, but I can discuss the heroine, who is a new character. She seems pretty realistic to me, yet there were a few aspects of her character that I had to take with a grain of salt. It seemed that she was focused on different parts of her illness than I would have been in her position, and while I can understand it from a plot viewpoint, it did leave me rolling my eyes at her a few times.

Also, there are almost two heroes in the book, which was a twist I found interesting. That part worked better for me than the heroine did. Most people who I’ve spoken to who have read this book favored one of the men as the one who should win the lady, but I found myself disagreeing with them. The “popular favorite” may have been better for her, but the situation was creepy for me. He’d known her and watched her for ages, ever since she was little – he was too much a father figure to her for me to want him to be her lover.

Anyway, it was an enjoyable book. The series flows well, and seems to have plenty of momentum to carry it through the other books which have been written and the couple of others that have been contracted for in addition. The only problem I have with the series is that it’s shelved in the romance section. I don’t see these as romances: they are urban/dark/paranormal fantasy. Yes, they have romance elements, but they are not – to me – true romances. (To be fair, the author agrees with me. This was a publishing decision.)

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